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DOWNLOA Seven signs that a job candidate won't work out

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Based on years of experience

by amcol In reply to DOWNLOAD: Seven signs tha ...

Take out number seven. Reference checking is a waste of time...candidates always give you contacts who will tell you how they've walked on water and didn't get wet. Not to mention, the more litigious our society becomes the less likely it is you're going to find out ANYTHING from a reference (not that whatever information we've ever gotten from references is useful).

I'd add a few:

1. The candidate only talks in generalities about his/her technical skills. Worse yet, when subjecting the candidate to a technical interview he/she displays little knowledge of a listed skill. I can't tell you how many people I've interviewed who've claimed knowledge of a particular technology, then I find out through some simple questions that the reality is they merely tripped over a book on the subject on the way out the library.

2. This is a corollary to number four...the candidate can't articulate or quantify the value of his/her work. Not knowing where your job fits into the strategic whole nor why you're doing what you're doing is usually the sign of someone who is content to just phone it in.

3. The candidate merely responds to questions and asks none of his/her own. You don't want to know anything about me, my department, your potential colleagues, your possible customers, how we do things, what the daily workload would be like? The door works the same way on the way out as it did on the way in, only backwards.

4. The candidate displays personality traits, idiosyncracies, or eccentricities that make you as an interviewer nervous he/she will not fit into the group interpersonal dynamic. You can teach anyone anything...knowledge and skills, that is. You can't teach someone how not to be a jerk. Never hire anyone who'll upset the apple cart to the detriment of all.

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by reference In reply to Based on years of experie ...

Your advice (especially #3 below) is an excellent addition to the initial suggestions. While an interviewee should have researched a company, the market and it's competitors, there are some things that one usually can't find 'from the outside'.

A valuable potential employee is always seeking to learn more about his/her company and all that pertains to it. An inquisitive interviewee shows this desire to gain knowledge by asking about the company and the position in the interview.

Excellent post!

"3. The candidate merely responds to questions and asks none of his/her own. You don't want to know anything about me, my department, your potential colleagues, your possible customers, how we do things, what the daily workload would be like? The door works the same way on the way out as it did on the way in, only backwards."

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Another sign

by Dr Dij In reply to Based on years of experie ...

The person who has 'been unemployed for a while' doesn't show up on time for job interview. He's unemployed! There's nowhere else he has to go.

Oddly we gave him a second chance, hired him and he flaked out.

Another fellow's answer to hiding his lack of knowledge was that he was 'old school', and tried to use dos editing commands editting the hosts table in vi. Maybe when our network crashed we would have figured he wasn't working out.

Also said he had 4 cars, all of which he worked on himself. Then didn't show up to work one day, claiming he had 'car problems' - well what happened to the other 3 cars?

His boast that impressed HR? he had setup by himself a 'server' at his previous job. Imagine, a guy that could put together one of them 'newfangled thangs'!

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Hire from the gut!

by donpryor In reply to Another sign

Gawd knows I have hired an engineer or two over my years. And
yes, I have been the boss so by the time they go to me my
engineering staff had wrung them out pretty hard. I always
looked for 3 things: Smarts, friendlyness, team player.

For many years I headed some very technical, leading edge
engineering and the chances that you knew what we were doing
were slim. But it was a fast moving train and you had to be
willing to learn, fast. Due to the technical requirements, not
likely you would apply if you didn't meet them, because you
couldn't BS your way through.

I almost always made an offer in the intervew. If I didn't,
chances are you wouldn't be called back.

Bottom line: Trust your guts!

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Reference Check are not a waist if done right

by GregDC In reply to Based on years of experie ...

As a professional IT Manager/Consultant for almost 30 years and now an independent IT Recruiter, Reference check are good. BUT ask the reference for someone else that worked with them, or their old managers name. It is the reference's reference that gives the best picture.

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All they prove, is that someone likes you.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Reference Check are not a ...

If you get a good reference you don't believe it and if you get a bad one you don't know whether you should believe it.

Look the fella in the eye, and ask a few questions, your impression is far more valuable.

And yes I've got good referees and they are my previous managers, and my current one.

Do any of these guys get annoyed when you doubt their word ?

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It's not always that cut and dried

by afhavemann In reply to Based on years of experie ...

Sometimes though it?s hard to be sure what you?re actually going to get when you hire someone and you have to gamble a bit. Several years ago I hired an older man into a technical position. He had no certs or degree, but I knew that he really needed that job and I wanted to give him a shot at it. So I hired him even with the knowledge that his technical skills were probably on the low side, but with a good feeling he?d probably work out.

The day he started I tossed him a couple of small projects to look at that had been scheduled for a programmer to write but kept getting pushed back; I just wanted to see how he would react. One dealt with an interoffice backup project and another was a specialized inventory program; neither was especially complex but were going to be a bit ?fiddly? to get working right.

Incredibly, he finished both in three days, including documentation. Since we had estimated it would take three man weeks, I didn?t quite believe it so I had one of our techs do a review. The report was that it was ?old school? stuff, not the way they (the tech staff) would have done it. When pressed though, he admitted that it did seem to work well enough, so I decided to take a look for myself.

Yes, it was old school, instead of clean programming in C, he had used an ancient Quick Basic compiler (something I thought was extinct) to create an executable to do some fancy string parsing and dynamically generate several complicated scripts (Dos batch) for the specialized timed backup job.

The inventory was a generated FoxPro program. Both solutions drew laughs from the programming group and sneers for the FoxPro solution, but both not only worked, but worked very well indeed. He might be old school, but he knew how what he was doing; those jobs ran error free from day one and are still running today; we?ve never touched them.

It?s been like that for two years now; hardware, software, support, feather smoothing, whatever; it doesn?t matter what I throw at him, this astonishing man solves it. I can give him a task anyone else would be at for days and he comes back in few hours, finished.

My only regret is that he?ll be eligible to retire in three years,

So why did we hire him?

1. He was open, friendly and curious about what we did

2. Even though he really needed the job, he was completely at ease and comfortable during the interview. He didn?t fidget, dodge questions, even when they highlighted deficiencies and his eye contact was solid the whole time.

3. He was frank when asked about his lack of certs but careful to quickly point out how that would be offset by his extensive experience.

4. Near the end of the interview, he asked for a walk through to meet some of the staff. This is a very unusual request, but it provided us an opportunity to observe him in conversation with both technical and non-technical people. I?m convinced, although he?s never admitted it, that his goal with this request was to showcase his personality and interpersonal skills. And it worked.

In the post interview review the candidate came up short on qualifications so no one, including myself is quite sure why the offer was made. In the end though, it has worked out well even though I have a suspicion that the candidate controlled the interview more than we did.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to DOWNLOAD: Seven signs tha ...

I had a problem with 2, 5 & 7
The fact that someone can be surprised is n't a problem, that they can't cope with being surprised maybe.
Looking for a new position because they outgrew the last one. You want the candidate to be candid, but not about their motives. What are they meant to say then. They are sacking me because I'm crap, or you are such a wonderful company, I threw away a promising career just to work for you.
If someonce came out with either they be binned by me, I want to earn more money is a good reason for moving. If you don't want to pay what he wants then he priced himself right out of the market.

References utter waste of time, unless you know the referee and have a good knowledge of their relationship with the candidate.

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Thanks for the tips.

by sjohnson175 In reply to DOWNLOAD: Seven signs tha ...

I'm in what I call "hard target search" mode right now (a.k.a. "get me the **** out of here"). This will help me make sure I don't show one of the 7 signs in interviews.

Fortunately, I really don't have to change anything about how I interview.

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A couple I certainly wouldn't even ask.

by Oz_Media In reply to DOWNLOAD: Seven signs tha ...

Nor would I answer them.

What is your greatest strength? Who cares, everyone expects this and practices an answer, it is hardly an accurate way to qualify an employee.

I WOULD ask;

What unique skills do you think you will bring to the table that you feel sets you apart from other applicants?

This is FAR more beneficial information to the company AND the person hiring. Anyone can download the 5 greatest strengths BS, as per your second example, but the 5 greatest strenghts crap is like asking someone WILL YOU TURN UP FOR WORK? It's canned garbage.
How about,

What 5 abilities will you bring to the company that you think we could benefit from and why?

References for the most part are a complete waste of time other than to find out if the person showed up daily and worked hard. Other than that, it is useless. I have seen very good employees get GARBAGE references due to personal conflicts or vendetta's from past employers. I worked for one company that would tell all reference inquiries that the people were constantly drunk or stoned on the job, then laugh about it to other admins. There were others who just COULDN'T tell you what people did because they were crappy managers that didn't have a clue what the person did all day anyway, but most just want off of the phone if they have been used repeatedly by a former employer, they just tire of it. Which is another reason to only offer a reference upon specific request during an interview and not with all applications. I find most employers don't bother calling references anymore anyway, too many applicants. Thus only provide references when asked and while shortlisted, otherwise you burn your own bridges.

How about offering tips for people who have no job finding skills? How about a download on how to source out and cold call potential employers? Stop emailing resume's and start arranging MEETINGS by phone and offering proposals instead of resumes? How about how people should use social networking skills to move forward in a career and not rely on certifications to do it for them?

We have hundreds of peers here that have NO job finding skills, others that actually feel you CAN'T cold call an employer and present your skills (that one still make me chuckle) and others who can't stop going to school for more courses, only to find that they have a masters in computer science and can't get a job at MacPukes. Some even believe that you MUST have certs to find a good paying IT job, it just doesn't end, people THINK so many negatives about a market, it's no wonder they remain unemployed or stuck unhappy with their present job.

As for the hiring process, HR departments don't have a clue and are the wrong people to be talking with anyway, a good meeting with the right person, (CEO or President) will never see you answering such questions to begin with. But it will get you more positive results, more money and a better job almost every time.

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