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This article is written from the perspective of an interviewer. However, potential employees in all industries can still learn some valuable information from this article.

Employee Interviewing…and its shades of gray.
August 7, 2011

~By Erica D.

While you may strive to do the best job possible in interviewing the best candidate for a prospective position, there are going to be times during your interview process when you might feel the need to go against the grain and break a few of the cardinal rules of interviewing. Even though there are rules and guidelines that you must follow during potential employee interviewing, often times picking the best candidate for a position could almost be determined by the flip of a coin. With a job market that is glut with so many great potential employees, competition is fierce and potential employees can be so well prepared that it can be difficult to differentiate between the wheat and the chaff. But that is where your skills at employee interviewing comes into play.

Keep in mind at all times that while there are guidelines that you must adhere to for legal reasons during an employee interview, you do have a lot of leeway these days in how you conduct your interview. At the end of the day the ball is in your court as far as who you feel is the right fit for a position and for every rule there is an exception to that same rule. For example:

Look For Someone With The Right Skill Set – While it might be helpful for a potential employee to be acquainted with the position that they are applying for, it is not always necessary to match an employee with a skill set to a particular position. Just because an applicant performed the same job for a previous employer doesn’t mean that they are the right person for this particular job. You have to ask yourself if this person might become bored with doing the same job or if they were let go because they didn’t perform up to par. Is the applicant interviewing for this position just because they need a job or will this opportunity be something that they desire or want in their life? There are many other qualities that are more important than a simple skill set, such as intelligence and passion.

Microsoft, for instance, seeks out the best minds that they can find to fill top level positions within their company. They scour the earth looking for men and women who are known for their radical thinking and superior intelligence. Their thought is that if they can find someone with a great mind then that candidate can learn to work within their business on innovative and unique projects based upon the intelligent thought processes of these revolutionary thinkers. Are you searching for the same? Are you trying to find that unique individual with superior mental and emotional intelligence or are you just looking for a skill set?

What A Great Personality! – While a great personality and a friendly nature are important in every company’s culture, beware of hiring someone just like you. While you might think that you are pretty awesome, a whole company full of men and women with only your personality might get a little boring. A company that is diverse in its culture and personality caters to customers with every different types and complementary personalities. Not everyone is going to be a cheerleader and not everyone wants to do business with a cheerleader.

You see, we tend to be attracted to people that are like us and when you find a candidate that appears to have a great personality you might want to ask yourself why you think this person has such a great personality. Is it because they are like you and thus you like them? And if you dislike a candidate, is it because they are your polar opposite? Could the candidate be having a horrible day? Could he or she be scared or intimidated by the interview process? Spend some time trying to get them to open up and try to remain open to the possibility that this person might be right for the job but just not the kind of person that you would want as a best friend. Get it?

Look At That Resume! – While a resume is an important part of any job candidate’s war chest, keep in mind that there are people out there that have no problem in lying on a resume. I know that this might come as a bit of a shock to you but it does happen. Candidates will extend dates of employment to try to cover gaps and some will even claim that they have a degree when they never actually graduated. While a spiffy looking resume might impress you and your supervisor, lying on a resume shouldn’t be tolerated. Skill sets that they do not possess or knowledge that they simply do not have will become apparent once you begin to talk “shop” during the employee interview.

On the flip side of the coin, someone who is honest and has valid explanations for gaps in employment or who alludes to leaving a position that they were dissatisfied with should be commended. After all, who do you want representing you and your company? Do you want someone who would lie to get what they want while appearing pristine or do you want the coworker who has had some tough knocks in life? We’ve all been there or know someone who has, right?

At the end of the day, your job during the employee interview process might appear to be painted in shades of gray. But by using your powers of perception and carefully evaluating all the different pieces of information that a candidate presents to you during the employee interview your choice of the best potential employee should be an easy one.

Need to brush up on your interviewing skills? Take a look at this excerpt from an article written by James Clear:

1. It’s your job to sell yourself. If you don’t do it, then you can be sure that no one else will. Most of us understand this, but that doesn’t mean that we’re all comfortable with it. There is no need to bloat your accomplishments or make false claims, but there is every need to paint the best picture of yourself. If you’re feeling apprehensive about this idea, then remember: it’s not bragging if you did it.

2. Apply to fewer jobs. When you need a job, it’s easy to shotgun your resume in 100 different directions. And that is exactly why the stack of resumes is so high for that job you want. Everyone is sending out the same resume to every job they can find. Slow down. Focus on a few jobs that you actually want. Then tailor everything about your application to each specific job.

3. You’re interviewing them too. Your goal should be to find a job that you actually care about and a company that you want to be a part of. If you focus on jobs like that, then the interview will be much better. You’ll be genuinely engaged. You’ll ask more questions because you’re interested and not because “that’s what you’re supposed to do in an interview.” Plus — and here’s a crazy bonus — if you only apply to jobs that you look interesting, then you aren’t going to end up in a job that you never actually wanted. Sort of makes you wonder why you’re applying to a bunch of jobs that you aren’t going to enjoy, right? Read more HERE.

Let us know how you feel about this article. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

~DHSI

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