Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Interviewing Pet Peeves

Interviewing is one of those areas that you become pretty good at if you're in IT. Over the last couple of years, I have come to interview quite a few candidates for various job. Here are some of my pet peeves of interviewing candidates:

  1. When I schedule a time for you to come in, don't arrive 30 minutes early. Go get a cup of cofee or read the newspaper in your car. I specifically scheduled you at that time because I've got a bunch of things I have to do first thing in the morning and I need to make sure everybody is off and running before I take 2 hours out to talk to you.
  2. If I ask you to come in, don't ask me for directions. Sure, I'll give you the address, but we're all big girls and boys and we know how to use Mapquest, right?
  3. I'll take about 2 minutes to go over the company and what we do, but I expect you to have some background on the company before I talk to you at length. We have this thing called the Internet now.
  4. Don't ask me specifics about benefits. Sure we have a 401(k) and a Medical plan, but I don't have the slightest idea about the specifics. That's why we have HR.
  5. When I schedule a time to call you, don't give me your cell phone number. I'm calling you about a job, not to go out for a beer. If you don't want to talk at work, I'm cool with that. In fact, I'd rather call you at home where we can let the conversation go where it wants to.


Gary Myers said...

Not convinced on 4 or 5.
The interview is a two-way process. If they've come in for an interview, then you (as the employer) should be in a position to answer their questions as well as them answering yours. If you need to, include someone from HR in the interview.
As for the mobile phone, welcome to the 21st century. Some people don't even have a land line now (especially if they've just moved to an area).

Howard J. Rogers said...

I have to agree with Gary about the mobile phone. I hate them with a vengeance, but these days it is the only way of contacting me telephonically, since my landline is tied up 100% of the time doing dialup Internet. So long as you can get hold of the person when you need to, I think that's the main thing.

Jeff Hunter said...

If they've come in for an interview, then you (as the employer) should be in a position to answer their questions as well as them answering yours. If you need to, include someone from HR in the interview.

See, I disagree on that one. I'm not extending an offer at the end of the interview and don't expect you to give me a yes or a no. If you get an offer, I'll point you to HR and they'll be more than happy to tell you what our Maternity policy is and how the Vision plan works.

As for the mobile phone, if you've got good reception, then fine. But the last thing I want to hear is "The SGA is composed of ...(buzzz)... (composed of)...pool..(silence)... and buffers". I talked to a guy on a cell phone that was driving down the highway and expected to participate in an interview.

Bob B said...

I don't agree with 4 or 5 either.

If someone shows up 30 minutes early, that's fine. If they expect you to start the interview 30 minutes early, that's a completely different story.

As for directions, mapquest can give you distances, road names, and turns, but many times something about the directions is ambiguous or the roads are unmarked.

"Go straight on 55 until you hit Munkden. Take a left at the end of the ramp, go through two lights, take a right directly before mcdonalds, we're about a half mile down that road, on the left" is a lot easier to follow than a list of roads, turns, and distances that mapquest gives.

OracleDoc said...

Jeff looks like you've been having interview problems (again).

Normally, I agree with pretty much of everything you write on here but, I'm having to draw the line.
There's exceptions to everything you just posted and it appears that you're letting a few bad apples piss you off :p

The guy driving his car during an interview is an exception though! *bizzzztt* Next!!
Don't know about your state but in others it's illegal to drive and be on the cell. Plus, he should of been professional enough to tell you he was driving and could you please conduct the interview at another time.
Gary is right some people don't even have a land line. My cell phone is surgically attached to my hip, it's my life line.

The benefits thing to some people is a big factor and sometimes the deciding factor. If you don't think an HR person should be in the interview like Gary said, at least offer the opportunity for the person to get with an HR rep if they so desire. Simply explain to them that after the interview if they have a detailed inquiry about benefits they can ask the HR monkey.

Arriving early, my personal philosophy is this "if you're on time you're late". Yes, 30 minutes is way too much and I agree that yea you need to go chill out in your car if you're there that early. Me..I'm always at least 10 minutes early to a meeting no matter what. I'll let the secretary know I'm there and the person I'm there to meet can come out when they damn well please.

Jeff Hunter said...

Absolutely, there's exceptions to every rule. You want to show up 5 minutes early, no problem. But 30?

If I worked in the middle of nowhere and it was difficult to get to, sure Mapquest might be out.

Sure, benefits may be a deciding factor, but I would expect these discussions to come up when we're talking about a deal, not during the initial interview. Like I said, I'll point you to HR where you can take up hours of their time figuring out flex spending. (I've been here 6 years, I still can't figure it out.)

I know cell phones are everywhere. If you have good coverage, no problem. If I get cut off, I'll call you back. Once.