Anton Cherkasov

@aworker

The Best And The Worst Job Interviews I’ve Ever Seen as an HR Director

On our way back from the Blockchain Cup Hackathon we sat down with Aworker HR partner Mikhail Barkov to chat about the results of the event, the fantastic skills of young teams of developers, and how these cool kids one day become professionals. At one point our discussion turned the direction into personal stories about first jobs, first life lessons and the awful moments during job interviews.

Mikhail explained to me that every interview is different from others as well as candidates, that’s why choosing the best, and the worst stories were hard for him. Although, there is a check-list for candidates who want to impress the interviewer and get a job. First hint: stop trying to impress him/her.

«To begin with, from my experience I know for sure that recruiter needs from 30 seconds to 2–3 minutes to decide whether the person suits the company and a position or not. Many recruiters believe that if you meet more people (without pre-check), you’ll more likely find the right candidate. However, with the qualitative pre-check, this process becomes much easier and takes less time. What is the pre-check? It’s an assessment of candidates before the interview. Core points include previous workplaces, job positions, a frequency of transitions between companies, job expectations, main picture, social networks, and other relevant characteristics of the individual. When you’re looking for a job, don’t forget to check your Facebook account for potential job stoppers.

The best job interview is the one that helps a candidate to start working as soon as possible. I have had this type of meetings. At one of my previous projects, we were looking for a Store Manager, and I interviewed a person who started working in the next day. She still works for the same company, but I think she was promoted to Area Manager. That’s what I can call a great interview story.

Of course, some positions, for instance, Customer support or C-level jobs require high-stress resistance and we have to hold some sort of ‘stress interview’, but I find it more as a necessity than a method to make fun of someone. People will ask uncomfortable questions, and we have to make sure that candidates handle them well. Once, even I felt uncomfortable sitting in the room considering that I wasn’t the one who answered questions. But the candidate was relaxed, and he got a high management position that he handles very well.

Speaking of bad interviews, I’d like to mention that for me, the worst job interview is the one that wastes time for both a recruiter and an interviewee. I was young, and I was looking for a job when one of the most common things happened: during the interview, a recruiter didn’t look at me, didn’t ask anything, just gave me ‘5 minutes to tell about myself’, and she didn’t even pay attention to my words. I’m not sad or mad right now; I’m a grown man who knows that being a recruiter means representing a company that you work in. The interviewer has to know how to behave as a spokesperson because not only the company chooses candidates, he/she choose the workplace too. This woman wasn’t interested in any of this things, I’m sure it was her #497 interview, and she had someone in mind. So remember that recruiter might show you what kind of people work in the company and you have to decide whether or not you want to become a part of that.

I have to apologize for my not-so-crazy stories because throwing a glass of water to the face of the candidate is mostly the thing of soap operas and unqualified recruiters. In reality, the interview is the case of a candidate a company representative sitting in front of each other and talking about the potential benefits for both sides if they work together. It is not an interrogation!

Check-List

Here is a check-list for all people getting ready for a job interview:

  1. Keep eye contact (not in a creepy way)
  2. Keep track on your words; it’s not your BFF to use not work related acronyms and jargon
  3. Stay calm and try to be comfortable (jokes are not always the best way to break the ice, remember that)
  4. Clothes can talk
  5. Come 15 minutes earlier
  6. R&D about yourself (what you can do and what you want to improve)
  7. Get ready for questions about your work experience. Recruiters often use these two methods to keep in mind your success stories and cases where you failed but fixed everything. Use it!
  • PARLA method = Problem, Action, Result, Learning, Act
  • TED = Tell, Explain, Describe

8. Research the average salary for the position (don’t take the first offer right away, discuss it if you feel the time is appropriate)

9. Ask questions that only people inside the company know how to answer (where do you go for lunch, what’s the quickest way to the subway, can I bring a dog, etc.).

10. Everything else — ask Google.

It was one of the helpful lectures I’ve heard about job interviews, hope those of you who are currently looking for a job found something engaging in it.

That’s probably it for today, and we can go further on this topic if it’s interesting to you, guys. Share your best/worst job interview store in the comments below!

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