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Training Employees and Good Conversation

November 22, 2017

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

Interviewing is one of those activities people should be trained on but aren’t. The hiring process is very muddy and imprecise because no one has a great way to determine a candidate’s effectiveness post-hire. Interviewing is as good as it gets to see how a client will perform, yet there are so many bad interviewers out there. There is no distinction between technical and non-technical interviews. The purpose of all interviews is the same and the format is quite similar. The purpose of an interview is for the interviewer and interviewee to determine if the opportunity is the right fit for each party. The format tends to be that the interviewer is asked to solve some kind of problem which should illuminate whether they have certain skills deemed necessary to perform well in the job. For management consulting firms, this problem is a case interview question. For software firms, this is the infamous technical interview, where a candidate is given some contrived problem that they are expected to derive an algorithmic solution to. Some software firms have now moved into giving more project-type assignments, take-home or in-person, which lean more closely towards a case study-style problem. From this process, it should be quite evident whether someone is suitable for the position.

I think the process works reasonably well. However, I take fault with the take-home projects because I don’t get feedback on my work. At least in in-person or over-the-phone technical interviews I have an idea of how well I did. It’s frustrating to put in what you think is good effort on a take-home assignment and then not be able to understand why you weren’t selected to move forward. I say the process works reasonably well because I have no fights to pick with places where I got rejected. I could clearly see that my skills were not a good fit. The problem I have with the process is that some people are just bad interviewers. They don’t make their intentions clear to the interviewee, they aren’t good at carrying on conversation or guiding the flow of the problem-solving process, or they don’t know how to talk about their company and their role. Overall, the interviewer is a bad communicator. This is a huge problem because every employee is a representative of their company and every employee has a responsibility to recruit good talent. Every employee should be trained in how to interview because the interview experience leaves a huge impression on the candidate and plays some factor in helping you find the right talent to add to your team.

I had a really great interview recently because the interviewer was very nice in understanding my objectives and preferences for an internship position and was very clear in his objectives for the interview. He was helpful during the problem-solving process and was clear on his role at the company and why he was working there. He was also clear in his intention to help me make the best decision for myself.

I know everybody is trying to do a good job. Nobody wants to be bad at their job unless something is wrong. Sometimes, we need some help to be good at our jobs. So, if you can, provide the training to make the interview experience better for everybody.

Another problem I have with the hiring process is that sometimes companies give you silent no’s. If the response is delayed by more than two weeks, I know I didn’t make it. But, just for the sake of closure, could you be bothered to send me that canned rejection letter?

If you like my writings and want to chat, email me at ipacifics[at] gmail[dot] com