The thrills and chills of interviewing job candidates

Most managers have had the experience of interviewing job candidates. We’re currently interviewing for an opening in our editorial department at one of PR News’ sister publications.  I must say, there are a lot of great candidates out there. For the most part. Then there are the foot-in-the-mouth candidates who clearly have read too many books with names like What Color is My Parachute. That would be candidate Number 2 who tells us he wants to “run an empire.” Or Candidate Number 5 who asked “what exactly do you guys do?” Candidate Number 7 didn’t even show up. Glad to say, though, that Candidates 1,  3 and 4 were all impressive, did their homework and wrote us thank-you notes within 24 hours.  Job seekers must be PR pros — they must know how to brand themselves, sell themselves to prospective customers (hirers) and walk the talk rather than parachute in and expect the offer.  At the same time, the hiring managers need to do a little PR for themselves and their organization. We can’t just assume that they’ll take the job if offered — are we selling ourselves well enough? That’s a question for HR and managers the world over. And that’s PR at work. I’d love to hear  your experiences on the hiring front….

— Diane Schwartz

  • Debra C.

    I have a question – if candidates must be “PR pros”, then why does the same standard not apply to those doing the interviewing and hiring? Over the course of the past year, I have periodically gone on interviews, some of which have been intensive involving three or more meetings with different members of the hiring company. It has become rare that I ever receive so much as a “Thanks but no Thanks” email after interviews. When email is so pervasive, why has it become standard practice to refuse to engage in the common courtesy to let a candidate know they are not being considered for the position? It seems that companies have forgotten that today’s candidate is tomorrow’s customer – or rather, tomorrow’s customer of the competition.

  • dschwartz

    I agree with you. It’s important for employers to close the loop, one way or the other. That used to be the protocol, but as our culture has become more informal because of the Internet (most likely), we see less and less of this practice. It’s a shame, though.

  • Pam Small

    Debra is absolutely right — many organizations that I’ve encountered seem to drag their feet in the communications process, not letting candidates they’ve shown a great deal of interest in that they are no longer candidates. I’ve encountered this problem where I went to two separate locations and several group interviews and a process that went on from May to through August before finally being informed an inhouse candidate was offered the job. BTW, the recruiter told me they didn’t consider the inhouse candidate “inhouse” because he didn’t work at their national office. That’s pretty disingenuous in my book. My advice: my time is also valuable — get your house in order before you waste my time please and think through your candidate and interview process BEFORE you start talking to potential candidates.

  • thomas Battles

    are there any training courses on interviewing candidates for employment if so, please share the information. I live in the Atlanta area.

  • J. Geibel

    “are there any training courses on interviewing candidates for employment if so, please share the information”

    The book Hiring the Best by Martin Yate is the best reference I’ve ever encountered. You can get it at Amazon. It should be required reading for every hiring manager.