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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post

    I also have found that if I ignore my gut feelings about a candidate and hire them anyway, I'm always sorry because whatever I was worried about turns out to be 10x the problem I thought it would be.
    Do you have any tastefully worded to respect their anonymity examples? I'm curious... like, what kind of gut feelings/worries?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I would tweak that a bit to say people want to hire those they feel comfortable being around and who complement the workers/working style already there. People spend a lot of time at work, and they want those hours to be relatively enjoyable. If you're working with someone who is productive, but unfriendly, that doesn't necessarily make for an enjoyable work environment for others.

    Each place of work has its unique culture, so it's not just a matter of being able to do task A, B, and C--one also has to be a good fit for the overall work environment. And that's where things like personality and gut instinct come in.
    It's even more critical in today's dot-com era. My mom's old boss now works at Facebook and she had lunch with her there recently. Over there, nobody has any privacy. There are no walls, no dividers, obviously no cubicles, but that's the point. They want everyone to work together. If you want to talk to your coworker, he's only a foot away from you. Heck, you want to talk to Mr. Zuckerburg, he's on the floor along with the rest of the programmers.

    My mom mentioned it would drive her crazy, but she's the kind of person who only needs to be given a job and goes off in a quiet corner to do it. Since that style of working is obviously not for everybody, an interview for fit absolutely makes sense.

    My bf works for a very small startup tech company which involves everyone in interviews, and it's absolutely for fit. They have turned down brilliant programmers before because the fit wasn't right.
    Last edited by Anita18; 02-10-2012 at 02:00 AM.

  3. #23

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    Hiring people is such a tough thing because if you get it wrong it can really cause massive problems in the workplace.

    We had a couple of people in the last couple of years in our department who on first impressions presented extremely well. But as time went on we discovered one was a selfish and nasacistic brat who we ended up nicknaming Veruca Salt because her catchphrase was "it's not fair". And the other would be a nice as pie to your face and say horrible things about you behind you back. Both only last around 12 months with us. Needless to say it was "all our fault" that they left. Unfortunately I don't think an interview would pick up those kinds of things.

    The latest couple of people we have are great - very professional, no bullshit - they just do their jobs. And they have no personality disorders.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I would tweak that a bit to say people want to hire those they feel comfortable being around and who complement the workers/working style already there.
    Absolutely, but this can be problematic when "complement the style already there" is operationalized as "gets along with me, and too bad if they're an *ss to everyone else". Or when it's operationalized as "lives in same neighbourhood as me", "goes to same church as me", "belongs to same club as me", "likes the same sports teams I do", etc.etc.. And when things like these are used to eliminate candidates who are perfectly likeable and have appropriate qualifications but don't meet these criteria for "fit".
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    I once had a Supervisor ask a candidate, "If you were a Disney character, which one would you be and why?" I don't think there was any value to it, but the answers were always entertaining.
    My sister is a headhunter of sorts and she asks questions like that when she gets bored with canned responses. She said it often cuts the tension and the candidates relax a little and show more of their true personalities.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  6. #26
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    I tend to avoid hiring people like myself. I find that their flaws jump out so much more obviously. I'd rather hire someone who can enthusiastically approach all of the things I'd rather not be doing.

    As someone who tests 100% introvert but can pass as a mild extrovert, I try to give people a balance of exercises:
    1) Phone interview
    2) Writing sample
    3) In-person interview
    4) Timed analysis/written exercise
    5) Homework assignment due a week later

    By the time I get to #5, I'm usually confident I'm going to hire someone. In the cases where I have declined someone after #5, I've had serious doubts about whether the writing sample submitted was actually done by the same person. And/or that the person really wanted the job.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrellH View Post
    My favorite question in a job interview that I faced was "If you were an animal, what would you be, and why?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    I once had a Supervisor ask a candidate, "If you were a Disney character, which one would you be and why?" I don't think there was any value to it, but the answers were always entertaining.
    I would seriously question whether I wanted to work for a company that asked such ridiculous questions. Interviews are a two-way street (at least they are with good economies and people who are employed).

    I'd be curious to see how different cultures/groups react to such questions, too. I suspect these questions run a high risk of bias and/or cultural relativism.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    We had a couple of people in the last couple of years in our department who on first impressions presented extremely well. But as time went on we discovered one was a selfish and nasacistic brat who we ended up nicknaming Veruca Salt because her catchphrase was "it's not fair". And the other would be a nice as pie to your face and say horrible things about you behind you back. Both only last around 12 months with us. Needless to say it was "all our fault" that they left. Unfortunately I don't think an interview would pick up those kinds of things.
    Next time try asking if they need shuttles to get to work. Maybe that way you can weed out some whiny, negative candidates with attitude problems.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    Next time try asking if they need shuttles to get to work. Maybe that way you can weed out some whiny, negative candidates with attitude problems.
    Do you mean shuttle buses? I'm afraid I can't figure out how the answer to that question could weed out potential personality problems.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Absolutely, but this can be problematic when "complement the style already there" is operationalized as "gets along with me, and too bad if they're an *ss to everyone else". Or when it's operationalized as "lives in same neighbourhood as me", "goes to same church as me", "belongs to same club as me", "likes the same sports teams I do", etc.etc.. And when things like these are used to eliminate candidates who are perfectly likeable and have appropriate qualifications but don't meet these criteria for "fit".
    At my last place of full time employment, the key factors were 1) Are you a graduate of this high school? (male or female) and 2) Are you willing to flirt with, giggle at, toss your hair, and seductively pat the principal on the arm while speaking to him? (female).

    One of those things would get you hired. Two of them would make you a department head and director of curriculum as a second year teacher new to the faculty.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I would seriously question whether I wanted to work for a company that asked such ridiculous questions. Interviews are a two-way street (at least they are with good economies and people who are employed).
    I agree with this. I have been treated so rudely by some people in HR and recruiters for certain companies that I will never use their products again and will warn people not to work for them. They seemed to think that, because the job market was soft, that they could treat their candidates any way they wanted. They don't seem to realize that job candidates are a form of customer and their bad experiences can back-fire on the company.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I would seriously question whether I wanted to work for a company that asked such ridiculous questions. Interviews are a two-way street (at least they are with good economies and people who are employed).
    I wish there was a way for interviewed candidates to leave feedback about the HR person they deal with and the interview process. I recently had an interview with an HR person of a big online retail company. She cancelled our first scheduled phone interview just 10 minutes before the interview, saying she'd been called into a meeting. That sucked as I had actually taken half a day off of my job for the interview. We rescheduled and this time, she FORGOT to call me - her Outlook calendar wasn't working (!!) and she forgot to enter the appointment manually in her agenda. The third time, she called me half an hour later than scheduled. Do they just think that all jobsearchers are unemployed people who sit around on their butts all day, waiting for calls? I would have loved to contact her supervisor and leave feedback.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
    I wish there was a way for interviewed candidates to leave feedback about the HR person they deal with and the interview process.
    I don't think you'd be out of line to do so. There's a good chance they'd ignore it coming from a rejected candidate, and that the HR person would say you were lying, but best case scenario you might actually get through. If you were to send a letter, professionally worded and sticking to the facts, and perhaps expressing some surprise as you had been an admirer of the company and intended to continue to be a customer, then it might even get you a second chance - as long as you keep it very professional and factual.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I would seriously question whether I wanted to work for a company that asked such ridiculous questions. Interviews are a two-way street (at least they are with good economies and people who are employed).
    I totally agree with this.

    Years ago I turned up for an interview which I was then kept waiting half an hour without being told anything, then before the interview they made me do this Excel spreadsheet which didn't really test anything (to see if I could make it look like the one they gave me) and then did the interview. When it got to the interview they asked me what I thought about the test. I replied that I had done plenty of tests at agencies on Excel and it might be preferable to do a test like that instead of the one they were asking their candidates to do. However by that stage I was so p*ssed off with their tardiness, I didn't want to work for them anyway so it wasn't really traumatic to not get a job there.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  15. #35
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    Believe it or not, due to an awful series of mishaps, I had an experience similar to Ajax's, except I was the interviewer. And I did get a (deserved) earful from HR about how bad it looked to the candidate. I agreed and apologized to HR and the candidate as best I could.

    A lot of companies do a formal census or survey of all candidates who decline their offers and will take action if something is amiss.

  16. #36
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    We do structured/behavior interviews, but the problem is that the consultant/HR people who make up the questions don't know how to tailor them for legal practice and we aren't supposed to change the questions. So the very best process for us is that we fill a lot of our slots with our outside counsel who might be looking for a lifestyle change from the billable hour. Then we know their work. That is how I got my job. I worked with these people for 4 years as outside counsel before I joined the company.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
    Do they just think that all jobsearchers are unemployed people who sit around on their butts all day, waiting for calls?
    Yes, yes, they do. I have this one recruiter who calls me multiple times a day and sends email and when I don't return his calls (because I'm at work), he says in the email "do you have another number? That number doesn't seem to be working." Dude, it's the middle of the day and I'm AT WORK.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    We do structured/behavior interviews, but the problem is that the consultant/HR people who make up the questions don't know how to tailor them for legal practice and we aren't supposed to change the questions. .
    Our company gets the questions from everyone so that's not an issue. The issue we have is that you can't determine technical competence from a STAR interview so we are on our own with that part and some do a better job than others.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    I must say though that while the writer has pinpointed a problem, I'm not big on his solution of trying to make the process more measurable.
    I agree on both counts. Perhaps this is top of mind because I'm in the middle of interviewing candidates and I just walked out of one where I really have no idea how the person would do. Socially, I'm sure she would fit fine, but she lacks experience in our area and there was absolutely nothing that would give me a sense of how quickly she would pick up on things.

    Perhaps Louis's timed analysis and/or take-home exercise is the solution here. I'm not the hiring manager, though, and I'm not sure how something like that would be received at this stage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    So the very best process for us is that we fill a lot of our slots with our outside counsel who might be looking for a lifestyle change from the billable hour. Then we know their work. That is how I got my job. I worked with these people for 4 years as outside counsel before I joined the company.
    This has worked pretty well for our department so far, too, starting with me. My current employer is my former client, I hired two former colleagues who are also contractors, I hired a woman who had interned for another department in the company, and I'd also hired someone who had been a client in my former job. Unfortunately with the two open positions we now have, I'm starting to feel like our resources are tapped out and anyone where I do know their work wouldn't be suitable. I'm not sure what the solution is at this point.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Yes, yes, they do. I have this one recruiter who calls me multiple times a day and sends email and when I don't return his calls (because I'm at work), he says in the email "do you have another number? That number doesn't seem to be working." Dude, it's the middle of the day and I'm AT WORK.
    Ugh. This is why I stopped posting my resume on Monster and making my contact information available there. All it attracted was low-level recruiters who wanted me for insurance sales positions. (I'm in investment research... the two have practically nothing to do with each other!) What's worse is they just wouldn't stop! They kept sending me emails and leaving voice messages on my phone, day after day after day. If I've never responded to a single one, can't they get a hint?

  20. #40
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    I finally got smart. No phone on my resume and I got a Google Voice number for my Dice profile. The calls have really died down and the emails have picked up. The emails are less intrusive and easier to deal with.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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