Man interviewing for a job

Dear Ms. Company X:

What the world has experienced within the last four months is too severe for you to resume as normal. Hopefully, you have not fallen into the trap of “waiting to see what happens; then we’ll get back to normal” thinking. We have seen enough of that foolish thought in government. This is a time for you to reconsider your mission, policies, rules, vision, and procedures. Speaking of procedures; let’s examine your hiring and interviewing procedures.

Companies, like yours, have resumed recruiting efforts and hiring. As I eluded to earlier, these past months have been a good opportunity to reconsider methods. Let’s look at interviewing methods.

1.  Throw out traditional questions. Specifically, the following one: “So, tell us what you are looking for?” What do you think people are looking for? They are looking for income. Millions of people have lost, if not all, a huge fraction of their income. Some people were employees, and some were business owners. Regardless of what tax form they complete, millions of people are looking to replace their income. Because this country did a poor job of prepping for and handling this health pandemic, people have reached the point of desperation. Ms. Company X, please understand that it is difficult for a person to consider career plans when their current focus is to restore their income.

2. Make your interview more of a conversation. It wouldn’t hurt to start off the interview by saying, “I hope that you and your loved ones have been staying healthy.” Don’t waste a person’s time with canned questions that the interviewer reads from a stack of papers. How would you feel Ms. Company X if the applicant read his answers from a stack of papers?

3. Understand you are interviewing a human being.  This point ties into the second point. When a company asks canned questions, it’s implied the company is looking for a certain answer. This time in the world has been a traumatic pause. There is this idea that states “We are all in the same boat during this pandemic.” Wrong. There are some people who are collecting unemployment, some people are not.  There are some people with a savings cushion and some whose cushion now has a pin in it. So, perhaps a question was answered out of desperation and mental exhaustion. No, Ms. Company X, I’m not suggesting you become therapists to applicants. But don’t be so constructed in your questions where you miss out on excellent applicant because he didn’t answer your questions according to some general script.

4. Let the candidate know his or her status at the end of the interview. Especially now, people don’t have time to wait 4 weeks or even a week to receive a generic email from your company stating how you chose another candidate.

5. Since you require a resume from an applicant, then actually review it before the interview. Pay attention to the skills that the applicant has taken the time to highlight. Just like you want the applicant to know about your company, then make sure the interviewer knows about the applicant. Use some creativity  and tailor questions around the applicant’s expertise.

6. Keep the hiring process simple. Let’s say you have three excellent candidates for one position. You tend to know right away when you have one candidate that stands out among the other two. There is no need to have a lengthy discussion about all three. When you see the person that has the qualifications and dependency that gets your attention, then hire her! 

I hope that these six points invoke an urgency in you to avoid being tone deaf. Perhaps this letter will find its way into your procedure manuals.

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