I took the resume out of my notebook and glanced it over. I had been reviewing it since the morning, looking over the fine details with a pen in hand. The marked up resume belonged to the gentleman sitting across from me. I couldn’t tell if he was nervous or calm. So this is what if felt like to be on the other side of the fence.
My teammate had recently left for another job opportunity and the search was on to find a replacement. We worked well together, our strengths complemented each other’s. Where one was weak the other was there to fill the gap. Now I had only forty-five minutes with each candidate to decide if he or she would be a good fit not just for the position, but a good fit as my new partner in crime.
My cousin who is no stranger to interviewing job candidates was online and I messaged him for some advice about an hour before the interview. He suggested I start with softball questions to make the interviewee more comfortable. But the most important thing he told me was to keep an eye on the person’s body language, as it speaks louder than words.
I messaged another friend who was online and told him I was getting ready to interview a candidate. He wanted to know if I was going to ask technical questions. Then he typed if I was going to ask any brain teasers.
- How heavy is the moon?
- How many planes are flying in the US right now?
- How many marbles can you fit in the Empire State Building?
- How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Of course, I wasn’t going to ask brain teasers, but that would have made the interview very interesting wouldn’t it?
The time for the interview was fast approaching. I was excited and a little anxious to get started. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but maybe that was a good thing.
The first thing I noticed about the candidate was that the suit was too big on him. This was eye opening. I thought back to all the times I interviewed for a job. The first few seconds were more important than I thought! In a matter of seconds of just observing how he dressed, I had already made judgements. I didn’t mean to, it just happened.
He wasn’t a great dresser, so what? As long as he can do the job and that we clicked during the interview, was all that mattered. After he sat down in the office chair, his posture was skewed toward the left armrest, with a slight lean towards me. He stayed in that position the entire time, as if he was stuck in a block of invisible ice and only his mouth was moving. It was actually quite impressive. Maybe he was nervous, or maybe he was so into the interview that his body forgot it could move. Within 10 minutes of the interview, I knew he wasn’t going to be a good fit. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it was more of a gut feeling than anything else.
My manager interviewed the candidate immediately after my time was up. Soon after the interviews were completed, he asked me what I thought. He described the candidate lacking the knowledge required for the role and hungry. Yes, the starving kind of hungry and not the hungry for success kind of hungry. I didn’t notice this during the interview, maybe I should have tossed him a Snickers bar. We both passed on the candidate.
That was it, we had made our decision minutes after the interview ended. We received his thank you notes a couple business days later. A great gesture, but they held no value. At least not for him. He didn’t even have a chance. I thought back to all the times I sent thank you letters to my interviewers and wondered how much weight they held.
The second candidate I had high hopes for. His resume was impressive. Clear, concise, and easy to read, much better than the first candidate’s. His work experience matched what the job description asked for. I’m pretty sure he tailored his resume to fit the bill, and it worked, this guy looked great on paper. I was excited to meet him.
I was his first of three back to back interviewers. He was well groomed, dressed well, and he looked confident. He looked ready.
Ten minutes in, I was getting sleepy. There was something in his manner of speaking that just made me tired. There was no energy in his voice, and thus, I was losing any remaining energy I had left. This guy knew his stuff, but I never got the feeling that he wanted the job that much.
I wanted to end the interview early when I noticed he over embellished something on his resume and could not back it up when I asked him a question about it. I also asked him why he chose the particular career path and his answer was because the money is good. Was that a good answer? I had no idea, but deep down, if all he cared was about the money, what’s not to say this guy won’t find another job that paid more in the near future? He was a flight risk in my mind. One of the managers who interviewed him described him as hostile and the other said he was lacking enthusiasm. So it wasn’t just me who felt the rush of energy being sucked out of my body. We passed on him as well, and didn’t receive any thank you notes, which was fine, I didn’t care. Next.
I have at least two other people to interview in the next few days. They seem to be strong candidates…at least on paper they do.