From The Perspective Of The Job Interviewer

I’ve been interviewing candidates to fill a middle management position on the team for the past six weeks and it’s been enlightening and educational. At times, I interviewed candidates one on one, and other times with a colleague. I learned a lot about the interviewing process and better understand the reason some candidates are chosen over others. There are a number of thoughts and realizations that I want to share.

  • A candidate may reject the job offer not because of salary, but because the benefits package (medical/dental/vision/retirement) isn’t good enough.
  • Interviewers may not agree with each other regarding the candidates. There will be differences in opinion.
  • Job referrals do happen, and it does help applicants get an interview. However, that’s as far the referral gets them. Either they’re a good fit for the position, or not. One referred candidate had a lot of insider knowledge, but halfway through the interview, I knew he was not the right person for the job.
  • Having a lot of certifications on the resume doesn’t mean anything. One candidate had over 15 listed, and all we cared about was one type of certification.
  • The two-page resume rule is dead. The resumes from the candidates ranged from three to six pages. Three pages are fine since the candidates had about 20 years of experience and the role is somewhat technical and managerial. I didn’t bother to read resumes that exceeded three pages and instead, used the MS Word search function to pick out keywords. Ridiculous.
  • Avoid resume filler words such as driven, motivated, go-to, problem solver, and a team player. Here’s a good list to refer to.
  • Candidates may be deemed too expensive for the position, meaning the company may not be able to meet candidate salary requirements.
  • There’s no excuse to dress like a slob to an interview. Interview dates are scheduled in advance upon agreement by both parties. Get your attire ready and make sure it fits well.
  • Don’t wear cologne or perfume to the interview. It felt like I couldn’t breathe because the candidate’s cologne took over the room.
  • Thank you letters are nice, but not necessary. A decision on whether or not to place the candidate on the finalist list may happen as soon as the interview is over, or if the candidate is terrible, during the interview.
  • Skipping jobs too often is looked down upon for a management position. It’s understandable that it’s important to gain as much experience as possible early in one’s career. In management positions, however, there is an expectation to develop employee careers and to provide leadership. If the candidate is showing signs that he or she can’t hold a job for more than a year or two, why should the company invest in the candidate that may be a flight risk?
  • Applying for a management position without having direct report management experience may work against you.
  • If the candidate is enrolled in graduate school, it tells the interviewers that the person may not stick around after graduation.
  • Things do come up last minute, and candidates may have to reschedule interviews. It doesn’t impact the candidate’s chances of landing the position.
  • Typos occur at all levels of experience. Don’t rely on spell and grammar check. Have another set of eyes review the resume.
  • More applicants mean employers get to be more selective, so that may be the reason it takes a long time to make a final decision.
  • The candidate’s personality and attitude are one of the biggest factors when making a hiring decision.
    • Is this person too aggressive for the role, maybe too passive?
    • Is this person too demanding?
    • Is this person too cocky/overconfident?
    • Is this person too pessimistic?
    • Can this person work well with other managers and members of upper management?
    • Can this person manage seasoned professionals?
    • Can this person survive in a cutthroat business environment?
    • Can this person hit the ground running on day one?
    • Do we see this person fitting into the company’s culture?
    • Even though this person has no experience in the industry, does it matter?
    • Will this person be eaten alive by members of upper management?

2 thoughts on “From The Perspective Of The Job Interviewer”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Two-page resume rule? I thought it was a one-page resume rule! When did it bloat to two?! By the way, I’ve read a few of your articles now and have enjoyed reading your observations and insights. I’m surprised there haven’t been more comments on your writing!

    1. JJ says:

      Hi Jonathan, thank you for the feedback. The two-page rule has been around for a while. When it comes to positions that are technical or managerial, they are usually 3 three or more. One person during the interview handed me a one-page summary sheet for his four-page resume.

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