Friday, July 10, 2009

Being a Hiring Manager Doesn't Give You the Right To Be a Jackass

I write a lot about how to pen a great resume, what to wear to an interview and how to give terrific answers to tough questions from hiring managers.

Now, I think it's time I gave some pointers to interviewers. Not all of them need this advice, but I'm hearing enough horror stories from job candidates that I think it's worthwhile to give them some advice. I'm not going to name names. You know who you are.

Rules for being a good hiring manager/interviewer:

1. When you post a job, be prepared. Have a system in place to acknowledge that you've received a resume and/or cover letter when they come flooding in. This can be nothing more than a form e-mail saying "got it." It may cost you some time in the beginning, but it will save you in the long run when job seekers tie up your phone lines or e-mail asking, "Did you get my resume?" Besides, it's just common courtesy.

2. Be on time. You ask job candidates to be on time, yet you keep them cooling their heels in the lobby for an hour? It's unprofessional and rude. Don't forget, the business world is often very small, and you'd hate for your boss to hear of your behavior, especially if it turns out you really p.o.'d a top candidate. And wouldn't the boss think it was just peachy if a rant turned up online from the candidate criticizing your behavior?

3. Clear a chair. Don't invite someone for an interview and then show them to an office that looks like a landfill and hasn't had an uncluttered chair since 1995. They put on a suit, for goodness's sake, and you can't even get a space cleared for them to sit? Don't make them wish they'd gotten their tetanus shot updated.

4. Pay attention. While there are some badly prepared job candidates, there are plenty who have practiced their answers, done research on your company and are prepared to offer their take on industry trends. So, turn off your phone, your e-mail and put a "do not disturb" sign on your door. Paying attention to anything but what they have to say shows you're not doing your job. And not doing your job may mean you are on the other side of the interviewing table -- soon.

5. Be honest. Most job candidates are just looking for a clue -- anything -- that will tell them about their chances for the position. If you know you're never going to call them back (their skills are all wrong, they want too much money) then tell them. If you're going to call on Thursday, then call on Thursday. If you know the interviewing process is going to drag out another three weeks because the final decision needs to be made by the CEO who is currently fishing in Alaska -- then say it will be at least three weeks before a decision is made.

What are some other rules interviewers should follow?

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