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Friday, April 16, 2010

Why do Guys Give Bad Interview?

It's like watching Wile E. Coyote use explosives or Shaquille O'Neal shoot free throws. It may look like this time it's actually going to work, but it never does.

As you might have guessed, I watched a guy give interview today. I used to interview a lot of high school seniors for my undergraduate alma mater. It doesn't seem to matter whether the guy is a hormonal 18 year old or hormonal 30 year old. Guys do not interview well.

Not interviewing well mainly entails talking for too long without really saying anything that wasn't covered in their first sentence. For example they will usually answer the question with the first sentence, then describe the entire project in too much detail, give a hypothetical example of something they might have done, get into a hypothetical argument with themselves about the hypothetical example and than repeat the first sentence again. Most interview questions can be answered with 6-10 sentences but guys usually need that much time to cover their project plan.

Guys also can only seem to handle concrete questions that cover the trajectory of "What did you do." When I ask a guy why he likes something or what the favorite part of his job is, he seems to get completely stumped. I almost see panic in their eyes when a sentence starts with "Why". Actually, I have a similar reaction when most women ask me why I did something so maybe that's a conditioned response.

Finally, they are terrible about asking any questions at the end of an interview. Actually, this seems to becoming a lost art for women too. The interviewers all know that every candidate has probably googled the entire company history and probably knows more about the organization than the interviewer. However, the questions at the end of the interview are used to show that you actually want to work at the company or show off this research. Ask about career paths or the person's favorite part of their job to show that you are actually interested in the company. Ask about the latest company tweet to show off this research.

I don't have a good answer for this behavior. There just seems to be something dangerous about asking a guy to spend an hour talking about himself with limited structure. Sometimes, I think that some guys are one slightly informal remark away from describing their weekend bachelor party plans at an interview.

I think that as a result, male interview performance gets discounted. Expectations plummet to the same level that we have for character development and plot in a Kevin Smith movie (which have become elaborate vehicles for penis jokes). I actually do the same thing with my office dress. My baseline dress is slow that when I tuck in my shirt and wear real shoes, I get more compliments than the guy who coordinates his belt and shoes every day.

If poor male interviewing was at crisis levels, I think that we would see even lower employment levels for men and the onslaught of career coaches would have identified this market opportunity. There would be advertisements everywhere about how men are as incapable of interviewing as they are at dressing themselves. Since that hasn't happened, I can only wonder if the recruiting market is more efficient than I suspected and has incorporated low expectations into their interview evaluation.

Readers, what are your opinions of the male ability to interview and my assessment?


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