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Monday, August 8, 2011

Advice from a Hiring Manager: We still have no clue how to hire people

The actual title should be "Advice from the some guy whose Boss got him involved in the hiring process because he looked like he has too much free time on his hands and the Boss wanted him to think that he could actually be trusted with a crumb of responsibility." However, readers should know that I try to avoid long titles. It could be shortened to "Advice from a Putz" but that wouldn't rank as high on Google searches.

Not surprisingly, I have digressed before writing the sequel to my previous post intended to assure job seekers that it is not you, it's us. The people that are interviewing you have the decision-making capabilities of a stoned teenager in a grocery story with the munchies and sense of reality is about the same. Here are the bullet points:
  • When we are looking for a right handed business analyst with 3 years experience with SQL servers in our industry, that is exactly what we want. We have no ability to gauge if a previous programming language is the same or if experience in another industry is relevant. Left handedness is an immediate disqualification. Some higher power needs to help career switchers because interviewer cannot.
  • Interviewers are also looking for someone who can help them with the project that they are working on that day. Doesn't matter if the position doesn't pay enough to attract anyone with experience in that project or if that's the responsibility of another position.
  • While you must meet all these qualifications, you also cannot be overqualified. That's because someone who is overqualified will leave for a better position as soon as they can. One candidate had the thought (in a private conversation) that it would be a good idea to hire overqualified individuals during a recession because one could stockpile talent. However, that talent won't be loyal. Anyone who's been laid off in a recession loses all sense of loyalty. I know that I did and I think it's a smart survival tactic in today's economy.
  • In summary, interviewers are Goldilocks only not as cute. Interviewees are probably like the bears who wanted to rip Goldilocks head off for messing with their house. However, job interviews like nursery rhymes don't allow physical violence.
  • Interviewers are also very anxious and look at every negative features about candidates. Limiting the interviewer anxiety levels is probably the most important thing to do.
  • It doesn't matter if you are unemployed right now. Most of the candidates that we interviewed were unemployed and the best way to address the question was with a quick and simple answer. The longer and interviewee talks about the unemployment, the more the interviewers start to realize that their own odds of future unemployment are pretty high too. That makes interviewers anxious which gets into the bullet point above. A recent New York Times article had the opposite point of view, that want ads were specifying that they only wanted currently employed candidates. That sounds like a human resource department who was looking for an easy way to screen resumes. In this day and age, it is highly likely that your interviewer had a bout of unemployment or knows how close they are.

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