Things I’ve Learned from being the Interviewer

Being a supervisor means that I get thrown into lots of familiar situations but with a different viewpoint, and one of them is the hiring of employees!  We do not hire often, but it just so happened that we had a position open recently.  I have now moved from being the one interviewed to the interviewer.  I think common sense would tell you what kinds of things employers see favorable in future employees, but now I’m hearing things from the horse’s mouth.  I have also surprised myself in little things I pick up from the candidates and how they affect my judgment of them.  I hate to put it that way, but it’s true.  So here are a few things I picked up over the course of the interviews… some expected and some unexpected.  I hope they are helpful!

  1. Little Things Matter.  The way you dress, your attitude, conversation skills, politeness, smiling, etc.  Be mindful of everything you say and do.  Being nervous is expected, but other than that, be an attractive human being, and I don’t mean looks.
  2. Be a Good Volunteer.  This was an interesting one.  One of our candidates had been a volunteer recently for one of our cruises.  As you know, I am a huge proponent of volunteering.  There are so many good things that can come out of it.  But you also know if you have read my blog that you must make sure that you are a good volunteer and always act in a way that make you desirable as an employee.  This really backfired for this person.  They did not work well with the staff on the boat and rubbed many people the wrong way with their attitude and actions. Although the person was well qualified, you would not hire someone who has proven to be hard to work with if you can avoid it.  People talk- so be careful what you say and do… always.
  3. Show Up Face to Face.  This wasn’t a deal breaker for the individual, but it surprised me that one of my bosses thought it an issue.  The candidate originally had a face to face interview, but called last minute to request a phone interview because they were sick.  A comment was made that if the person really wanted the job, they would have come in even if they had the sniffles.  That surprised me… I would have thought it was good judgment not to come in and spread germs, but instead made them look like they wussed out.
  4. Be Confident.  This was one of my biggest issues with one of the candidates.  I’m very surprised at myself for this one!  One of the interview questions was regarding what you would do if a problem came up that you did not know how to handle and your supervisor was not reachable.  At first, what would be the best answer?  To try to find out what the supervisor would want you to do or handle it yourself?  The trick to this question is to show that you have confidence in yourself to get the task done, even if you have never done it before and have no assistance.  Sure, you can try to reach a boss, maybe another employee how has experience in it… but really, research and figure it out for yourself is the correct answer.  One of the candidates answered this in a totally unprofessional manner, in my opinion.  The person said that the supervisor should have left adequate instructions to follow, and if they didn’t and the job was done incorrectly, then oh well, the employee should have had better instructions – not their fault.  Horrible answer!  You never blame management in an interview!! Very bad move.  All it did was piss me off that the person didn’t take responsibility for his “actions”.
  5. Be Friendly.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  Smile, show an interest in the people you meet, chat with them, be humble. Leave the building having made friends.  Your personality can trump a fancy resume.
Well, I hope this was helpful to you.  I just wanted to point out a few things that stood out to me as a first time interviewer.  I will definitely post more tips as time goes.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time interviews will come along.  Until then, good luck!
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