I got this straight from the horse’s mouth, and I can vouch for its veracity, as this particular horse happens to be someone very close to me. For purposes of confidentiality, I’ll refer to him throughout this caveat as “Jay.”
The head of Jay’s department had recently informed him that Corporate had sanctioned an “open req,” meaning, a requisition for a new employee. Since the department consists solely of Jay and his boss, as a result of numerous heads having rolled off the chopping block of this rotten economy, Jay was pessimistically optimistic. An addition to the skeleton staff would mean fewer hours spent over the midnight oil and more weekends spent with his wife than with his job. But the skill sets required of the employee-to-be-hired are highly specialized. Jay’s boss, therefore, sloughed the onus of finding such a person onto Jay’s already overloaded plate.
The candidate that Jay interviewed yesterday came via a third party, a recruitment firm specializing in Jay’s industry and charged with carefully screening potential employees. The very first strike against the candidate occurred when Jay was informed that the initial (telephone) interview would be a conference call including the recruiter, and not the usual one-on-one to which he had been accustomed throughout his career — which, by the way, includes the hiring of a number of people. Jay was told that this is how the placement firm worked.
Biting his lips, he agreed to this. At the appointed hour, the recruiter called, advising Jay that she had the candidate on the phone but would it be all right if she put Jay on hold for “just a moment.” Two minutes later (Jay timed her), the candidate came on the line, thanking Jay for his time and asking if Jay could tell him “a little more about the company and the position.”
At this point, Jay had already determined not to hire the man, but protocol — and the potential need to use the recruiter again — compelled him to continue with the interview. The candidate obviously had come unprepared. Whether his inquiries into the company and the position were the results of an interview hastily scheduled by the recruiter, or poor planning on the job hopeful’s part, Jay didn’t care. His time was not only valuable, it was extremely crunched. The interview thus began on two wrong feet.
As it progressed, with the recruiter hanging silently but blatantly on the line, it became apparent that the interviewee was not a good candidate. He lacked the depth of experience called for in the job req; the job req that the recruiter was told to match to qualified candidates. At the end of the interview, Jay informed the man that he could not hire him, and why. He’d wanted to blast the recruiter for wasting half an hour of his precious time. To add insult to injury, shortly after the interview had been concluded, Jay received an email from the candidate, apologizing for not having the required skill sets!
Jay was seething. When he reported all of this to his boss, Jay stated if they were forced to use this recruiter again, he would never conduct another interview with one of their clients unless it was done via the normal one-on-one screening. He added that he didn’t even want to use the placement firm, as the recruiter had apparently attempted to wheedle her commission by way of an ill-suited prospect
If you are seeking a job, take a lesson, please, from Jay’s experience; put yourself in the position of the hiring manager. The job market is as tight as a Victorian corset now, but you must exercise common sense:
- If a job posting calls for very specific competencies and you lack those, the position is obviously not the correct fit for you. Don’t waste the employer’s time by interviewing for it.
- If it is a large company, you may have to pass through the gauntlet of HR or a manager responsible for an entire division. Should a position become available in the future for which you are well suited, HR and/or the division manager will remember the stunt you pulled the first time around and will not even consider you.
- Consider that you may have missed an opportunity in the time that it took you to pull a fast one on the employer.
- If you haven’t a clue as to the demands of the position and the company’s mission, you have no business putting yourself in the running. Do your research. The Internet is at your fingertips. There is no excuse for laziness or ignorance when something as important as a job is on the line.