The world has changed in the last few years. I still remember a story we had in school in which a scholarly candidate is called to an interview. Though infallible in knowledge, he is at a loss when a panel of interviewers confronts him. He is asked how many buttons he has on his shirt, how many steps he climbed and the number of the taxi he came in. Thus demolished, the erudite professional staggers out of the hall completely shattered. One can safely imagine that he not only counted every step on his way down but the number of the taxi he took home is indelibly branded in letters of fire on his heart.
This incident is history and one can imagine the business executives, who have faced the effects of a "talent crunch" in almost every industry today, laughing derisively while reading the story. And the truth is that, in an interview, the evaluation takes place on both sides. The candidate is probably assessing the organization more carefully than the organisation is assessing the candidate.
First impressions are lasting impressions. The interview is the beginning of the candidate's relationship with the company. Interviewing is central to employee engagement and that brings it directly into the ambit of business etiquette. Since most managers are involved in the process of interviewing, a few tips on interviewing etiquette may be immensely useful to them.
· Introduce yourself to the candidate briefly so that the candidate knows who is talking to him. If it is a panel, the senior-most can take the initiative of introducing everyone else. This sets the tone of the interview that it is a conversation and not an examination.
· Do not jump into questions. Begin with small talk. It relaxes the candidate and makes him or her more receptive to answering. Remember, openness begets openness.
· The interviewer must read the candidate's curriculum vitae before the interview. It is rude to read it after the candidate sits in front of you. The candidate can feel the slow build-up of tension and start twisting uncomfortably on the chair if one takes too long. Some interviewers add insult to injury by periodically looking at the interviewee while reading the curriculum vitae, as if they are examining a protozoa specimen under a microscope.
· Initial questions must be open-ended, focusing on the achievements of the candidate. One must desist from interrupting the candidate unless the candidate becomes too long-winded.
· It is equally important not to ask a set of negative questions that may put the candidate on the defensive. Frightened candidates usually answer in monosyllables and sometimes not at all. In certain countries, there are clear guidelines of what is thought to be discriminatory and hence against the law. But whether the same law exists everywhere or not, its tenets as etiquette are useful while interviewing everyone, irrespective of their location, in a global company.
· One must tell the candidate about the next step, whether it is about another interview or about approximately in what time the decision will be communicated. If it is a senior candidate, it is polite for someone from the interview panel to walk the candidate to the lift.
My Response to this sent to the editor.
Very interesting article. Very true of the situation in which how some so called Mighty companies think so much of themselves.
The worst offenders are the professors in college interviews for admission. I remember my interview in Anna university, Madras for Engineering admissions in 1980. I was aghast when the professor was interviewing me started smoking ( I was 16 then). That moment, I decided, that I will never join that college. In fact that gave a sense bad impressions about all the college professors, in Tamilnadu that I carry till this day and I just waited gritting my teeth to finish my college ( I was dependent on my parents, you see) and ran away from Tamil Nadu. At least, now I have made sure that my children never set foot in Tamilnadu for their education. Wonder how one bad behavior can trigger a chain of events.
Thanks for bringing this up, I hope the so called, college professors, anyway these generation professors don't add any value to students,thanks to Internet and networking students are smart and learn on their own, so the professors are just a necessary evil. I can vouch that personally, when I did my MBA from 2003-05 without attending single class sessions ( Thank god attendance was not needed for passing exams). Every material and assignments were prepared from Internet and network of students. Anyway I kind of digresses from the subject.
I have also faced situations like you have mentioned, and I have made sure not only I have joined such third rate immature organisations, also make sure any one known to me does not by mistake join such organisations where people are not valued.
On the other hand, three offers, I took up based on the sheer good impression the interview panel created (all 3 are MNCs and in 2 cases, Foreign citizens who came to India to interview me), and believe me it's been pleasure working for them.
Thanks for bringing this up.
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