Job interviews are often just as nerve-wracking for the interviewer as they are for the interviewee. They are generally crammed into schedules that are already too busy, and they can be unpredictable. A great interview is a pleasant surprise, but most are either mediocre or downright bad. When an interview starts to go south, the best thing you, the interviewer, can do is end it quickly so you and your ex-prospect can continue your searches.
The following are some obvious indicators of a person who either has questionable judgment or really just doesn’t want the job!
The candidate is…
Late. I’m a big fan of “Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.” Being on time (or preferably early) is the quintessential rule for interviewing. If a potential new hire is tardy for the appointment to get a job, what does that say about their ability to make it to the job on time? Or to your prospects and customers on time?
Not dressed properly. It’s a business casual environment, so flip flops and a tee shirt are ok, right? Not so much. A suit is not always necessary, but your interviewees should always be neatly and professionally attired.
Talking over you. While interviewees should do the majority of the talking (60 – 80%), they should also allow you to ask follow-up questions, or even just finish your original question. If you can’t get a word in edgewise, your customers might not either.
Not behaving professionally. This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway…texting, chewing gum, using swear words, eating snacks (or eating anything)… these things signal trouble… Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Some signs are less outwardly obvious but can be indicators of problems:
Knows nothing about your agency. This person may be disinterested, noncommittal or even lazy. Many job-search sites and online ads automatically include information about a potential employer’s business and background. Most companies have websites and social networking pages. It’s almost harder for a candidate NOT to know about a company than to at least have some basic facts. Interviewees who are truly motivated to work for you will come prepared.
Cannot stop fidgeting. Some people are natural fidgets, and that’s okay to some extent. But if you find your candidate is twirling in the chair, twirling their hair, or watching the clock more than paying attention to you, there might be a problem with confidence, self-control or preparation.
Cannot provide information on their strengths for the position. This may simply indicate a lack of preparation for the interview (not a great sign), but it may suggest the person HAS no strengths for the position. Either way, you have your answer. Next candidate please.
Does not ask questions or attempt to connect with the interviewer. Not every job requires an outgoing people person, but a basic ability to communicate with colleagues and supervisors in a professional and courteous manner is a must in most jobs and definitely a key to a successful interview.
Shows no enthusiasm during or at the end of the interview. If your interviewee doesn’t seem excited about the prospect of the job, then it is unlikely he or she will be able to bring much enthusiasm to the position itself.
If you experience any of these indicators, it’s best to wrap up the interview as quickly, yet professionally, as possible. It may help to come prepared to the meeting with two sets of questions: one for the candidate who stands a chance and a more basic, streamlined one for the candidate who has already tipped you off that the interview is going nowhere.
About the Author: Carletta Clyatt, a popular seminar speaker, is the SVP at The Omnia Group. She offers clients advice on how to manage more effectively and gain insight into employee strengths, weaknesses and behaviors. For more information about employee behavioral assessments, call Carletta at 813-280-3026 or email: Carletta@omniagroup.com
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