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..to complain about this wierd job interview?

(40 Posts)
williaminajetfighter Mon 07-Dec-15 07:08:19

I recently attended a post for a Director level role but the interview was so odd. First they didn't ask me any questions related to the actual role - so imagine it's a Director of Finance role, I was asked nothing about actually 'doing finance' on a day to day basis or even financial processes, problems I've encountered or major financial projects. Instead I was asked very generic textbook questions like 'what are your strengths' and 'what was your least successful project' which I suppose are fine as I tried to respond by giving useful examples related to the post.

Secondly they spent the whole time intimating that I may be overqualified, that the scope and scale of this role was not enough for me which was really demoralizing.

Thirdly, instead of asking questions about the job they kept asking me opinions about the future of the company, which were impossible to answer as it was v difficult to obtain public information about the organization. Moreover I know an internal candidate was applying for the role, which surely advantages him!

This isn't normal practice is it? I mean I sit on or chair interview panels all the time and labour over the questions to ask. This just seemed really thrown together and, frankly, set up to favour the internal candidate.

I've never complained about a job interview but is it worth doing it in this instance?

wannabestressfree Mon 07-Dec-15 07:15:49

It sounds like they were just ticking boxes due to knowing already who they wanted.
I wouldn't bother complaining....

knaffedoff Mon 07-Dec-15 07:19:18

What outcome do you expect? I recently attended an interview, bought a new suit and went along. Gave a fab interview IMO, lots of related experience. I didn't get the job though, came away knowing I had been unsuccessful for all the reasons you posted. Discovered days later the application had been filled in internally. Its life and complaining will not change the outcome, sorry!

LineyReborn Mon 07-Dec-15 07:20:19

I think the time to challenge an interview panel is at the interview, but I appreciate that's easier said than done.

Enjolrass Mon 07-Dec-15 07:22:28

This is the downside of having to advertise jobs externally.

If I were employing someone for a director level job, I would prefer someone I knew whose work I had seen consistently most people would.

What do you want to get out of complaining? What is it you hope to achieve?

KeepOnMoving1 Mon 07-Dec-15 07:22:54

Complain to who and about what. Do you think they will give you the job after a complaint? Seems like they prefer the internal candidate but had to tick boxes of interviewing external as well, which is often done.

williaminajetfighter Mon 07-Dec-15 07:33:42

Thx for all your comments. As I said I've never complained about an interview before but this was such bad practice and some of the comments to me about level and length of experience bordered on discriminatory.

BipBippadotta Mon 07-Dec-15 07:35:13

I don't think the OP's being wildly out of line for wanting to complain - it's a pain in the ass preparing thoroughly for an interview for a job you really want only to be treated with what seems a little bit like lack of respect in order to favour a junior internal candidate. I think there will be ways of making it clear that they have not behaved with great professional courtesy without sounding whingey. It might just make them think a bit - or be clearer what level they are pitching their job at in the ad (i.e. would suit someone looking to make the next step in their career, etc).

I suppose on the bright side (?) at least they weren't trying to pump you for information from your current or previous jobs / ideas for strategy that they would then give to the less experienced internal person when they step into the role, which is what they always did in my old industry. It was the only reason anyone over 30 ever got an interview.

It may also be that they are terrible interviewers, or have a culture of going through multiple, multiple rounds of interviews for things, or have some sort of mission statement that values 'personal qualities' etc over experience. Though if any of those is the case I would say stay well clear of this company!

HermioneWeasley Mon 07-Dec-15 07:39:08

Sounds odd, but if they want a sub standard process which won't identify the best candidate, that's up to them!

Sounds like you've dodged a bullet (I speak from experience...)

Enjolrass Mon 07-Dec-15 07:40:23

I don't think she is wildly unreasonable to want to complain.

But I am just not sure what outcome she hopes for.

What did they say that was discriminatory?

Bakeoffcake Mon 07-Dec-15 07:59:00

Who would you complain to?

VashtaNerada Mon 07-Dec-15 08:01:58

I think if it were me (assuming you don't get the role) I would ask for feedback and then slip in some PA comments like "I was surprised not to be asked x". But that may not be the most productive approach!

TheTigerIsOut Mon 07-Dec-15 08:04:32

i think you can safely assume they had an internal candidate and they were just ticking the boxes and wasting your time to tick the boxes.

I have had interviews like this (my place of work is well known for that), they advertise the position for 2 days, don't let you know about the interview until the day before (great if you are not sitting at home hmm), and then they ask you a lot of stupid questions unrelated to the position.

There is no point in complaining, and count as a blessing that you won't be working for a company that won't appreciate/waste your strenghts.

OllyBJolly Mon 07-Dec-15 08:12:03

If I was interviewing for a director level role (which I do frequently for clients) then I wouldn't be spending a lot of time on "task" questions. For director, I'd be looking for business acumen, strategic vision, commercial understanding, leadership qualities.

It's not that difficult to find out information on companies - even private companies. Why would you tie your future to a job if you didn't think the business had prospects? That would worry me for a board level position.

Internal candidates don't always have the edge over externals. Everyone remembers mistakes and mishaps that have befallen the internals, whereas externals can come in promising the earth.

I wouldn't complain. I'd ask for feedback, listen to that carefully and objectively and take a view on whether you can learn from it.

BlueMoonRising Mon 07-Dec-15 08:17:31

I'm not sure.

I would have thought your CV/application would be the place to show that your experience matches that required, especially at a role at that level.

The interview is to find out if you are a match for the organisation (and vice versa) - so finding out about you and also finding out how interested you really are in the place that you are applying to work.

There was a management role interviewed for recently where I worked, where we had a really good internal candidate (so we all thought). That knew all about the organisation. The candidate that got the job was external. They had clearly done their research and apparently 'blew the panel away' with their solution to one issue that the organisation had. They could of course have hired the internal candidate and used that solution - but no, they hired the person that clearly done their homework and then some.

I have come across the tactic of implying that the role is beneath you before. They are basically looking for you to convince them that this is the role you want and that you won't be looking fot the next challenge as soon as you are sitting at the desk. Not unreasonable if you are 'over-qualified' for the role.

But then you were there, and I wasn't - and it's impossible to know how it all came across.

BlueJug Mon 07-Dec-15 08:20:56

Interesting and useful points from OllyBJolly and worth bearing in mind. There is no doubt though that box ticking goes on though. Experienced it myself. In the attempt to be seen to be fair everyone's time is wasted and the end result is even more unfair.

FishWithABicycle Mon 07-Dec-15 08:22:31

A financial director doesn't do any procedures or projects. They provide oversight for other people doing the real work, and spend time on strategic planning and big picture stuff. If you were expecting to be asked about 'doing finance' on a day to day basis or even financial processes, problems I've encountered or major financial projects then you probably misunderstood the scope of the job.

cdtaylornats Mon 07-Dec-15 08:24:36

Just as well they didn't ask you to spell weird

carabos Mon 07-Dec-15 08:25:25

Agree with olly. It doesn't sound as if you gave a director level interview. It does sound odd that they mentioned you might be over-qualified though, I can't imagine how you could be "over-qualified" for a senior role confused.

I reckon you've all got your wires crossed. Put it down to experience and move on.

EBearhug Mon 07-Dec-15 08:27:58

I'd have thought the time to query it was during the interview ' "is there anything you'd like to ask us?" "Yes. I thought this was for a director-level position, but you haven't asked me anything that will give you an idea about my strategic planning experience, nor..."

If it was discriminatory, I might be tempted to give th

EBearhug Mon 07-Dec-15 08:29:33

...to give them feedback, but it would probably make up my mind about whether I wanted to work for them, were I to be offered it.

(Stupid phone.)

APlaceOnTheCouch Mon 07-Dec-15 08:43:43

They have an internal candidate and are box ticking. I remember going to a similar interview. Such a waste of everyone's time.

ProjectPerfect Mon 07-Dec-15 08:57:05

Agree with olly

It doesn't sound a great interview but a director level job doesn't typically involve operational work so I'd expect the interview to cover strategy, business analysis and management competencies and experience.

Implying someone is overqualified is fairly common if the move is either a lateral one or there are operational elements that they fear you might get bored of - your job is then to explain why you're applying for the position.

OurBlanche Mon 07-Dec-15 09:00:36

I did complain, many years ago. I drove a long way for an interview, met a younger woman who lived close to me who came looking fit to kill, went in an was insulted for an hour. My CV outlined my experience, qualifications and they kept on asking what experience I had, over and over again... plus some odd thing with just 2 minutes to the end of the world, write down what you would do (sit back and remember my loved ones was, apparently, the oddest answer they had read).

I didn't get the job, it was filled internally. I wrote and berated them for having made 2 candidates travel for 5 hours (round trip) in order for them to tick their boxes, told them they should be ashamed of themselves that, having pre-filled the role, they couldn't even be bothered to give the other candidates a good interview experience.

I got a reply stating that they were sorry that they could not offer me the job at this moment in time!

Odd what councils think they can get away with!

fakenamefornow Mon 07-Dec-15 09:10:41

From my experience interviewing I would always want to go with an internal candidate if I knew they were good.

I remember at work years ago we had somebody working for us on a temporary contract, she was brilliant and her role was being made permanent. Because of the rules and supposedly in the interests of fairness we had to advertise the post in have interviews. She applied but messed up at the interview the interview was based on point scoring and so somebody else had to be given the job and she had to leave. The other candidate, who had done really well at interview, proved absolutely useless at the job and wasn't kept on after the probationary period. We had to advertise and appoint again this time getting somebody who was good enough but not as good as the person we lost.

Another interview involving and internal candidate applying for a promotion. The internal candidate we knew well and was OK but we didn't stretch them at all because when we did they messed up. They were just about good enough to stay in their current post though. During the interview that said loads of stuff that we knew just wasn't true, they didn't do any of that stuff, they even took credit for a project we knew they had no involvement in. Again the interview was point scored so this candidate scored very well. We had somebody from HR come down from head office it sit on the interview panel because of the internal candidates and to ensure 'fairness' she said that we had to put our knowledge of the candidate aside and only go on what they said at the interview (even if made up). Luckily this internal candidate didn't get the job but only after great protests from those on the panel who knew him.

Interviews are a very rough tool IMO and the prove of the pudding is in the eating and if you've already eaten the pudding and know it's good why shouldn't you go with that.

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