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Etiquette when an interview goes badly(18 Posts)
Dear Mumsnet jury,
Please resolve a dispute with a colleague.
You are interviewing someone for a job. Within 10 mind it is apparent that they are not right for the role...
I.e. Tell us about a time you dealt with rent arrears? I've never dealt with arrears.
She couldn't answer the dilapidation question etc etc. Clearly she'd exaggerated her cv quite badly.
I wanted to bring the interview to a quick close, so as to not give false hope and not waste our time. Whereas my fellow interviewer insisted on ploughing on through the rest of the questions "to give her a fair chance". By the end of which the candidate was so downhearted.
What would have been politer? A quick end or pushing through to the finish?
If she'd exaggerated her cv that badly, and the job ad/description had been absolutely clear in terms of essential/desirable skills and experience, I'd have no issue bringing it to a quick end on that basis. Not in a nasty way, but if you've clarified she hasn't got the basics, there's no point continuing. Let's face it, she's not been polite to you, she's wasted your time.
This is easier if you haven't stated an end time or interview duration.
If she's an internal candidate it might be worth spending the time giving her some feedback ("this is how you can get the experience you're missing", "don't lie on your cv") but otherwise you don't owe her anything.
I think at an early stage I'd have asked a general question about whether or not she had this experience in this area and if she was honest and said no, then said well there isn't much point asking you all the questions on here as they are all specific to this area and unfortunately we are looking for someone with specific experience in this area. Maybe then given her some friendly tips about getting work experience in the area or suggested a if a role in a more junior area became available she could reapply etc. To end on a positive note.
I've had these and generally have an agreement with the rest of the panel that in those situations we will get through as quickly as possible - no follow up questions, etc, but that it's only fair to give them the same opportunity as other candidates - ie the same questions. It also provides an opportunity to redeem themselves, or explain why their experience seems to be at odds with their CV.
Massive sympathy for the poor candidate in this situation but I think I mostly agree with your colleague. Not that completing the interview means they have any chance, but they have already committed a big chunk of their day to the interview including travel time, possibly new clothes, etc. If they are massively unsuitable for the job then I think it's only fair to give them the full interview anyway once they are there, to give them the practice and a feel for the scope of the job if they need to develop their skillset further before their next attempt. Interviewing organisations rarely appreciate how much effort they are demanding for free from the 5 unsuccessful candidates when they choose to interview 6 people for a job.
Our HR dept insist on all candidates in 1st interviews all the same set of set questions (as well as general CV history ones and any follow ups to answers given) so we'd plough on through regardless.
I would have asked a suplimentary question after the rent arrears bit, "our job description stats that rent arrears experience is an essential for this post and you stated in your application / cv that you have x amount of experience. Can you tell me what that involved please?" then leave her to hang herself, but then I'm mean and I'd be really annoyed that this person lied to get an interview, which is essentially what this is.
Our HR would probably say you have to go through the whole interview questions, in case they proved themselves to be invaluable in some other area, but I'm not sure that I would. If you can't do a basic element of the post there's no point in continuing.
I think it would be okay after questions like that where she clearly didn't have the basics, to ask an open question like, "what do you think you can bring to this role?" to give an opportunity to prove your first impressions w
Go through all the questions anyway.
The only exception to this could be if a person lied about essential qualifications in their CV just to get to the interview stage. It would have to be very obvious though and I would still probably go through all the questions anyway, just to be on the safe side. (What if you misunderstood something, etc?)
(Stupid phone) ...wrong - which would be a challenge, but you never know. But then I think it would be okay to say, "I'm sorry, but you clearly don't have the experience we need, so it's best for both of us not to continue." I think it would be best to have some sort of agreed signal, so you know your fellow interviewers agree.
I guess it might also depend on interview practice where you are - if you're expected to go through certain steps, you need to do that. And you need to be sure you are treating them fairly and that your decision to end early isn't because you just don't "take" to them for some reason (unconscious bias or whatever.)
I had one interview with a company, "which went along the lines of, "we see you have experience in X." I pointed out I didn't; I had experience of another product from the same manufacturer, but not that particular one, and while I understood the concepts, I couldn't talk about specific commands or implement it without training.
Didn't bother me, in that I had already decided my finances would need to be in a very precarious state for me to consider working for them, but I was deeply unimpressed with the recruitment consultant for having edited my CV - it did need editing to make them blind, but not to add lies... He would have done better not to have wasted my and the recruiting company's time.
Oh lord! - the recruitment agent has emailed me asking for feedback, saying the candidate is upset.
Now I feel guilty.
I too have had my time of being in her shoes, I still cringe at the memory of a dreadful interview I did when I was a graduate.
So I had better write a kind and constructive feedback.
Agree it's actually much kinder to cut it short and explain why. But it takes bravery and integrity and those are sadly in short supply.
End it quickly and put them out of their misery. But always give constructive feedback.
Why is she upset? She was interviewed for a role she couldn't possible have done, and you gave her the chance to redeem herself...
Ask the Recruitment agency why they imagined she'd be suitable; they're the ones who've actually wasted your time.
I seriously wouldn't allow them to waste any more by their demands to explain yourself to no hoper candidates who should never have got past their supposed screening in the first place.
Your company are employing them!
I think you need to write honest feedback or she'll get in a pickle again. Not harsh! Just 'we were looking for xyz, your cv said abc but at interview that didn't seem to be born out in your answers. It's important to make sure you do think you meet the criteria especially ones marked essential. We decided to do whole interview as your cv implied you were experience/skilled on this area and we wanted to give you the opportunity to demonstrate this. Good luck in future applications.'
I would be very factual and respond that the candidate's CV said they had experience of X, Y and Z. When you asked an open question about X, they said that actually they had never dealt with it. When you asked a question about Y, she didn't understand what you were asking etc. I would also point out that while it was obvious to you that the candidate was not suitable for the role from early on because of her lack of experience of areas clearly outlined on the job description, you had actually continued with the interview to give her the best chance to present herself favourably.
Separately, I would give the agency a bollocking for sending through unsuitable candidates where they have either not drilled down into the candidates CV or they have misrepresented the job to her. Either way, the candidate needs to stop exaggerating on her CV as she will be found out sooner or later.
i once had a interview that had been arranged by a recruitment consultant and within 5 mins of the interview it was apparent that i wasnt suitable for it
i did have experience in the sector concerned but not in the detail that the employer wanted....
the recruitment agency told me it wasnt necessary to know this detail due to my similar experience but the employer did want itt
so wasnt really my fault the job itself was misrepresented to me as much as i was misrepresented to the company
also it wouldnt be the first time a recruitment agency has redone a cv for me and reworded in a way it looked like i had more experience than i really did
Possibly some recruiter tried to shove a square peg into a round hole, as they didn't have anyone on their books who was suitable but they decided to give it a whirl anyway. When I was a student I went for an interview organized by a recruitment agency and was astonished to be told that I was "an expert at using Powerpoint". I'd never used it, so I answered truthfully that I hadn't used it, although I was good at teaching myself how to use Office software. I didn't get the job and was furious with the recruiter who told me I was the nearest they had to the requirements.
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