3 Interview Mistakes No Company Should Make

Quick note: As you’ll see if you note the date of the “What Sam Wore” at the bottom of the post, I wrote this back in March. I held off posting, though, because I was worried it might be too sour-grapes, fresh off the interview process, but more than half a year later, I feel like it’s still worth a publish

Before I jumped in to the job market last year, I read a lot about preparedness and protocol. Did you know that using Times New Roman on your résumé is “the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview?” Have you considered how you’d answer the newest brain-busting interview questions? Bullet points! Elevator speeches! The right interview outfits! I clicked through way too many stories and slideshows about how to impress recruiters.

After a few early interviews, though, I reframed my mindset to include this incredibly important component: What were these recruiters doing to impress me? I’m great at what I do; my skills are stellar, impressive and wide-ranging. Most companies would be lucky to have me on board. If I’m bringing this much to the table, the company’s recruiters and interviewers should, too.

Job hunting and dating have a lot in common: You’re dressed up, maybe a little nervous, trying to make a great impression on someone. In dating, each person’s opinion of the relationship is equally significant and either one has the power to call something off. Well-qualified candidates treat job hunting the same way. (After all, my goal wasn’t to land any old job in my field, but to land a better one than I had.)

People tell their friends and families about what happened on their bad dates, and stories about bad workplace experiences get out, too, via sites like Glassdoor as well as through word of mouth. In each of my more atrocious job-hunting ordeals, the recruiter or interviewer had done something that would’ve been a surefire dating deal-breaker.

shut-it-down-dealbreaker

Let’s get specific, with three real-life examples of why I decided companies weren’t good workplaces:

1. He wouldn’t get off his cellphone.

“Sorry, I need to get this,” the interviewer said. “It’s my home number, so it might be my daughter, who’s home from school sick.” But it wasn’t an emergency call from his daughter; it was his wife, and they talked for about four minutes about things like how she couldn’t find certain foods in the refrigerator. My time is more important than that.

2. She flaked out—more than once, and early on.

“Sorry, a lot of times email gets lost in my inbox!” Apologetic, sure, but also ominous, considering it was the first thing the recruiter said. Later she asked for documents I’d already delivered, and never managed to send the confirmation I asked for when I sent them again. I did get invited for a day’s worth of interviews … and afterward she “forgot” to call and tell me they went with someone else. When you add it up, that’s not disorganization, it’s disrespect.

3. They ghosted me.

Even ruder, though, was never hearing back ever again. After successful local interviews, I met an East Coast executive who mentioned that the position was in flux, with duties still being defined. “Not a problem,” I told him. “Let’s discuss my qualifications while I’m here, and then I’ll check in with the Arizona office in a few weeks to see if any progress has been made.” I never got a reply from any email or voicemail from then on. Maybe the company decided not to create the position but didn’t want to acknowledge that. Maybe they created the job but hired a different candidate. I deserve the courtesy of a reply, even if it’s bad news. I’m a grown-up who can handle it.

WHAT SAM WORE: 3/21/16
shirt0320 shorts0320 shoes073011
The shirt: Glacier National Park T-shirt, from Old Navy
The shorts: Cotton shorts by The Fresh Brand, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Leather trainers by Diesel, from Last Chance.
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