Humorous stories and some lessons for your job interview

funny job interview stories

You and him went through some rough experiences together.  He was there for you when Fluffy died.  You also shared some great times, like that week you two spent in Mexico.  But he dumped you and is dating your best friend.  How could he?  How could she?

You can be forgiven for being distracted and upset.  Anyone can empathize with you, so do not take that blank stare you are getting as insensitivity.  You see, the person across the table just met you and was expecting to interview you for a job and not an episode of Dr. Phil.

Such tales happen often enough that most seasoned Human Resources personnel have a few stories to tell of people who end up saying or doing some inappropriate things that cost them a job.  I’m sure that HR folks in the lion city, have witnessed their share of job interview blunders as well. There is the person interviewing for the receptionist position who would rather not change toner due the risk of getting a stain or who has to move around a lot because of a bad back.  What DID you think was involved in the job again?

Unless you have sat through an interview like this you have no idea how much mental energy it takes to prevent yourself from rolling your eyes, yawning, or looking at your watch too often.  Luckily you have a job so you will not be penalized for such indifferent behavior, but you wonder what the other person is thinking.

People who are not used to being brought to account for their actions are more likely to say inappropriate things in a job interview.  They fail to see that an interview is one of the most structured interpersonal actions one will ever engage in and that it is important to be goal oriented in your answers, questions and overall demeanor.  There is nothing wrong with being honest, they feel.

Actually, there is.  There are only two goals of the interview.  Your goal is to get a job offer.  Their goal is to determine if you are worth hiring.  Anything you say that does not advance your goal is a wasted opportunity.  The best interview candidates realize and practice something called selective honesty.

Selective honesty is used by people who have a detailed, regimented approach to a job interview.  These people take a very close look at the job description and get to know as much about the position as they can.  Their best assets that match the most crucial aspects of the job become their speaking goals, their “must say” talking points.  Realizing that every question is “Why should I hire you”, they only say information that increases the probability of them getting hired.

This level of preparation includes appropriate dress.  A hiring manager for a bank located in a conservative religious community told a story about a young woman who came in for an interview wearing revealing and very inappropriate clothing.  Furthermore, during the interview her phone rang and before she answered said it might be Billboard Magazine calling about an internship that she was dying to get.  Unfortunately it was only a friend, so the candidate proceeded to finish her answer about why she wanted to work there by saying she needed a few weeks worth of work in order to save up gas money for the cross country ride to Billboard Magazine.

Details matter.  One person interviewing on a rainy day came impeccably dressed, save for the rubber boots that ruined the effect.  Other frequent missteps involve excessive use of makeup and fragrances.  Jewelry and piercings other than the most conventional ones should be removed or minimized.  One Employment Counselor remembered a client who showed up to an interview for a restaurant server’s position sporting a new tongue ring that she was quite proud of.  When she was told it would be better off removed, she took out a set of pliers and asked him for help.

That is what many people in the industry joke is one of the “other duties as assigned” that companies put in their job descriptions.  In case you are wondering, she got the job.

I hope you found the pointers useful (and entertaining) and will apply them towards your next job interview.

Tips for successful employee selection and hiring

employee selection hiring singapore

Anyone who has worked with an unsuitable co-worker probably has at minimum a general idea that they can cost a company in terms of lower output, increased training and assessment time, and impacted morale.  Replacing them is even worse as people have to cover for that missing employee in addition to completing their normal duties.  A couple of bad experiences can make people wary of the entire process.

How much does a bad hire cost a company?  Depending on your country of operation it can cost you US $65,000 or more.  A few such cases in a short period of time can have a significant impact on the corporate balance sheet.

So how can a company minimize the chances of hiring an unsuitable employee?  The first thing is to not stretch out the employee selection and hiring process.  A natural reaction is to increase the level of screening, research, and testing in order to weed out the undesirables.

The problem with that is while you are doing your due diligence, your prime candidates are interviewing elsewhere and getting hired there.  What does that leave you with?  You guessed it, a higher probability of hiring another unsuitable candidate, while your best fit is settling in at your competitor telling office partners how non-committal you are.

So where do you start to improve your hiring process?  Begin with your communications strategy, in particular your online presence.  Is your website user friendly?  Is it easy to navigate so prospective employees can quickly find everything they want to know about you?

Think like a job seeker and ask what information you  wanted to know before you were hired at your current employer.  Of course salary is an important consideration, but do you describe ongoing education and cross training opportunities?  Is your workplace providing opportunities for your co-workers to engage each other?  Many people indicate that a positive work environment is a strong factor in deciding where they wish to work.

Do you have a social media presence?  Is your corporate Facebook page regularly updated with success stories and significant corporate achievements?  Are your employee contributions in the community recognized? Tweets and Facebook posts about vacancies are easily forwarded and are the way much of the world now communicates, so if you are not doing it, or are doing it poorly, you are not reaching everyone.

How responsive is your web page?  A website that takes too long to load, especially on mobile devices, is annoying and says you are not current.

Some companies struggle with their communications strategy.  How else can you tell people how great this company is and how your employees are happy and content?  While you are improving your communications strategy, look to your employees to be your best ambassadors.  We associate with people like us so existing staff are likely to bring people with similar qualities into the organization.

Put another way, will a good employee risk their status in the company by recommending someone likely to be a lazy malcontent?  Probably not.  The best employees should also have a solid grasp on what it takes to truly succeed in the position more than a human resources person writing a generic description who might not even be in the same location.  Some companies offer a bonus payment system to reward people who bring successful hires into the organization.

There is another way successful employees can help your organization.  Study how they came to be hired.  Many companies in the digital age are surprised to learn how many people heard about an opening via social media.  Pinpoint where each staff member heard about you and concentrate your efforts on the most popular methods.  Successful politicians do this all the time.  They determine which pockets of their constituency exhibit the highest levels of support and they concentrate much of their efforts there during election campaigns.  Conversely they virtually ignore the areas where they stand little chance.

You may find out those big expensive newspaper ads provide little benefit to you.  While you may get some qualified applicants, how much time do you waste sorting through clearly unqualified applicants?  There are software packages that help you keep track of where your hires are coming from and assist with recruitment.

Many human resource directors share how important it is to be proactive in their recruitment of staff.  A lack of communication between departments often results in a situation where one area is planning a firing or expansion that the human resources staff are unaware of.  Like any good HR department, they are constantly on the lookout for good candidates by monitoring social media, appearing at schools and trade fairs, and networking.  On occasion they have to tell an eager candidate there is no opening when actually there is.  They contact that person only to find out they got a job somewhere else.

There are also a few steps you can easily implement in your interview process that help you hire better employees.  Do you match the interview questions with the actual job you are hiring for?  Some people do not do this.  The end result is they generate a large amount of information that has no practical application in the hiring process.  Work with your top employees to develop a series of situational based questions that describe common scenarios seen in that role.  You end up with accurate questions and in many cases help the staff involved feel more emotional ownership of the company, which increases self esteem and productivity.

Companies are also increasing the amount of testing they do during the hiring process.  In addition to psychometric tests, candidates have to complete tasks using common software programs in use at the company or have to write reports that can be graded for depth of knowledge.