Monday, October 13, 2008

Are You Right For The Job?

It's been a long time since I blogged. I guess I am going through a writer's block...but the problem is I am not a writer...do I still qualify? To top this, I have been busy interviewing people for a new company I am starting. So I thought just to break the ice, let me tell you about a couple of things that bothered me.
I am totally in for a casual friendly atmosphere at work and I conduct interviews in a similar manner - over a cup of coffee.Having said that, is it right for the candidates to be over friendly?
Like there was this one guy who came
1.5 hours late (after me checking with him 3 times), wearing casual clothes (shirt out). He kept laughing and showing a very casual attitude. Thankfully his work was good and so was the CV. But then again, was it a good idea to come late for an interview? (Note: the guy needs a job immediately as he is getting married in 2 weeks time and currently does not have a job). And was it a good idea to not inform me of the same?
Then there was this other guy who reconfirmed his attendance for the interview but never turned up! H says that's how people are over here - too casual and not bothered. But well this bothers me.

Once my fil told me that when he conducted interviews he would make sure he asked the guy to write something (to check he was carrying a pen) and to tell him the time (to ensure he was wearing a watch). According to him anyone who is serious about their work, would always carry a pen and wear a watch. I cannot agree with him more.

Other small things that matter in an interview or for that matter any meeting, are the courtesy to call an hour before the meeting to reconfirm, call and inform if you are running late (even if it is by 10 mins) and ask relevant questions. Relevant questions reminds me, there was another guy who got so friendly that when I told him we are hiring a team, he started telling me about his friends back home whom I should consider as well! I mean I appreciate the help and wouldn't mind checking them out, but hello isn't this a wrong time to promote your friend when you yourself haven't secured a job?

Sometimes I feel I should get more strict and ask the usual questions like "where do you see yourself in 5 years time", "what is your strength/weakness" - but then I believe these are predictable questions which we are taught to answer right from college! I remember in MBA we we wrote our CVs, went for mock interviews and got plenty of phrases which you can use to your advantage. Like "My weakness is that I am detail oriented" or "My weakness is that I cannot leave something unfinished. No matter how late it gets, I like to finish my work. So my colleagues get angry with me since they also have to stay back" (this was one answer I got from a candidate).

Another candidate had already ordered a drink for herself even before I reached the venue. Even though she had already paid for it, she was still meeting me for an interview. Is there any difference between a meeting and an interview? Is an interview more formal than a business meeting? Am I confusing the candidates by calling them to a cafe instead of my office for an interview? What is your opinion?
Picture Source

12 You Spoke:

Mampi said...

Well, however casual the atmosphere may be, whether the interviewer calls you at the office or a cafe, an interview is an interview. The dignity and the seriousness must remain. After all, why are you meeting the interviewer... to sell yourself. That always is a process that entails some concern for the buyer.

Renu said...

Its ok to be friendly with th candidates,but I dont think its right for the candidtaes to be over friendly or casual or late.Today I see that pople who are sincere and diligent are more needed and succesful than the people who are good but casual about their work.
Anyone who doesnt know the value of time or value of propriety is not worth it whatever his CV might say.

Reflections said...

Hehe...guess wht!!! I'm in the same boat...I've also been conducting interviews for somebody to replace me coz i'm quitting my job by the end of next month.
I've also encountered almost the same problems tho I conducted the interviews at office.
sorry have to go. work beckons:-)
will come back & comment more

Abraham Menacherry said...

I have read a lot about how to attend an interview, but this is one of the rare times when I have read about the other perspective.

Yes, coming late for an interview sucks! in fact not being on time for anything or keeping somebody waiting for you (whatever matter it is) is really bad.

DeeplyDip said...

@mampi: I agree...a professional attitude with honesty towards your work will always earn respect and appreciation not only from the employer but the colleagues as well...

@renu: true. like this one guy who I liked -if only he came on time or at least informed me of being late, I would have hired him. But now I am doubtful because if this is his attitude, it will carry on at work as well which ultimately will bring stress and unprofessionalism at work...

@reflections: Acchaa? would like to hear more about your experiences. I'm sure there are many such people in Dubai. In fact the situation is worsened when they ar eon a visit visa and looking for work - they are always fighting against time and ready to grab any job they get. This is a problem as well. Like I met an engineer who was willing to be an office administrator! My guess is she would grab this job and then move on as soon as she gets another opportunity...

@abraham: I agree...coming late for Any meeting is bad - it's like telling the other person you don't care about their time.
That's my point here - we are taught so much in schools, college etc on how to answer the questions, how to grab a job - what they forget is that while you are selling yourself, you should also be sure of your deliverables. And that soft skills matter as well. A well rehearsed line is the last thing a recruiter wants to hear. The foremost attraction for any employer would be to judge the sincerity towards work, loyalty and commnication skills of a person...

Reflections said...

Yeah I advertised for admin asst. & I got 523 Cv's.....I even got CV's from enginneers'(like u mentioned) & chefs':-o.
around 3/4th of them were freshers & almost all(like 95%) asked for 4,500 as starting sal...believe me when I say most of them cdnt even speak English properly.
To say I was surprised is an understatement:-(
What post did u advertise for????

DeeplyDip said...

@reflections: 523 CVs! where did you advertise? As for me since its a new company I needed multiple posts to be filled - admin being one of them. I didn't interview any freshers but I totally believe you. I have faced this prob in India as well - sometimes its a shot in the dark for them - agar mil gaya to bahut acchaa nahi to negotiate kar lengey! ;)

Reflections said...

I advertised in Gulf News Classifieds....we didnt need any gr8 qualifications just somebody who had good communication skills & was enthusiastic abt work. We are prepared to train the person. Baring a handful, all the rest who came to the interview were lousy.

Aaah well...I recognise my own worth now:-D.

my space said...

hmmm nalayako ki kami nahi is sansaar mein..how can they be so insolent,,if u need a job u better be prepare and be on time..

Iya said...

Here is my 2 cents:
1. Turning up late is not justified, no matter what the reason is. Courtesy says call and inform. So on this one I am totally with u.
2. As for the causal attitude in terms of laughing or ordering a drink - it’s a 2 edge sword. Since u urself are being casual, u shouldn’t expect the other party to behave in a total up tight fashion.

DeeplyDip said...

@Iya: true if it is a casual meeting then I do not expect the person to be up tight...and I certainly have no problem on them laughing...i like people who smile often...but as for ordering beforehand feels funny coz even with friends we usually wait for them to arrive before ordering anything...it's just another courtesy people follow. But well this was a trivial matter in front of the other factors like reaching on time etc...

Indian Home Maker said...

Being late - An absolute no,no.
Ordering drink for self, being casually dressed - depends.

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