Interviews can be fun. Giving interviews and even taking interviews. I have given interviews for getting jobs. I am also taking interviews for selecting candidates. I have recruited almost 1,000 employees in different companies during last 4 years. Selecting these 1,000 candidates, I must have interviewed minimum 5,000 candidates. Interviewing somebody is also great learning. I interviewed professionals like management, HR, Finance, Engineers and from Executive to COO. In one company I got the opportunity to interview my boss also. Of course, it was an informal chat with the candidate who was called for an interview for CHRO. I gave my inputs to the interviewer.
Every interview taught me the different aspects of each profession. It is not just recommending the person for the position, but looking for the future leader in the candidate.
Once we conducted campus selection process for the company, I along-with my team visited almost 6 management institutes. Before that I trained the panel members on how to assess the candidates during group discussions, how to conduct interviews, etc. We conducted group discussion rounds and interviews for almost 500 students. Unfortunately we got only 14 management students from different institutes. The more frustrating thing was the attitude of the students. Few institutes normally train the students how to face such selection processes. Some institutes even don’t bother while admitting students.
Once in one institute, the group was so prepared for group discussion that everything was planned. I broke the group discussion in between and gave the different assignment. I use this technique in different institutes after that. Students were so prepared for group discussion and all of sudden we declared the live assignment like presentation or live case studies for the evaluation. It went difficult for the students. In such incidences students have to perform lively.
In one institute, during group discussion, one student could not speak anything, he said, “Pass”.
Interviews with experienced professionals taught me a lot. The functional knowledge, new aspects of the business, everything.
I also understand when the person who writes many things in his CV, has not necessarily done the things written. There are honest candidates, dishonest candidates. Once I asked to one candidate,”Do you know the circumstances, where the occupier can be sued?”
“I don’t know, but if you hire me, such circumstances will not be there.” He replied.
Some candidate try to take the hold of an interview, diplomatically we have to channelize him towards main points. Some candidate prepared for an interview. Some candidate just come and sees your patience. Evaluating the candidate within 30-45 minutes is difficult. But you can understand the different personalities through their style, language, body language etc. Sometime such clues can also be fake. The experience person can assess the person by understanding such clues.
Sometimes your recruitment coordinator makes mistake and calls the candidate who is very senior for the position. In such situation you need to take care of the situation itself by not giving the wrong impression about your company.
One candidate’s name was Girish Oak. Dr. Girish Oak is the famous Marathi actor. I welcome the candidate by saying, “Oh Girish Oak, name of famous actor.” The candidate replied, “I am more famous than him”.
There are predictable personalities. While interviewing you expect the response and based on the response their behaviour. There are unpredictable personalities and are very difficult to assess. One good thing is you can at least understand who is predictable and who is not. There are spontaneous personalities.
Some candidates bring their egos. Interviewing the journalist was very difficult task for me while working in one Media Company. Journalists interview people. They do not like to be interviewed. One lady who was the editor and Director (?) of one local newspaper in Chembur, Mumbai wanted to be in largest media company. When she sat in front of me, she was not willing to express herself. She was asking me when she can meet the director-editor for further interview. Of course, she was regretted for the position in the organization. I never use the word reject, because who are we to reject somebody? Every individual is unique and suitable in particular job. He can be fit or unfit of the job. You can not reject anybody. You can assess the person for the position for which you are interviewing the person.
Once I was interviewing the person for the position of HR Executive. I asked a candidate if there was anything he did not like to do, expecting an answer related to the different HR functions. After much debate, she answered, "I don't like to speak with my in-laws."
Once I was screening the CVs for the position of HR manager in my earlier company. I saw one CV. It was seen somewhere. When I checked, it was my own CV. Only the name was different.