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Recruiter: Interviews Are A Waste Of Time


Here’s a post by a recruiter (or human capital strategist, if you prefer) who seems a little disillusioned by the hiring managers to whom he’s sent potential candidates, as he dedicates nearly a thousand words to how much of a waste of time the interview is.

Interviews, Kevin Wheeler writes, “satisfy a human need for power and control. An interviewer has power to recommend for a job or not. Sometimes an interviewer has the power to actually make the hiring decision, and by holding a person’s economic future and career success in your hands, you can feel very powerful….I often ask recruiters to think about what would happen if they selected two candidates for a job who each had the same qualifications and who had known the questions that were going to be asked and had prepared the same answers. If another recruiter interviewed them, would they both receive the same score on the interview, as they should?”

And that’s where Wheeler goes wrong, we think. An interview isn’t a test, and there’s no mandate that two candidates with the same answers “should” perform the same in an interview. If all you had to do was get the “right” answers, people would be hired solely on the basis of a multiple-choice quiz.

An interview is a way to establish rapport with the hiring manager, to show that you’re a decent, well-adjusted human being who won’t drive your new coworkers crazy by leaving toenail clippings at their desks or whatever. It’s not just about raw ability, and that’s why interviews aren’t a waste of time.

Wheeler does say, however, that there are some other methods hiring managers can use to evaluate candidates. (He recommends using them instead, but we wouldn’t be surprised if many hiring managers used them in conjunction.) They’re the usual things: asking the candidate to do something related to the job, taking them on for a tryout, giving them an internship (paid we hope), or giving a test.

“If the interviews are used to establish a human connection, market the organization or position to the candidate, and are not the primary source of gathering the information to make a decision, I have no issue with them. When they are used as a selection tool — and particularly when we are proud of them as a selection tool — I get concerned,” he says.

Recruiters: chime in. Are interviews a waste of time? Jobseekers, you’ve surely been on some interviews that were a waste of time, but is the entire concept broken?

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