Friday, May 22, 2015

Actions Speak Loudest in Job Interviews and in Life

by Dan Miller

What you don't say tells a lot about you.

We are seeing an increasing creativity in interviewing today - on both sides. Many interviewers have a favorite question: "Why are manhole covers round? "How many barbers are there in Chicago?" "If you could be an animal, what would it be?" Some interviewers are big on non-verbal clues as we are told that 55% of communication is non-verbal.

J.C. Penney was infamous for taking potential hires out to breakfast. If that person put salt and pepper on their food before tasting it, the interview was over. Mr. Penney believed that this was a person who made decisions before having all the evidence. Jeff O'Dell of August Technology often asks candidates out to lunch - and suggests that they drive. "How organized someone's car is provides an amazing indicator of how organized the rest of their life is," he says. O'Dell believes that the best job candidates not only will have clean cars - "no Slim-Fast cans or tennis balls rolling around in the backseat" - but will also excel at the casual conversation in a restaurant. "It's a way to learn the personal side of things - whether or not they have a family, do they smoke, etc." - that doesn't come out in the formal interview.

"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7: 20 (NIV)

I also often ask to meet a client for lunch. In watching how they interact with others, how they treat the waitress, and how they attempt to pick up or avoid the check, I learn a lot about that person. Someone who belittles the waiter behind his back is likely to do the same on the job.

Dave Hall doesn't mind making employee candidates a little more nervous than they already are. Hall, a principal at Search Connection, likes to place want ads that list his company's name but not its phone number; he wants only candidates who'll bother to look up the number. When he's not entirely sure about candidates after their interviews, he instructs them to call him to follow up - and then doesn't return their first three calls. He says he's looking for employees who'll persist through a million no-thank-yous in making recruiting calls.

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