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Say Anything

 

I've hired somewhere north of 100 people throughout my life. The interviewing process is something I like doing. It's always interesting to see a person's reaction to questions. I like calling references in advance of the interview, and not after. It makes me a more informed interviewer.

The interviewee wants the job, or they would be not applying for it (unless they're milking unemployment benefits - I've met a few of those). A job means a paycheck, which is something they don't have, so it's in their financial best interest to clinch the work.

I also know of people who have multiple résumés, to showcase different aspects of themselves. That can be perfectly fine, but a few have twisted it. In the interview, they'll say anything. About three / four years ago, I interviewed a woman for a position. She was coming in to be a web developer. She was amazing, she told me. She knew a web development tool, but I explained that I needed someone who could get into the nuts and bolts of it. "Do you code well enough to write it without the tool?" Oh sure, she said. Might need a book nearby as a guide once in a while, but who doesn't?

So imagine her surprise (and consternation) when I produced a piece of paper and a pencil and asked her to write a bit of code by hand to perform a certain task. And after fumbling through it for 30 seconds, she began to question why this was even necessary. "Nobody writes code by hand. Everybody uses some sort of tool. This is pointless." I began to explain to her why it was necessary, and she kept interrupting me. She was flexibly trying to find an answer to suit me. And when that didn't work, to convince me that I was wrong in my request.

(I did end up finding and hiring two great candidates and hired them both.)

We look down on people who will say anything to get the job. Don't you? I mean, why would you hire that person?

The point of every job interview is not to land the job, but to find a fit. Every person will do a certain job differently, but the job has to be satisfying to the person filling it, and the employer has to get what they thought they were getting. I personally think that employers do a disservice when they post a job description and leave off the expectations. It's a disservice to both the employer and the interviewee. Somehow, qualifications are discussed up front (good) but expectations come later, for some reason. Maybe that because it's not always known what's expectated to be accomplished in the role...

Anyway, I'm watching Obama do flip-flop after flip-flop in his campaign. Some people have no problem with this. He's doing what he needs to do to get elected, they reason. That's a good thing, they tell themselves.

Why exactly is it a good thing to fill the most important job in the country with someone slippery like that?

 


by Brett Rogers, 7/5/2008 10:39:03 AM
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