Interview from hell!


I want to break down an interview I sent a talented candidate on; the events that played out were completely avoidable. This was a new client, an agency of record for a couple of major brands. This would be the first candidate I sent to interview with this well-known agency. I was very confident that this was a match made in heaven for my client and candidate – until the day of the interview.

I asked my candidate to call me when the interview was over. I see on my caller ID it’s him and, confident that I will be getting feedback from a positive meeting, I asked how it went.  Well, there was air over the phone and I knew from that point on, everything was going downhill from there. He proceeds to break down his interview, where he was scheduled to meet with three senior-level management people, and tells me:

"Well Collin, the first thing I did not care for was the hour long wait in the lobby. The receptionist did not even ask me if I would like coffee or water, nor apologized for the wait." (First impressions are lasting.)

“I finally get to the first interview and he seemed frazzled from the meeting he just came from.  He proceeds to tell me he did not have my resume, nor has he had time to look it over. He muddles through our interview, interrupts to take a call, and then cuts things short to make an important meeting." (Nice.)

I said, "Ok, how did the next person you met with go?"

"He was a no show – was stuck off site. His assistant walked me to the other side of the building for my last interview, and as I was walking past the cubicles, there seemed to be a negative vibe."

“I finally arrived to my last interview and the questions she asked did not relate to what I was interviewing for. On top of that, she seemed to be more interested in the sound of her own voice and accomplishments. The icing on the cake was the comment she made to me towards the end of the interview. She said, ‘ we needed you yesterday. We all are working late and my client is not happy with us at the moment.’ "  (Wow.)                                                                                                                                                                                                      

"I’m going to pass on this company Collin. I was really excited about the opportunity and heard great things from colleagues. But it is very clear that at the moment, the company is going through some issues that I just as soon avoid. I’m going to stay where I am."

This company is fundamentally sound and has great clients, yet has not taken an interest in how they represent themselves in the interview process. Companies need to take just as much of an interest in what is going on internally, as they do externally with their clients. Focusing on your company brand is critical to recruiting and retaining top talent. 

Here are a few suggestions to ensure your interview process is successful:

  • Set the tone that interviews are a priority.
  • Make sure your administrator clears the interviewer’s schedule so they will have appropriate time to spend with the candidate, along with no interruptions.
  • Develop internal training on how to effectively interview candidates.
  • After each interview, assess how the experience went for the candidate.

Note: Top talent will always be in high demand – whether we are in a good or bad economy.

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