Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Worst Interview Mistake I've Witnessed

This week I'm beginning two regular features – "Mistake I Made" and "Mistake I Witnessed." I'll rate each mistake on a scale from "Career Implosion" to "Miraculously Got the Job." If you have any you'd like to share, I'll post the best ones.

Mistake I Witnessed // Post 1

Me: "If I were to talk to your best friend, what is the worst thing she would say about you?"

Finalist for Job: "That I can get out of control. One time, while at a bar, I was so drunk I tried to pick up an entire group of baseball players ..."

And she continued her story. And wouldn't stop. Oh God, she wouldn't stop.

Sadly, it got worse. Since this was a final interview, my boss was sitting in the interview as well. He tried to stop her (my ability to speak had been taken from me by her answer) and she talked over him to finish her story.

Every question, no matter how innocuous-sounding is about getting the measure of you as a person or employee. Never ... ever ... ever forget you are being interviewed. We try to put you at ease, make you comfortable, forget you are being interviewed, so we can get to know the real you. The finalist viewed us as buddies and let her guard down. Bad move. Last I heard, this talented designer was working in fast food.

Mistake Scale: Thank You, Please Drive Through


Mike Brown said...

Kevin -

This is a valuable feature for job seekers.

I once interviewed an internal candidate who talked for 15 minutes at the start of the interview before I'd even asked a question. I purposely decided to provide no verbal or visual affirmation and just see how long he'd go.

1) The interviewer is running the show. Follow the interviewers lead.
2) It's good to have an elevator speech, but no elevator ride that you'd remember positively lasts 15 minutes.


Anonymous said...

My favorite interview story:

Me: What would you say is your strongest skill administratively?

Candidate: Ummmm.... Strongest skill?

Me: Okay, what would you say is your weakest skill?

Candidate: Follow through.

Me: Pardon?

Candidate: Definitely follow through.

Me: (thinking she can't possibly mean follow through) What do you mean by that?

Candidate: Well if you were to give me something to do, I would struggle getting it completed and back to you on time.

Me: Oh. You really do mean follow through. Well, it was very nice meeting you and I wish you the best of luck in your job search.