The Interview That Never Should Have Happened

Whenever I interview someone for a job, I always ask them whether they want to sit in Bernanke’s chair. The only wrong answer is, ‘Who’s Bernanke?’ -Austan Goolsbee

Recently I was sourced and solicited by a recruiter that works for one of the top social media sites in the country about a senior leadership role within their ranks. The email was pretty good and based on that and the name of the company, I thought it would be fun to hear what they had to say. Besides I have friends that work for them in the recruiting and sourcing departments that seem to be happy with working there. I even reached out to them asking if they thought this would be something I would be interested in pursuing. They all overwhelmingly said YES! I was flattered and set decided to set up the meeting. Having traveled as much as I do right now, I had to schedule the interview further out than I wanted. I am a passive candidate, so I don’t need a gig and, frankly, California is not on my list of states I want to live in again unless they come up with an insane amount of money. Have you seen the cost of living in California? I mean come on!

We emailed back and forth a few times to set a date and 30 minutes to chat. I won’t go on the rant of 30 minutes getting to know you interview here but someday; I digress. The world is a peculiar place, and it sometimes seems that unwitting people are put into compromising positions without hesitation by management that is barely a few years older than the ones they anoint. Such was the case of the young lady that wanted to spend 30 minutes with me, you know, the one she reached out for the role. The one who, even though showed no initial interest, a passive candidate was going to take the time to speak with a soliciting sourcer. Good times for sure.

The call was just this side of painful. Although she was a “senior recruiter” the phone call was that of one going through the motions reading from a script. As a side note, be yourself and do not ask silly questions just because someone in compliance tells you to. It belittles you and the candidate, especially if they have been in the business for a while not six months however even then it makes you and the company you represent looked upon unfavorably now and in the future.

Second, make it more conversational and less formal, you are not the decision maker most of the time, and if you reached out to the person based on a social profile then you should already have answers to half the questions you are going to ask. Hell, this is normal if someone applies, you are mostly calling to determine financial fitness and if an out of state candidate would even consider moving to the area. Sure fill in holes etc. but never take yourself so seriously, no one else does.

Lastly, never, ever, make a promise that you cannot keep. I have learned this in the past and still mess this one up occasionally, but I try to keep my word, most of the time. Do what you say you are going to do within the time you said you would do it. If you say I will get back to you within three days, then do so, even with news that you have no news.  Once again, not rocket science.

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I was told that I should hear right back as they were desperate to fill the roles that had been open for quite some time now and frustration was waning. Another quick tip, never make a candidate that is a passive person with a good position believe they are a “what the hell type of candidate”lousy look again. After over a week I finally did hear although it was after I reached out to a few folks to see if this was, indeed, a real role with a no one was interested in my candidacy. I was okay with it as I said, I have friends that work there and if the money was up to snuff it could have been a place where I could have helped them get past the name will sell us and instead train sourcers and recruiters to be better.

I, wanting to make this oddball tribe better have offered up my past; my losses and my wins in posts, over dinners or drinks, and the occasional phone call. The world of recruiting deserves a better place than and a level above indentured servitude or paid endorsement deals on YouTube channels. So, that being said, if you see me at SourceCon and want to chat, about anything other than politics hit me up, I would love that! #truestory

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.

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