1. Interviewing – First Love
“Not surprisingly, interview specialists have found it extraordinarily difficult to persuade most employers to adopt the structured interview. It just doesn’t feel right. For most of us, hiring someone is essentially a romantic process, in which the job interview functions as a desexualized version of a date. We are looking for someone with whom we have certain chemistry, even if the coupling that results ends in tears and the pursuer and the pursued turn out to have nothing in common. We want the unlimited promise of a love affair. The structured interview, by contrast, seems to offer only the dry logic and practicality of an arranged marriage. “ – Malcolm Gladwell (‘The New-Boy Network’)
2. Interviewing – First Contact
Log on to the internet and google “interview” and “first impressions” and you will come up with over a million matches. The vast, vast, vast majority of the results are practically identical. To save time I’ll précis this information for you;
“Turn up at the right address, on time. Wear clothes. Don’t be late. Bring a firm handshake. Don’t kill any of the interviewers and smile.”
Paradoxically when interviewers are being trained there is almost as much advice telling them to ignore first impressions. It goes by a range of names; self-fulfilling prophecy, stereotyping, horns and halo effect (of which more later), interview-enhancing behaviour, etc. yet they all amount to more or less the same thing. This is the basic advice that has been handed down by interviewer trainer to interview consultant to interviewing facilitator from generation to generation and pretty much consists of the following;
Research indicates that interviewers decide which interviewee will get the job within the first X minutes and then spend the rest of the interview confirming their initial analysis; i.e. if they like the candidate they ask easy questions and treat the responses more favourably. Or, if they take a dislike to the candidate they will ask difficult questions and look less favourably on their answers. As interviewers you must fight against this, and remain totally objective.
(The value of X is any possible single integer – depending on age, laziness, of trainer.)