Interviews are crucial to the hiring process. It’s where a hiring manager asks things that aren’t in your resume, and tries to know and assess you better. It’s where they figure out if you’re THE best candidate for the team. You know, the room where it happens.
Six years ago, I met a fresh graduate, who was not only an hour late to his scheduled exam, he didn’t give a heads up, and didn’t even have a pen with which to fill out documents. Now he finished his exam earlier than the allotted period of time, and he aced it. Naturally, we had him proceed to the initial behavioral interview. And then he asked to borrow a phone charger. How unprepared was this guy?
The interview began and he answered every interview question with humility, with a tad of anxiety and nervousness (because interviews do that even to the best of us). He had a pretty neat resume, and he asked a lot of questions about the job and the company. He was a good candidate. But someone who arrived earlier, looks more relaxed, and was waiting for the next part of the interview is right outside the room. Suddenly the room felt smaller. Limited. The hiring manager asked him to wait outside the interview room, and sit beside the other applicant.
The Communicative Candidate
We saw through the tinted glass as he initiated a conversation with his competitor. He asked about his new friend’s background, listened to every answer, and even offered advice about the interview and suggested some certifications his friend could take. He made a connection within the 10 short minutes he sat there. Just imagine how he’d work with other people.
Companies tend to prefer a certain way things are done to maintain the balance and culture of the team. But even interviews have its limits. And when you’re faced with one, it’s not a bad idea to get creative. Think outside the box.
In less than two years, that applicant became the team lead. Currently, he’s one of the company’s most valuable data analysts. And he wouldn’t have been, if not for the hiring manager who made a hiring decision by looking outside the interview room.