Monthly Archives: May 2013

Job Interviews are like a First Date

Interview

by Jessica Boutros, Intern at Linkus Group

You are nervous and jittery, feeling as though there’s an entire butterfly conservatory in your stomach as you approach the front desk. You tell the waitress you’re here for your seven o’clock dinner and wait to be seated. You walk to your table, give a firm handshake, smile politely, make small talk, and then your date begins, I mean interview, I mean date.

When you think about it, they’re nearly identical. An interview is like a first date – it can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. A first date can bring you closer to your dream man or woman, just like a great job interview can bring you closer to your dream job. But keep in mind: job interviews and dates are used to establish one thing: fit.

If you have made it past the first qualifying round before an interview, it’s safe to say you’re qualified for the job and the company has an interest in hiring you. A good recruiter is well aware of the fact that there is no perfect candidate, and no perfect answer, so why have an interview? An interview is so much more than answering tricky questions like “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “where do you see yourself in five years?” Interviews are used to determine how well your qualifications and personality fit within an organization. The right candidate gets the job because they’re the right candidate for that organization.

Interviews are also really important for the interviewee. The candidate needs to determine how he or she feels about the work environment, structure, and co-workers.

A good recruiter knows that a candidate’s organizational fit is not determined by their qualifications; it stems from the company’s corporate culture. A Forbes survey found that out of 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within the first 18 months – 89% of the time for attitudinal reasons and only 11% for lack of skills.

Attitudinal reasons, also called “soft skills,” include: lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament. Organizational culture is so important because it drives productivity. Recruiters and HR managers need to ensure they hire people that will contribute to their organizational culture, but the company first needs to understand what their culture is in order to determine how their new hire will fit with their purpose, values, and organizational goals.

A problem arises when companies dont know what their culture is.

Organizational culture and fit is hard to assess because it is intangible. One cannot simply have it or not have it; it’s falls on a spectrum of varying degrees. It takes a recruiter’s keen eye to determine where a candidate is situated on the spectrum. Interview questions and answers can really help recruiters determine a candidate’s organizational fit.

Just like your first date, the answer to “do you like cats or dogs?” isn’t just a laughable icebreaker: you’re really getting to know someone, you’re assessing their personality and your fit. The good looking person sitting across from you at dinner might be perfect on paper: they have a great job, nice sense of style, and come from a great family, but the success of your first date, and entire relationship is going to be determined by how well you fit together. Both you, and your date, need to get to know each other as individuals apart from your credentials to determine where you fit on the spectrum because fit is the real determinant of a successful long-term relationship – both in your personal and your professional life.

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