Tales from the other side of the interview table

And speaking of recruiting, we HR love to share horror stories about candidates in interviews, but what about the interviewers.  We may be the one asking the questions and holding the candidate’s life in our hands (so some think), but are we without flaws?

I know I’m not.  I haven’t done anything legally or ethically wrong while interviewing, but at times my behaviour (unintentional) has not been role model behaviour.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the things that I have done as an interviewer:

  • Developed a case of the uncontrollable giggles which prevented me from looking at my co-interviewer
  • Forgotten to bring kleenex with me and sniffled my way through half the interview
  • Had my pen run out and tried to inconspicuous gouge my answers into the paper
  • Drawn a complete blank on the candidate’s name when introducing them to the interview panel
  • Brought an earlier version of a questionnaire that did follow everyone elses
  • Forgotten that I had already interviewed the candidate for another position
  • Drank too much coffee and water before the interview and spent most of the meeting mentally willing the fire alarm to ring so I could dash to the bathroom
  • Zoning out in a post-lunch interview
  • And of course clothing malfunction – I had a front-close bra snap during an interview which required me to keep my arms crossed over my chest area – I probably looked like such a nasty HR person

None of these are horrible, I know, but they aren’t professional and not cool.  In almost all cases, I learned my lesson and haven’t made the same mistake again, but I realize there is a vast number of other ways I can screw up.

So what about you?

Please don’t make me feel like I’m the only one who has messed up in interviews…


2 thoughts on “Tales from the other side of the interview table

  1. One time I doodled on paper when a candidate spoke for 24 minutes straight after asking him the introductory question. I never asked him another question and told him “Thank You” and had him leave the interview. He “just” missed getting the job.

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