Why interviews are important to HR

We have a new HR grad working with our group on a contract.  She is awesome.

She is awesome because she is still really keen on doing good HR.  She is awesome because she asks a million questions.  And she is awesome because her filter isn’t fully formed, so she says some pretty memorable things.

She is similar enough to my daughter than I feel comfortable around her, but not enough that I want to start lecturing her.

As with many new grads that I encounter – I am only too happy to have my brain picked about HR, about jobs, about careers, about life.  I enjoy sharing what I know and asking them questions that will make them think about their own lives.

When it comes to HR, I’m a big believer in getting as much experience on the other side of the desk.  Nothing will help develop your brand of HR faster than experiencing it as a candidate or employee.  You will go through things that will stay in your head and you will not forget them when it comes times to be on the other side of the desk.

This is especially true for the whole recruitment process.  The young woman I’m working with is actively looking for work and has been going to interviews.  We typically debrief afterwards and there are usually two streams of thoughts: 1) about how she did and whether she thinks she will like it there and 2) how they did and based on that whether it’s the right place for her.

She is learning so much about how to treat candidates by being one.  So far, she has realized:

  • What it’s like to be left waiting past your scheduled interview time
  • What’s it like to be speed interviewed
  • How much the physical workplace can influence your impression of the company
  • How disconcerting it is to have an interviewer not have questions in front of them or make any kind of notes
  • How big a deal fit is
  • How not hearing anything is the worst
  • How having a disorganized process, where the various interviewers don’t appear to have any clue what the others are doing can make you feel lost
  • How utterly frustrating it is to hear no and not get any kind of feedback

Like a kid that vows that they “will never yell at their kids” when they are parents – she is starting to form her commitment to what kind of HR she is going to provide.

Of course this isn’t realistic, I mean we all slip – workloads increase, resources are decreased, pressure is applied… it’s hard to maintain perfect service 100% of the time.  However, the experiences that we go through and the knowledge we develop can become empathy.  And empathy is the lifeblood of good HR.

So while it’s a great idea to go to a lot interviews to practice your presentation skills,  hone your answers, and ultimately find a job.  It’s just as important to go to these so that you learn and remember what it’s like to be a candidate.

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