For those looking to inject a bit of spice into 2015′s recruitment programme, and courtesy of financial news website, Hereisthecity.com [link], we present “The nine rudest things that interviewers do to job seekers”.
This is on closer review a rather limp selection, not close to the sort of ritual humiliation seen http://www.employmentlawworldview.com/napoleon-walks-hr-tightrope-in-uk-call-centre/ or the breathtakingly inept “Are you pregnant or just fat?” deployed by one of my clients many years ago. In this list, we see instead keeping people waiting, reading the CV only in the interview itself, not offering tea or coffee, checking your watch and/or your emails, not turning up or sending a (clearly) more junior stand-in, and not listening. All too ordinary, but most often merely a function of one or both of two problems on the interviewer’s part, being predetermination and/or indifference.
Predetermination can strike at any stage in the interview process. According to an old survey I could not possibly now find, 9% of all job interviews are decided at the point where you shake hands with the candidate in Reception. Technically, the safest thing to do might be to bundle him or her back into the lift immediately, but since that is hardly “employer-of-choice” stuff, we tend instead to bat on with the interview. Or rather, the body bats on with the interview, but abandoned by the brain which, having made its decision already, moves onto other things. In the circumstances, an element of slipshod practice is perhaps inevitable.
Indifference is something else – where the interviewer either does not want to be there at all and/or considers all the candidates to be substantially indistinguishable and so frankly does not care which one gets the role so long as it is done and off his desk quickly. This is much worse, because at least the victim of predetermination knows why he wants the one he does (or does not want the ones he does not) and could ultimately explain what is hopefully his non-discriminatory thought process if the need arose. Those who are indifferent, on the other hand, are creating vacuums in their reasoning which an Employment Tribunal may be not just entitled but actively obliged to fill with a discriminatory motive if the rejection is challenged.
The Acas Guidance on Recruitment and Induction [link] does not mention any of these, suggesting instead that you show the candidate “the cloakroom facilities” (only should he arrive in a cloak, presumably) and avoid the trap, even if nervous, of droning endlessly on about yourself while the candidate waits patiently to see if you intend to involve him in the process in any way (not Acas’ exact words, you understand, but you get the idea). “The candidate should do most of the talking“, says the Guidance firmly.
Not having time to read the candidate’s CV in advance has happened to us all, as probably has looking at your watch (not least in order to avoid keeping someone else waiting). I don’t suppose a failure to offer tea or coffee is really make-or-break either, and if you are happy to entrust the decision to a junior and send suitable apologies, nor that either. Poor practice, but sometimes other pressures mean you have no option.
By a mile, however, the worst thing for the employer to do from Hereisthecity’s list is not taking notes of the interview. Perhaps not the rudest but easily the most foolish, since it both makes clear that you were not interested in the candidate’s answers and denies you any material with which to defend your rejection decision before an unsympathetic Tribunal many months down the line. Remember that you can be as rude, indifferent, oafish or boring as you want in your recruitment interviews, and we have probably all interviewed people who tempt us sorely towards such behaviours. However, if you do not have decent notes, then all those unattractive behaviours will be weighed together with your inability to recall in the Tribunal who the candidate was or why you rejected him, and then 2015 may not be the Happy New Year you were hoping for.