Monday, February 05, 2007

When Does Your Interview Start?

I've just returned from a whirlwind tour around the country this week in an effort to do just about everything a recruiter is supposed to do. Today is, of course, the day that I get all of my paperwork and expenses in order from said trip. Included in my "administrative catch-up" today is to get a blog entry done. (JT - you reading this? Your emails reminding me that I haven't blogged are not without notice.) :)

So on my trip I was lucky enough to encounter many interesting people. And as happens on any typical trip as a recruiter - we meet those that we'd love to hire, and those that we wish we'd never seen. Today, dear readers - I address those that we wish we'd never seen.

I must wonder if job seekers realize when their job interview actually begins? Do they know that when they're speaking with a recruiter or representative of a company that the 'interview process' has actually already begun?

Last week Joe Blow walked up to me as I was speaking to potential candidates and asked me some questions about a new job title I'm recruiting for. His first mistake - he was interrupting me while I was addressing another job seeker.

Now because the particular title Joe is interested in is within the Customer Service arena, I've taken particular notice of his interpersonal skills displayed thus far.
To follow his interruption, Joe continues to tell me what a great candidate he is for the job and would like to know just how far back the background checks might go and what exactly we are looking for when we conduct them.

When I give Joe the standard response to background check questions and assure him that not everyone is removed from consideration because of something on their record, he continues to pressure me to see how far back the check might go.

"It's a standard background check, sir. I'm really not at liberty to speak in much detail about the amount of time it pulls from your history, but I can assure you that anything received is looked at on a case-by-case basis and you're not simply dismissed."
I tried to then steer the question toward his qualifications and interest in the job at hand.
"You can't legally check too far back, can you?" he asks.

"I'm not aware of a limitation in regard to the length of time that can be addressed" I respond, "but we can talk about any concerns you may have with any thing that does result from the check."

"You don't have a clue, do you?" Joe says. "You don't even know at all, I'll bet."

"I assure you," I reply, "I'm aware of the process and procedures that we use to conduct our background checks."

At this point, Joe has become a bit aggressive and hands me his resume and decides to move into his self-promoting sales pitch of what a wonderful fit he'd be for this customer facing job he's interested in. He says that he knows he's a bit rushed today but that he'll be great for the interview.

I hope he's not waiting by the phone - in my mind, his interview is complete.