37
SORRY, YOURE NOT READY TO START INTERVIEWING
37
CHAPTER TWO
SORRY, YOURE NOT READY
TO
START INTERVIEWING
N
ow that you have a group of first-tier applicants and a
backup group of second-tier candidates, it seems like
it’s time to take action—to call all the top people and
ask them to swing by for an in-person interview. Right?
Wrong!
Before you make those calls, you should have a clear un-
derstanding of the dominant interviewing styles, the pros and
cons of each, what kind of preparatory work precedes an ef-
fective contact with a prospective employee, and what basic
interview strategies there are to choose from. In this chapter,
you’ll learn about all these areas.
Your dominant interviewing style
Odds are that you are already inclined to one of three
predominant interviewing styles: the “Telephone Screener,”
the “Human Screen,” or the “Manager”—thanks to a combi-
nation of personal temperament and (you guessed it) your
role in the organization and your daily workload.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE
38
Review the following profiles closely. I believe you’ll find
that you already instinctively favor one of these three ap-
proaches over the other two.
The “Telephone Screener”
As we’ll see a little later in this chapter, telephone screen-
ing is an effective tactic used by many interviewers in all three
categories. People in this first group, however, rely on the
strategy as a primary means of exploring employment possi-
bilities. For many of these interviewers, the in-person inter-
view is little more than an opportunity to confirm what they
feel they’ve already learned on the phone.
Interviewers who typically fall into this category are en-
trepreneurs, CEOs, high-level executives, and others short on
time and long on vision. Their guiding philosophy could be
summed up as: “My time is at a premium, I have a personnel
problem to solve, and I don’t plan to waste my valuable time
talking in person to anybody but the very best.”
The Telephone Screener is often the dominant interviewer
at small- to mid-sized companies where no formal human re-
sources (or personnel) department exists or where such a de-
partment has only recently been created. The primary objective
of the Telephone Screener is to identify reasons to remove the
candidate from active consideration before scheduling an in-
person meeting.
Among the common reasons for abrupt removal from the
Telephone Screener’s short list: evidence that there’s a dis-
parity between the resume and the person’s actual experience;
poor verbal communication skills; lack of required technical
skills.
39
SORRY, YOURE NOT READY TO START INTERVIEWING
The “pros” of this style
These interviewers are focused, efficient, and direct. Their
no-nonsense approach often results in comparatively rapid
hires. The time advantage on a personal basis is obvious—
anyone who’s ever handled a day or two of interviews knows
that a single in-person visit with an applicant can eat up an
hour or more of a workday with startling ease.
Telephone Screeners tend not to waste much time inter-
viewing mediocre applicants. Their approach and overall in-
terview philosophy may well be the best for the “emergency
opening” situation—those times when the organization has
lost a key player and must replace the person more or less
instantly.
The “cons” of this style
Telephone Screeners may sometimes be too focused on
short-term outcomes for their own good. For instance, they
may not be in the best position to take advantage of the
strengths a given candidate could bring to a position other
than the one that’s momentarily captured their attention. Be-
cause they’re often acting in response to a single pressing need
within the organization, they may not always pick the best
candidate for long term growth.
As noted earlier, many Telephone Screeners are entre-
preneurs and presidents of companies who conduct extensive
(and often dazzlingly effective) phone interviews, confirm their
own instincts with a single in-person meeting, then hire some-
one on the spot. This may intimidate or alienate other mem-
bers of their team, notably Managers, who have been given no
chance to evaluate the applicant as a potential colleague or
subordinate.

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