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LETS TALK MORE ABOUT THAT CURRENT (LAST) JOB
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CHAPTER EIGHT
LETS TALK MORE ABOUT
THAT CURRENT (LAST) JOB
W
hether the candidate before you has been working
for 20 years or 20 days, it is human nature to focus
on the most recent job. Even if it boasted the short-
est tenure. Even if a previous job was for years and the cur-
rent one just for months. Why? Because you want to know
what the candidate can do for you—right now—and the most
current job offers the best available proof.
Q: Why are you thinking of leaving your
current job?
What do you want to hear?
Obviously, no one wants to leave a job with which they are
completely content (although some people routinely interview
to keep “in practice” or stay in touch with what is currently on
offer). But the last thing you want is a candidate who heads
right for the negative aspects of his current job, or worse, speaks
badly about his current employer. It may not be fair to the in-
terviewee, who may well be giving you just the negative “tip of
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE
148
the iceberg” of the Job From Hell, but many of you will assume
that, if hired, the candidate will soon be characterizing you and
your company in the same disparaging terms.
So a candidate should handle her discontent (if that’s what
led her here) very gingerly. The less contented she is, the more
careful she should be when talking about it. Here’s a good
answer:
“There is a great deal I enjoy about my current
job. But my potential for growth in this area is limited
at Closely Held, Inc., because of the size of the com-
pany and the fact that expansion is not a part of its
current strategic plan.”
Green Light
Unless they have been fired or laid off, viable candi-
dates should make it clear that they are sitting in front
of you only because they seek more responsibility, a
bigger challenge, better opportunities for growth…even more
money. Not because they are desperate to put some distance
between themselves and their current job situation.
A consistent emphasis on moving “up” rather than just
moving “out.”
Avoidance of any personal and/or negative comments
about coworkers, supervisors, or the current (last) company’s
policies.
Red Light
The introduction of any negative, no matter how hor-
rible the current job situation. (In fact, the more ob-
viously horrible their job, the more points candidates
should score in your eyes for creating an impression of rela-
tive contentment.)
STOP
GO
STOP
STOP
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LETS TALK MORE ABOUT THAT CURRENT (LAST) JOB
A willingness to make a lateral move or even take a demo-
tion just to leave the current company, unless the candidate is
moving into an entirely new area or field, such a willingness to
move “out” rather than “up,” would give me pause. What’s he
or she hiding? Is this just a last-ditch effort to get out before
he’s shoved out? And what does such a willingness say about
his ability to “tough it out” until the right situation comes
along? Is your company just a calmer sea in which he can
tread water until the right freighter comes along?
A candidate who admits she lies awake nights fantasizing
about calling Joe “No Knees” Buzzano to put a contract out
on her current boss.
Variations
f What’s hindering your progress at your present firm?
f Is this the first time you’ve thought about leaving?
What made you stay before?
Q: Where does your boss think you are now?
What do you want to hear?
It’s rare to hear something like, “He thinks I’m interview-
ing with you so I can leave that hellhole behind and, by the
way, he’ll be calling you tomorrow to find a job himself.” You
should expect candidates to be seeing you during their lunch
hours, after work, or on a personal or vacation day. If the
latter, what a candidate does that day is purely his or her con-
cern, so the boss has not been lied to. I personally don’t like
to hear that a candidate has taken a sick day to talk with me.
It’s a white lie, but a lie nonetheless.

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