“Hi XYZ..we are ABC calling from so-and-so technologies. Are you ready for the telephonic interview. Is it a good time to talk?”
“Do give us a quick intro about yourself”
And so proceeded the interview of my friend. Once the call was over. He was all fuming and frustrated. Apparently it didn’t go well as there was a mismatch of what was the job description shared to him for which he had applied and the expectation of the panelists who conducted the interview. He felt angry that they asked him all kinds of questions most which would’ve been used for screening a junior level candidate and none were about his proficiency. He felt bad that the company had judged his profile so wrongly and decided to give it a skip, even if offered, which he felt was highly unlikely considering how the call went.
There were quite a few lessons for me from this incident and possibly few others might benefit as well I felt. First and foremost, the mistake made by my friend and the panelist, which, being right at the start of the call, skewed it perfect to the finish.
Any conversation has two parties (that’s why it’s obviously called the conversation, else would’ve been a monologue apdinu cross question pannapdaathu). For a meaningful discussion, the first step is to understand your audience. Both the parties should first introduce themselves and in case of an interview it is the prerogative of the panelist to initiate it about him/herself, talking about his profile and also a heads-up about the company. It would primarily help to settle any nerves for the candidate and would also establish the audience who would be questioning him to arrive at a context behind the questions. If the introduction doesn’t happen, the candidate can try to query the same. But it may result in the panelist getting offended at times as it may touch their ego or set off all kinds of negative alarms about the candidate. There could still be a polite way of putting it, but my preference would be option 1 – for the panelist to initiate.
The second not so glaring issue from the call was about the very panel itself. In many cases, irrespective of the nature of the job being interviewed for or the experience of the candidate, usually it’s the top performer of the project or someone strong on any one particular area (be it technical or functional) and anyone with similar or slightly more experience would be for company. Very frequently the panel itself could be a cooked up one at the neck of the moment as the original panelists might not have been available. This is one of the cardinal sins that any company does akin to shooting itself on its feet. They not just lose out on a potentially good candidate but also end up getting their name tarnished about how they treat the applicants. Getting the right panel, with correct experience level and more importantly – them being aware of the job profile for which they are screening is an unavoidable must. The interview is not a chance for the panelist to throw darts in the dark at unassuming candidates and they need to be more conscious of the fact that the task on their hand is pretty critical from someone’s career perspective and also from their company’s perspective as well.
In my personal case, I’ve witnessed both kind of panelists and to be honest have been on the other side as well. The rant by my friend gave me a chance to reflect on how I should make these corrections for ongoing interviews and how I should attend as well.
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