Re: Half Day Interview

Subject: Re: Half Day Interview
From: Chuck Melikian <chuckm -at- MDHOST -dot- CSE -dot- TEK -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 14:10:23 -0700

It was written:

# > A potential employer of mine said they would like me to spend "at least
# > a half a day" with them for an interview.

# An employer who spends a half day on each interview is searching
# desperately for a reason not to hire you--probably for C-Y-A reasons.
# Your chances of being hired after an interview like that are practically
# nil.

Wow. Desperately searching for a reason not to hire? I've been involved in
in probably 20 interviews over the last five years. I have always been
part of a team of writers interviewing applicants. I have never been the
hiring manager; I just worked for them. The best "C-Y-A" I can imagine
is to hire the right person.

That can only a shot in the dark in a 45 minute interview. The interviews
I have been involved in took a total of 4 - 5 hours. The applicant is
interviewed by the hiring manager. She is interviewed by the manager of
the hiring manager (who was a technical writer in a previous life). The
applicant is interviewed by a team of writers and illustrators. There may
be an additional interview or two by other individuals. After all the
interviews are completed, we have a meeting where everyone discusses
their interviews. After everyone has their say, we vote on the
candidate we want to make an offer to. Though management has the final
say about who is hired, I've yet to see the members of the interviewing
group and management disagree on who gets the offer.

Have you considered the cost to the company involved? We have several
people involved in interviews. With preparation time included, we probably
invest 15 to 20 hours of employee time on each interview. That is several
hundred dollars invested in each interview, whether the applicant is hired
or not. It can cost a lot more if we pay to fly an applicant out for an
interview. If we didn't feel it was worth the investment, we wouldn't do it.
And in every interview I have been involved in, someone was hired. There
were 4-6 people applying for the job, which would put the odds of getting
the job at about 1 in 6. A lot better than nil.


# You gotta do what you gotta do and the need for an immediate job rears
# its ugly head when making your decision. But, we have rights too.
# Perhaps when we techwhirlers finally get around to compiling the list of
# employers, good and bad, that company should be listed as "requiring a
# half-day interview."

Pray tell, what "RIGHTS" are being violated by a half-day interview? When I
go on an interview, I CHECK THEM OUT. I want to know if they are the kind of
company I want to work for. I don't see how a phone interview can tell me
what the environment is like at a company. In the interviews I have been involved
in, we always ask the applicant if she has any questions for us. We expect
to get questions. We expect things like "Do you like your working environment?",
"What do you most dislike about your job?", "Does management respect the
worker?", "What are the chances for advancement?", "What are the educational
benefits?". We answer them, honestly. We want people that stand up for
themselves. We want intelligent people. We prefer strong individuals.
I don't believe you can really learn that much about someone in a
one hour interview.

# Would other members call that GOOD or BAD?

I can think of far more informative things to learn about a company than
whether or not they use a long interview process.

Chuck Melikian

chuck -dot- melikian -at- tek -dot- com
Worldwide Customer Communications
Measurement Business Division
Tektronix, Inc.

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