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Job Interviews That Make You Guilty Until Proven Innocent

“We have a line-up of many talented candidates seeking this job. Tell me, why do you think we should recruit you?”

When placed in situations where you have to defend your own worth for the role, even the most placid candidates will end up frustrated by such intense condescension and vitriol. This method of interviewing certainly does not inspire any interest or confidence for the job, potentially even turning talents away despite the role’s suitability or remuneration.

Job interviews are so intense.

One of the candidates prepared by Citadel Search for a HR Manager role was highly qualified and had more than 15 years of specialised experience, but could not excel in interviews. She had a really quirky style of answering, often circumventing questions entirely. Our interviewers’ spider-senses were tingling, but pressed on, keeping a level head and constantly reminding her to stay focused. Fortunately, we saw her strengths and were able to put aside our personal judgements. We discerned her suitability, strategised and gave her feedback on how she could improve her skills in answering questions.

Instead, imagine if the interviewers had decided to test her mettle to see if she can rise up to the challenge. Had we taken a more hostile approach, we would have torn through her like hot knife through butter. It would not only have cost the applicant a perfect job, but the client may have lost a stellar candidate simply because we were too eager to weed out the less qualified.

Nothing holds more importance to job seeker than an interview, and job hunters spend the most efforts working on themselves and what to say for the interview. However, when you start behaving like a hiring manager freshly emerged from the bowels of hell, you risk sifting out and losing the best applicants even before they have a chance to present themselves.

Still, this is perfectly understandable; most hiring managers are not trained to be interviewers. For a high-pressure work environment, some interviewers set an intimidating tone to provoke a unique reaction from candidates. Of course, in certain industries such as Sales and in the corporate environment, where the fortitude of candidates under stress should be tested, this would be a good way to test their mettle and professionalism. Sometimes, candidates may excel in such positions, but cannot prove themselves in an interview. You see the circumstances are different, the context is known but in an interview, the blind spots are everywhere.

Times have changed, we must evolve in our methods of screening candidates. Difficult interviews should not be dismissed, especially if it is appropriate within the work environment; but such methods choke the potential from a diverse pool of talented candidates. There is great value in diversity, and Citadel Search recognises that.

One of the methods we used is competency-based interviews, which begins with us understanding the DNA and intricacies of the job and then systematically applied across all candidates. This means all jobseekers start on a level-playing field and we do not invalidate anyone until we need to compare between candidates.

A job search is as much a journey for the candidate as the interviewer. Where both the paths converge, that is the place where we want you to be.

A job search is as much a journey for the candidate as the interviewer.

Citadel Search facilitates that journey to be less painful; where there is more than just a meeting of needs but a fruitful discovery.

The verdict for a candidate should not merely hang in the balance of the burden of proof to appease the interviewer. Certainly, no one should be judged “guilty” before the interview even begins!

Whether you are one of our fine candidates or an established client or prospect, we hope you enjoyed this article. If you are interested to learn more about us, do visit our website or leave us a message.

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