Now this group meeting was facilitated by three local Career Center staff (me being one of them). We presented two mock-interview scenarios, each followed by a round of critique and discussion. The first scenario involved an obnoxious job candidate; in the second scenario, a good candidate had to deal with a listless, disengaged interviewer.
Let’s start with the obnoxious candidate. (That was me! And I will admit I had fun, getting to be a good example of a not-so-good example for a change.) Some of the noteworthy behaviors included:
- Greeting the interviewer saying “Geez, you sounded a lot younger on the phone.” (Can a compliment get any more backhanded than that?)
- Plugging in the phone charger without asking first, and only then saying, “You don’t mind, do you?”
- Not knowing or acknowledging the company’s 200-year history, but “schooling” the interviewer on how the company needs to be competitive by having Facebook and Twitter presence.
The networking-group audience (mostly job seekers) provided candid feedback. They felt at ease because none of them was at the receiving end of that feedback. Oh, and the benefit of the doubt had it that all the blunders had, of course, been just for show.
And on it went to the scenario where a listless, disengaged interviewer gave a good candidate a hard time. Some of those behaviors included:
- Cutting off the candidate halfway through an answer.
- Asking a question about the very thing the candidate had just told the interviewer all about.
- Proceeding to end the interview without offering the candidate to ask questions.
Again, a fruitful group discussion followed. The mock-interview premise probably contributed to that by piquing extra curiosity about the reason behind something the candidate or interviewer had said or done.
The “interviewer” (who, in fact, does conduct job interviews as part of his work) noted that interviewers really look for candidates who will have a conversation with them, rather than give “quiz answers” or fall back on canned phrases. Specifically regarding the cliché “people person,” it turned out no one in the room was able to pinpoint what that even really meant.
Which takes me back to the aforementioned Verizon TV commercial. That job candidate ends up screaming into that fellow passenger’s phone, across the tracks, for everyone else to hear: “I am a people person!”
Of course that is inane. Of course her candidacy is dead in the water. Let me point to this post on www.thecommercialcurmudgeon.com, if anyone wants itemized how this commercial should not be taken seriously. Other than that, I will give Verizon the benefit of the doubt, just as the professionals in the networking group did when they saw my goofy mock interviewing.