For this assignment I interviewed Bret Charles Elzinga who works at the MTC in Provo, Utah. He has many years of experience interviewing throughout his career.
1- When do you start looking for people to hire? I don’t start looking until the job and job requirements are approved and posted.
2- What is one question you always ask in an interview and why? I always ask, “Why do you want this job” because I want to understand how badly they want the job. I need to understand how passionate they are and their reasons for applying and how it fits into their career and how meaningful they think the work will be. It’s important for someone to be totally devoted to a job because then their passionate about the work and will stick with the job and work hard if that’s something they really want.
3- What is one quality that you are always impressed with in an interviewee? I am impressed when they have prepared well for the interview by researching the company, the product, the position, the people that are employed by the company that relate to that position, etc.
4- How do you personally prepare for an interview with a candidate? I read their resume and cover letter, (and then I score these in a spreadsheet), write down some observations and think about questions I might want to ask them. I look for qualifications as well as visual layout and spelling/grammar in their writing.
5- What, if any, deal-breaker qualities do you look for? They must meet the minimum requirements for the job- so if they don’t meet those, they are disqualified. Other deal breakers are if they are overqualified, underqualified, the availability of their schedule, etc.
6- How do you avoid your own personal biases during interviews? It’s basically impossible, but you can decrease the effect. I usually do a panel in the second round of interviewing. There might be two or three multiple people giving input and interpreting the results of the interview. Using tests are helpful because then you have an unbiased way of testing who is best fit for the job. We also do a silent voting formula where each interviewer rates interviewees on a scale of 1-10 and then averaging the scores. Sometimes I do phone interviews so I can’t see what the person looks like. Even though you try your hardest to be unbiased it can be very difficult at times!
7- What do you look for when you first meet your interviewee? I do look at appearance; if they are well groomed, if they look neat (not overdressed or underdressed), no unusual smells, the presence they bring to the room (their attitude). I notice their body language: (the way they look at you, if they smile or not, their confidence level, etc.)
8- Do you have an interview panel? If so, who do you have in on that panel during the interview? Yes (ranging from 2-4 people). My panel consists of coworkers, supervisors, managers, team leaders, etc. Anyone who they would be working closely with! Panels protect the person who is making the decision and it decreases bias.
9- What are you looking for in a candidate? Someone who is passionate, who meets the qualifications, someone who has good reasons to want the job, someone who will fit in with others but also has a diverse prospective, usually look for someone who has higher GPA (not as big of a factor), someone who gets along well with others and has good recommendations about themselves.
10- What is your least favorite thing about hiring? Rejecting good people who are qualified and would do well in the job. I hate having to turn people down- I wish I could give everybody an opportunity.
11- Is there a certain time limit you try to stay in while conducting an interview? Yes kind of- it depends on the position. Usually one hour for the first interview and one hour for the second. I usually tend to go longer instead of shorter. You need to take the time to get to know each interviewee.
12- Do you take time to learn about your candidates prior to meeting them in real life? Yes I do take time to get to know my candidates prior to them interviewing. I don’t want to interview everyone that applies so I need some rational way to sort and rank them.. I do this by analyzing their cover letter. I know some people who look at social media prior to hiring (I don’t do this though).
13- Are you impressed when your interviewee speaks up when they have a chance to ask questions? Which questions are you most impressed by? I am very unimpressed with candidates that don’t ask any questions. I like it when they ask questions that show they have researched the job. I like very specific questions that show they are genuinely interested.
In summary, it was very interesting to be on the other side of an interview to gain an in-depth perspective of what interviewers look for in candidates. One thing that was interesting to me was how Bret said that being completely unbiased is almost impossible. It’s hard not to let how someone looks effect our opinion of them. He does use a variety of techniques to overcome bias which I think is important. I am going to take what Bret said and use it to increase my interviewing skills in the future!