Interviews Part III (Appliclants)

This post is for those of you that are looking for a job or as we used to call it “pounding the pavement”. Just like management you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. You need to have a list of non-negotiables. What must this job have in order for you to accept the offer?

If you get an offer be willing to say thank you but no thank you. Yes, be willing to say NO. If the job doesn’t meet your requirements why take it? If you take the job you would be putting yourself in a bad situation. Stick to your guns you made a list for a reason.

It’s the obvious but I have to say it do your homework before you go on an interview. You may not like the industry the company is in but you like the job. During the interview if you’re asked what do you like about the company tell the truth. Talk about how interested you are in the position and how the position relates to the overall success of the company.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The only way you’re going to find out if the job meets your requirements is to ask questions. Depending on where you are in your career you have a right to know certain things upfront. If the interviewer asks why you’re asking a lot of questions tell them you want to make sure the job is a good fit for you. For those of you that are currently unemployed you might not want to be as aggressive.

Cornell Jenkins
If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me at

Interviews Part II

I had no intention on writing a series about interviews, however there is so much to say on the issue that I’ll do part III next week. As I stated last week job applicants will give your company negative publicity.

In order to strategically position your company you have to hire the right people. See my posts on March 26 and April 8. One of the biggest reasons interviews go awry is because the interviewer doesn’t know exactly what he/she wants. Based on the resumes you received and any other research you’ve done on the applicants you should have a BQ (best qualified) list. Your BQ list should consist of no more than five applicants you will interview.

When conducting interviews you should have some non-negotiables. These are skills, qualities, personality traits etc. the applicant must have in order for you to hire them. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for you may hire the wrong person. You have to figure out what’s important to you the skill-set or the personality. They can be as equally important. I’ll talk about hiring for skill-set vs. cultural fit in a future post.

It’s better to take your time filling the position than to hire the wrong person. As a manager you should have a timeframe in which you would like to fill the position but be willing to leave the position open longer than you anticipated. You have to look at the position from the broader perspective. It’s not just about filling a position. It’s about strategically positioning your company for the future, which means hiring the best person for the job.

Interviews aren’t solely about getting information. In order to hire the best person you have to give information. Let the applicants know about the culture of the company (I’m a proponent of a cultural fit), if there are busy seasons, if the company is going through some type of organizational change etc. These are some things people consider before they accept a job. Don’t be deceptive about the information you share. If you are deceptive you could end up hiring the wrong person. Be as honest as you can, if you’re honest you’ll get the answers you’re seeking and be able to make a well informed decision.

During an interview both sides are being evaluated. Honesty is the best policy. Next week I’ll talk about interviews from the applicant’s perspective.

Cornell Jenkins
If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me at


Sorry I’m late posting today.  Two weeks ago I was in a conversation about some of the interesting (useless) questions people are asked in interviews.  I say useless because the answers to the questions don’t necessarily have a bearing on the performance of the potential employee.

The first thing that comes to mind is “where do you see yourself two to five years from now”.  Anyone reading this that has asked this question please share with me why you asked this question.  What insight did you gain about that person specifically in reference to the position they were applying for?  I can only speak for myself but sometimes I have wanted to say “in your position”.  I’ve wanted to give that response for two reasons 1) I think the question is irrelevant and 2) sometimes it has been the truth.

What if, in a sincere tone, the interviewee says in your position?  As the interviewer what is your response?  You can’t say they’re being a smartaleck because you don’t know if their answer is true or not.  How do you recover from that?  To me this is a setup question by the interviewer.  You may honestly want to know if that person has thought about his/her future but if they haven’t should you really hold that against them?  I’m not saying you shouldn’t be looking for someone who is thinking about their future however since you’ll never know if their answer is true or not why ask the question?

Another interesting question is “why do you want to work for this company”.  People don’t always apply for a job at a company they want to work for.  It’s easier to find a job in the field you want to work in than at a company you want to work for.

The only questions that should be asked in an interview are questions related to the job that someone is going to perform.  There are many questions that can be asked if you are trying to determine if that person is a good fit for your company. Interviewing for a job should not be like playing chess or checkers, a game.  No one has time to play games.  Useless questions in an interview waste everyone’s time, the interviewer and the interviewee.  If you want to play games do it on your time not someone else’s.

No one wants to go on a job interview and leave feeling frustrated or like they could have had a V8! Don’t waste someone’s time! In this day of social media your company may get negative publicity on a website (it really does happen).

Cornell Jenkins
If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me at

How HR Affects the Average Employee

Since today is the first day I’ll be blogging every week let’s get this party started. I’m excited to be spending every week with you all now.

In my last post HR In Layman’s Terms I explained the various HR functions and their responsibilities. This week I’m going to explain how those functions can or do affect you as an employee. Some of the functions have very little or no bearing on current employees so I won’t mention them. This list is short and sweet.

Strategic management – during this time of furloughs and mass layoffs this HR function is very busy. They’re responsible for determining the number of people to furlough or layoff. They have to work closely with Employee/Labor relations to ensure the furloughs and layoffs are in accordance with federal laws (see WARN Act)

Employee development – any training, internal, external, self-directed or otherwise.

Compensation & Benefits – makes sure you get paid and on time, makes sure your health/dental insurance stays active and that whatever company they use for the retirement program doesn’t steal your money.

Employee/Labor Relations & EEO – makes sure you are protected from retaliation from management when you file a complaint against them for being mistreated (not because of an EEO issue). Responsible to make sure you are protected from retaliation from management when you file an EEO [sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or genetic information, national origin, age (40 and older)] complaint against your employer.

Cornell Jenkins

Please leave comments below or if you want to contact me directly you can email me at

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