Transparency In Interviewing

Everyone thinks they are a good interviewer. Conducting an interview takes skill and savvy. In order to hire the right person, you have to ask the right questions. You also have to share enough information to make sure that person is the perfect match.

Contrary to popular belief, the applicant isn’t the only person that is being evaluated. Most interviewers think an interview is a one way street. They are so focused on getting their questions answered, they don’t pay attention to the questions they are being asked.

A good interviewer knows what they’re looking for before the interview starts. A good interviewer has also done their homework prior to the interview. You should never conduct an interview without having read the applicant’s resume. Your lack of preparation is a reflection of you and/or your company.

Applicants are just as interested in a good cultural fit as employers are. During the interview provide information about the environment they will be working in. Is your office a close knit family, the Hatfields and McCoys, or somewhere in between? You don’t want to share too much information that you scare them away. However, the applicant has to have enough information so they can make an informed decision. It takes skill and savvy to walk this tightrope.

While writing this blog post, I had an impromptu conversation with a manager. The company he works for is being sold. In the midst of this process, he is conducting interviews for several positions. I asked him, “Would you tell applicants that the company is being sold?”

He said, generally, he would not share company information with an applicant, he would consider sharing the information if the applicant is unemployed. He does not want someone that is unemployed to take the job and possibly be unemployed again in the near future.

Conducting an interview takes skill and savvy. If you want to hire the right person, you have to walk the tightrope between adequate disclosure without sharing too much information. Be as transparent as possible during the interview because honesty really is the best policy.

If you have questions about this and more please contact me at and

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

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