Author Topic: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?  (Read 6076 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Pen^2

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
My workplace is fast-growing, and has been for a while. One of my duties is to sort through resumes and call people to come for job interviews, since we hire several people about twice a year, in two clusters of interviews. The economy, as we all know, has died and is now a zombie, so a lot of workplaces have cut workers, and unemployment is high. Although unfortunately a number of good and hard working people got the cut, it seems (in my limited experience) that it's the worst workers who get the cut. I think this might be the case because, despite the economy being bad, the worse it is, the worse the average standard of job applicant. I really think it's because all the people who coasted by doing next to nothing suddenly became unemployed, and so we see more of them in the applications.

Anyway, that's my theory. I have no idea if it's true, but the fact is some applicants are appalling.

For resumes, any that pass these three criteria get a phone call to an interview:
1. has name and contact details (must spelt consistently--if you can't spell your own name the same way each time, too bad)
2. is written in polite, standard English (I'm fairly relaxed about this, and basically anything except a 'lolz' on a resume is fine)
3. has the correct workplace name

Only about one in five resumes pass all three criteria, which itself is rather scary. The rest get a phone call, which is not fun. I've reached answering machines with messages like, "HIII! I'm SOOO drunk right now HAH! I'm gonna bang whoever leaves a message HAAAA!" I had one person ask if there were any good looking people working here, because if we are all ugly, apparently there's no reason to turn up to a job interview. I told him that we were all failed plastic surgery cases and were ashamed to come out in daylight. I've had people try to intimidate me and swear at me--I've no idea why, since I'm trying to give them a job opportunity. I usually end these calls quickly with, "actually, it looks like we won't be interested after all. Sorry for wasting your time. Goodbye."

The interviews are the worst. We once had a girl turn up in a boob tube and mini skirt which were many sizes too small for her. We get people trying to flirt with the interviewers. We get people who come holding an open bottle of beer. We get a very large number who immediately set about criticizing the workplace as an answer to anything they are asked: everything from the colour of the wall paint to the dress code (smart casual for all staff) has been a target. It's ridiculous.

Statistically, these can't all be bad people. Some must just be clueless or spoiled and sheltered, and just don't know better. My question is: is there a way to tell people politely that the reason they didn't get the job is because of how they behaved themselves? I'm not talking give a lecture or anything. But at least let them know why they've missed yet another job (many make it clear that this is the last in a long line of failed interviews for them) so that they can, if they really care, spend some time looking up how to hold themselves properly. Perhaps some are just unaware that passing an interview depends on more than only their resume, and might be able to sort themselves out if they at least knew broadly what the problem actually was.

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2013, 12:50:28 PM »
I suspect the people you describe don't WANT a job. 

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2848
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2013, 12:50:54 PM »
It sounds like you need much better applicant screening procedures, or maybe the help of a recruiter. If you are getting that many terrible interviewees, you've got to be missing something in their resume or application that could have weeded them out.

I don't think it's necessary to give feedback beyond "you were not selected" unless the person asks for it.

It sounds like you are annoyed at having your  time wasted by these people but my question is, why are they making it through your screening procedure in the first place?

norrina

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 944
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2013, 12:56:15 PM »
Maybe I'm being willfully naive here, but surely no one can truly be so uneducated in proper interview etiquette as to truly expect a tube top or alcohol to be appropriate in a job seeking situation. It sounds to me like at least some of these applicants may be deliberately trying to "fail" the interview process, perhaps because a parent or government benefits agency has told them they have to look for work to continue receiving support, but they don't actually want a job.

I'm not sure I see anything to be gained from trying to guide these people towards more appropriate behavior. If they express a bafflement that they weren't hired, maybe it would be a kindness to offer them some pointers. If anyone takes the initiative to ask for advice, certainly offer it if you're so inclined. But I wouldn't try to save the world, because I could see even the kindest and gentlest of suggestions being taken badly by some applicants.



citadelle

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 509
  • fully functional & aesthetically pleasing
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 01:03:48 PM »
Maybe I'm being willfully naive here, but surely no one can truly be so uneducated in proper interview etiquette as to truly expect a tube top or alcohol to be appropriate in a job seeking situation. It sounds to me like at least some of these applicants may be deliberately trying to "fail" the interview process, perhaps because a parent or government benefits agency has told them they have to look for work to continue receiving support, but they don't actually want a job.

snipped

I am guessing that it might matter what kind of industry and type of job this is. While I can't imagine a beer being an appropriate interview beverage anywhere, maybe if Beer Drinker were applying for bartender it might be more understandable? Or the tube top to an interview for Hooters waitress?

I don't know. Like you, I find it difficult to imagine any other explanation!

Pen^2

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 01:09:09 PM »
Okay, a bit more information is needed.

1. turning up to a job interview and purposefully failing, at least here, has no effect on welfare payments. It is a waste of their own time. They would literally be better off sitting outside the building for ten minutes and then walking off.

2. if someone just wants to waste time and go to a job interview they don't intend to put effort into, it's fairly difficult to travel to and access our workplace, so they really are wasting a sizable amount of their own time just for five minutes of stupidity.

3. the screening procedure isn't my invention, but I have to use it. However, before the economic crisis, almost 90% of people who passed it would go on to be offered a job (it's not rocket science, after all). I really think these people are just clueless.

4. the field of work is special education. The easiest example is helping children with dyslexia with reading and spelling, although that is not a representative example of what we do. Beer and tube top are quickly escorted out.

The interview itself has two interviewees and one observer (me). The interviewers have a list of boxes they must tick in order to give someone the job. They are almost all basic things like: greets interviewers; speech is easy to understand and is not garbled or inaudible; clothing and presentation is neat and tidy; etc. The observer is just there to ensure the interviewers don't do anything unfair i.e. tick a box that shouldn't be ticked. It's all very straightforward, since we really just want people who have an ounce of common sense so we can train them. Everything they need is learnt in training, but if they can't pass the interview, there's no way they'll pass training.

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17495
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 01:14:23 PM »
while i too, see, inappropriate (and sometimes ridiculous) applicants in my work place, I agree with LadyL that you need a better screening system or you should work through a recruiter.

I am the one in our organization who does the initial sifting through CVs and I do basic phone interviews. I don't know what positions you are trying to fill, but I would be looking for more than:
correct spelling and contact details, polite English and the correct workplace

I (and my bosses) would rather that I spend ~15 or so minutes talking to people on the phone and not just invite people for an interview if we think that they are just not a good fit.

our process is: I read the resumes, go over with my boss and point out my initial impression, I call them and do a short interview on the phone, go back to boss and then invite "the best" for interviews.

It's not a foolproof system- we still have people who, although i *told* them that the jobs includes X and Y, and they said that was fine, will say at the interview that they can't /won't do X and Y... ::)

as to your question - no, i wouldn't say anything. If they are wondering why they continue to fail interview after interview, they can, oh- i don't know, google it and read up about it like the rest of us do?

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

lady_disdain

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5777
    • Contemporary Jewelry
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 01:21:55 PM »
It isn't your responsibility to shape these candidates up - it is their own. If they were serious about finding a job, there is a lot of material online that would solve 90% of those problems. If they had asked for some feedback, then I think it would be good of you to point out the big stumbling blocks and some links, since they at least showed some initiative and interest.

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 01:35:28 PM »
oh I feel your pain.  A few years ago, we had 2 people leave at my job and I was going out on maternity and another girl was taking an extended vacation out of the country, so we needed to do some hiring..  We put an ad in the paper with very clear qualifications needed and instructions on how to get an appointment.  I discovered people are not bright.  Qualifications needed were FT M-F 9-5 PT M-F 10-3 and had to have at least 5 years of retail/sales experience.  The calls?  A guy who wanted us to pay his parking lease at a garage and wanted $40,000/yr + (nope), the lady who called for her daughter for a summer job (nope) asked if I would hire her.  I bit and asked her qualifications...never worked out side of the home (nope), and of course the 20 or so calls a day where they couldn't even speak proper English !  Then there were the ones who came in...oy!  They had to fill out the application and do the math test in front of us.  A guy left and came back with his gf to fill it out for him...and do the math test, the guy who brought his probation officer with him, the people who said they could only work weekends (we aren't open!), and the outfits (the best being the girl in the jeans with the butt cut out!).  I will admit to telling alot of people they were not qualified or what we were looking for and if they asked, I would say (nicely) that they did not project the correct image.  It is frustrating, but comical to see so many clueless people

Promise

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 341
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 01:40:43 PM »
I don't tell them because it's not my  business to give them unsolicited advice. However, I had one person ask why they didn't get a job. I said it was because of how he presented himself. He showed up in shorts, tee shirt and flip flops. I had 300 applicants for 45 slots and I hired those who took it seriously.

Carotte

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1112
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 01:47:57 PM »
Wow, it's, boogling.
I'd say don't say anything unless they ask, and if they ask and you have the info, you could steer them towards one of those programs where they help you with finding a job (if it exist in your area).

I'm in one for executive/middle to high position type of people looking for a (new) job (first job in my case) and they help by reviewing resumés, CV, how/what you do, and they'll have fake interview and work group.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12806
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 02:10:01 PM »
First off, don't volunteer anything. Second, if they ask, I wouldn't say anything beyond "we don't feel you're a good fit" and end the conversation. It is not your job to provide career counseling. I understand the frustration dealing with this stuff, along with the desire to help people who are desperately in need, but unless you are a professional career counselor on the side, don't do it. While someone might listen to you, the vast majority are just going to argue with you. For instance, the woman in the tube top -- dollars-to-donuts that her response would be "What? You're just jealous because I have big boobs. That's discriminatory!  Lawsuit!!!!" Or "Inappropriate flirting? I'm just friendly!" Even when they ask, most people aren't interested in hearing bad things about themselves.

This is one of those situations where "don't JADE" (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain) is your best approach.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 766
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 02:14:46 PM »
I've got to weigh in and agree with Cicero. I think it's a great idea to re-evaluate your screening process and/or criteria.

I, too, have been in the job market and can safely say that I *would* be able to tick off all the boxes for you - yet I wouldn't know if I were a good fit for your open position based on the screening criteria currently in place.

After long experience, I can tell you that I unfailingly decline to accept invitations to an interview if there is no phone conversation. I have learned that it is just not worth it for me as an applicant.

Every single time I attended an interview with no pre-screen it turned out to be a waste of time for me, as the applicant. I can only imagine how much the employer would be annoyed. A phone screen is an excellent opportunity for both parties to pre-evaluate the applicant and the position to see if it is even worth it for the applicant to spend his or her (often limited!) resources and time to physically go to the interview, while the employer can determine if they meet certain criteria and how well they present themselves on the phone so they don't waste the company's time and resources. Job search/employee search is a time and money consuming activity for everyone involved. It's so important that both parties have a chance to find out if it's worth it to take it to the next level.

Speaking as an applicant, I would much rather be weeded out before I put the time, money and effort into going somewhere than wasting my time. Job interviews are stressful enough as it is. As annoying as it is for you to have people show up who are wrong for the job, imagine how vexed an applicant would be to get down there and find out the job/company isn't anything what they expected, either.

That's why a short phone interview is a good way to sort through it a bit and find out if it's all worth the effort. I'd rather be a little choosy and attend fewer high quality job interviews than attend every one that came along. I'm sure that's true for the company, too. Fewer applicants, but higher quality applicants.

Now, when my husband and I owned a business for many years, here's how we arranged the hiring process:

1. Sort through resumes. Out of 100 resumes, 15 get call backs.
2. Of the phone screens, five are chosen for in-person interviews.
3. Of the in person interviews (with me, the office manager), two are chosen for second interview.
3. The second-interview people meet with my husband (company owner) and one or two executives who will be working with them.

One gets chosen. Or, if either don't get chosen (very rarely), take a second look at earlier applicants (something might have gotten missed) or re-post the position a few more days or elsewhere to see if anyone else applies.

Works every time.

As an applicant, I always get annoyed when I get invited to an interview with no phone screen. Eventually I learned not to accept them, because in the past they've "over booked" and I was one of many, many other applicants they scheduled one right after the other. Eventually, I can't imagine how the hiring manager could remember any of them. Sometimes, they over booked so much that they flaked out on THEIR end and I showed up and they had no idea who I was! VERY ANNOYING. Other times, I'd get there and fill out the application and in the interview find out that the job/company was totally wrong for me. Or, found that their whole hiring process was disorganized and chaotic - NOT a good impression to make on anyone, applicant or potential customer. Made me wonder how they ran the rest of the business or how I would be treated as an employee. Both employee and company HAVE  to make a good impression.

Save yourself the trouble, time and money. Pre-screen the applicants. That way you and THEY have a better idea of what to expect.

I hope this helps and that you start getting well-qualified high-quality employees! :)

Sorry about this, but I have a post script: perhaps you may want to look at the job postings/ads. What are your criteria? Perhaps it is too vague and requirements sound too "easy" and you're getting unqualified/inappropriate applicants because you don't state educational/work experience preferences? So you get the least qualified people? Just a thought. I'm not saying you should go the other way and ask for a Ph.D. and 30 years experience if you don't need it ... but maybe put more detailed information about the position and specifics about what the job would entail, and most importantly, "soft" skills such as verbal communication, ability to communicate effectively with special needs students (etc) (just a random example)...you get the idea.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 02:23:19 PM by mrkitty »
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2293
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 04:02:22 PM »
Maybe I'm being willfully naive here, but surely no one can truly be so uneducated in proper interview etiquette as to truly expect a tube top or alcohol to be appropriate in a job seeking situation.

I was once offered a beer when I arrived for a job interview.  (I declined and accepted a can of Coke instead).

magician5

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3456
Re: How can I tell job interviewees that they're being inappropriate?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 04:22:40 PM »
I'm not sure I see anything to be gained from trying to guide these people towards more appropriate behavior.

POD!!!

Where on earth do you get these applicants? Do you put "Help Wanted" posters in the local liquor store, or rule out those who have any education?

I thought, from watching the news regularly, that there were huge numbers of employable and presentable people out there who were eager for gainful employment.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 04:26:16 PM by magician5 »
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.