Generic Interviewing

Have you ever been interviewed for a role and the questions could have been for any job at the company?  Sometimes this occurs when companies are more focused on your ability to fit into their culture than your ability to function in the role.  I call these generic interviews and a total waste of everyone’s time.

While I thought this animal was long extinct, I experienced this type of interview recently myself, and was completely dumbfounded as the questions kept coming with zero connection to the job responsibilities, or my capacity to execute deliverables.  While the hypothetical situations where fun to answer, it took a lot of unnecessary creativity to insert applicable answers to demonstrate experience.

When this interview was completed though, it became clear that the real reason they were unable to conduct a situational interview for this position is they had no clue what the role should be able to do!  Oh my, it was a new role and I was describing the possibilities and while they were enthralled at the vision at the same time they didn’t know how to react or whether they should.  When I asked the inevitable budget questions there were no answers because they had not funded the department yet, even though they were actively hiring a manager.

I’ve got to wonder how you get approval to recruit for a job, with no budget other than salary, and then not have a clear understanding of what the goals and objectives are for the position. Not only does it make the recruiting process challenging, but what happens once the person begins work?

While to some a free rein to do “whatever you think is needed” without any budget allotted may sound like a utopian opportunity, to me it would be one long vacation into insanity!  Since I was unable to logically convince them to step back, think this through and set some goals, I got their attention by “withdrawing my application” during the interview.  There are days I wish my glasses had a built-in camera, because the reactions on those three faces were precious.

In any case I caused them to at least pause a little, and think through to their next step.  I believe they will slow down a little in the recruiting process and realize that not everyone out there is so desperate to work they will do and say whatever it takes to get an offer.  If I had done that I believe I would have done them little service.  Then of course I practice “Servant Leadership” and not “Self-Serving Leadership.”


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