Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Blessing Or A Curse ?

One of my responsibilities at work is to interview new hire candidates for entry sales positions.  These interviews follow a standard format, and we interviewers use the same packet of questions for each candidate.  The mix of questions vary a little with each interview, but the Dimensions (or skill areas) being identified are exactly the same.

A short while back, I had filled out the front of one of these interview packets with the basic information (candidate name, interviewer name, and date of interview) in anticipation of an upcoming interview.  The day of the interview came and I set my interview folder out on my desk.  Then the time for the interview came and there was no call from Security (they always call to inform us that the candidate is here).  The candidate was a no-show.

The following week I had another interview scheduled, so not wanting to waste paper and printer ink, I just crossed out the candidate name and date of interview, writing the new information to the side in each category.  The evening before that interview, I received an email informing me that the candidate had withdrawn their application.

I had no interview the next week, so the packet just sat in my interview folder until my next interview was scheduled.  Once again, I crossed out the name and date, replacing them with the newer candidate information.  By now, the space for writing was becoming limited on the front of the packet.  About an hour before the interview was to take place, I received a call from one of our recruiters who informed me that the candidate had called to reschedule their interview.

Okay, now it was getting a little weird.

You see, in between these cancelled or rescheduled interviews, I had still conducted other new hire interviews.  There are two different packets to use, depending on whether you are the first or second interviewer, and I had been using the other version for my other interviews.  Still, I thought my streak of cancelled or rescheduled interviews was a little silly to connect with this packet of paper and scribbled out names and dates.

That is, until the next interview I planned to use it on.

Once again I scratched out the name and date of the prior candidate's slot and wrote in the new date and candidate name, which was now all the way in the margin of the packet.  I told my interview partner about the mysterious streak of "did not happen" interviews and she commented that she would be fine if the streak continued that day because she was really behind on other work.  Fast forward to the time of the interview and my office phone rings.  It was the security desk calling to inform me that the candidate was here.  Okay, the streak is over.  I broke the news to my interview partner and headed to the lobby.

Shortly after extending my hand to greet the candidate, he confirmed my name and then immediately apologized and said he had to leave.  I asked if he wanted me to reschedule his interview and he said yes, while frantically glancing at his cell phone.  He then informed me that he just found out his daughter had been in a serious car accident so he had to go.  I wished him well and then headed back to my desk.

My interview partner was surprised to see me back so soon and asked if everything was all right.  I pulled out the interview packet and said "This packet must go.  People are getting hurt now.  It's not fun and games anymore."  I then explained the candidate's need to leave urgently and my interview partner stood there in awe.

So now I am left wondering ... should I keep the packet and re-use it?  Or is it dangerous and should be disposed of?  I won't complain about getting an hour back in my day for cancelled interviews, but not if someone is getting injured to make it happen!
*Clarification: I have since used this interview packet and the candidate was not harmed nor did they miss their interview time.  I cannot say whether they were hired or not, but the packet is now used and will no longer threaten anyone's safety.

Song Of The Day:
It is Thursday, so here's a Throwback song from the Clash.  "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" isn't about interviewing people, but the question can loosely be tied to my dilemma with using the packet again and again.


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