In the February 11, 2014 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader gets fed up with interviewers who are unprepared:
What about interviewers who haven’t read your resume? An interviewer asked if I have done any programming, when my resume clearly states that I’m a programmer. Sometimes I’m asked if I know this software tool or that one. If I did, I would have listed them on my resume! I can learn new tools quickly, but they don’t want to hear it!
What is up with interviewers who ask questions that are answered clearly on my resume, and who want a perfect match of skills?
Some managers will argue that they are very busy and don’t have time to review a resume carefully before they meet you. Yet they expect you to be well-prepared for an interview. This is a sign of a lousy manager.
Should an interviewer expect that you listed every relevant fact on your resume? Sorry, no. I can’t assume you listed everything on your resume. Or, I may be initiating a discussion about a specific detail. “Do you know this tool?” might be just another way of asking, “Tell me about your expertise with this tool,” and that is a legitimate question.
The problem of employers dismissing quick learners too readily, however, is a dirty little secret of interviewing in many companies. They aren’t interested in the fact that you can learn almost anything in a few days given some good manuals and a little peace and quiet. They’re interested in hiring someone who can do the job “yesterday.”
The fundamental problem, of course, is that many managers are not good at assessing a job applicant. Other than ticking off buzz words from your “skill set,” they have no idea how to judge whether you can ride a fast learning curve without falling off.
Why do you think there’s such a “shortage” of qualified technical people? It’s mostly nonsense. Anyone can hire an employee who can do one particular task today; that is, a person who has been doing exactly that work at his old job. But it takes a good manager to hire and coach a good employee who can master new tasks that come along.
A good question to ask interviewers is this: “How many of your team members are doing work today that exactly matches the job description they were hired to do originally?”
That will tell you a lot about whether the manager knows how to manage talent rather than just skills.
What all this means is that you, the job applicant, must find subtle ways to take over the interview so you can demonstrate that you’re the profitable hire. This article can help you get started: The Basics: The New Interview.
If you really want to wow the interviewer without resorting to silly tactics recommended by some of the “experts,” try this: “The Single Best Interview Question… And The Best Answer.” Caution: This is a lot of hard work. But, then again, so’s that great job you want, right?
Do interviewers behave like clueless dopes? How do you raise the bar when you interview? And, how do you avoid having your time wasted?