Transparency and the interview process - Lisa Barrow discusses with Business News Daily

Lisa Barrow discusses with Business News Daily what not to do after an interview.

Here are some additional thoughts…

Bringing forward competing offers after the interviews have all commenced can be a big mistake for otherwise promising candidates.  It's important to be transparent throughout the process of where you are in the interview phases with other companies.  

Candidates who bring information out of left-field in the eleventh hour can come across to their potential future employer as disinterested or it may feel to the employer that the candidate is just using them to leverage a better offer somewhere else.  If there is a competing offer that comes in after the fact, let the company know right away and also let them know where they stand.  Just as poor of a mistake is to take the other offer without letting the other company know beforehand so that they could potentially counter.  

In the case where there are multiple people that are up for the same position, this can definitely sway a hiring manager toward another candidate.  Even if the candidate is the only one up for the role it can leave uneasiness with the employer that could ultimately lead them into bringing other applicants into the fold, adding additional competition for the position.  

To avoid this pitfall, candidates should be as transparent as possible on where they are in their job search activity. They don't have to tell them about every application you have out there, but if they're in late stage interviews or offers somewhere else, let the company know.  Honesty is always the best policy.  

If a candidate goes through the interview process and doesn't mention other places that they are considering but then get a competing offer, all is not lost.  If they have to let the company know after the fact, they need to be sure to let them know how interested they are in their position and any relevant factors that will help them weigh out their options.  It is important for the candidate to choose their wording wisely though, and not to come across as too threatening.

I had a candidate go through two rounds of phone screens and a day-long interview at an ad agency in NYC for an Account Supervisor role. She said to me that she wasn't actively interviewing anywhere else.  She was absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to work at this company and anxious for the offer.  After the interview, she sent a thank you email to the CEO that also included a mention to an offer at another agency she was considering, but stating this was her preferred role. The CEO called me up to say that he was a bit taken aback and concerned in her lack of transparency in the process.  He felt that it was a veiled attempt to hold his feet to the fire on a time-frame and as a negotiation tactic. Following further discussion, it turned out that she really wasn't considering the other offer and she had only mentioned to show her high level of interest for this particular agency.  She apologized and ended up getting (and taking) the offer, but this ultimately showcased the importance of transparency and the impact it can have in the process.

Kada CEO discusses interviews & gamification

Lisa Barrow, founder and CEO of Kada Recruiting recently contributed to a piece on MSN, proving insight on how to tackle interviews that involve gamification.

This article provides some great tips on how to approach exercises both before and during your interviews and what employers are really looking for.

6 key factors in determining the best Account Director for your creative agency

If someone has been in account management for many years, it’s safe to say that they “know how to do account management”. So, why even bother with the interview process? Wouldn’t it just be easier to say, “Hi, nice to meet you. You’ve done this for 10 years already, come do it for us.” If only it were that simple. 

How do you interview for personality? How can you tell the fakers from the makers? This is someone who you’ll depend on day in and day out internally, but also the face of your business. 

You’re looking for a few key factors in your decision to move to the next step in the process.

1 - Are they a positive person?

  • Before you get into the nitty gritty of an interview, ask them how their day has been. This should put them at ease and you’ll get some insight into how they would interact with a client that they’ve just met. If they are a bit of a negative nelly, that’s not going to go away. If they are scant on details, same goes. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they might be a little nervous, but know that the gut check that you get in this first 2 minutes of the discussion is critical.

2 - Can they follow simple instructions?

  • A phone interview is about getting them talking, not the other way around. Interviews aren’t something these candidates do on a regular basis (if they are, that’s a whole other red flag), so you need to tell them what you’re hoping to get out of your line of questioning. 

  • Prompt with things like, “I want to get an understanding of how you work on a daily basis and learn more about how you’re successful at what you do. As we go through this conversation, please elaborate on stories and examples as much as possible.”

  • When you prompt this, it puts the candidate at ease in knowing what you’re looking for and if they can do this throughout the conversation, it shows that they can listen and follow instructions. If you have someone that just goes on and on with out a point or has short answers of “yes, I can do that” without any color, then you know you’re not on the right track.

3 - Can they tell a story?

  • If a candidate cannot, in the simplest of terms, explain to you what they do, then explaining what the creative team is doing to your client is really going to be a challenge. Once you’ve prompted them for what you’re looking for, start asking questions that are important to the role at hand. Using cues like “tell me a time that you…” or “give an example of…” throughout the conversation will lead you to the details that you need.

  • “Tell me about how you handled a difficult client request” is better than “How are you with handling difficult clients?”. Just a change in wording will shift the discussion.

4 - Are they self-aware?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses are popular interview questions for a reason, they give someone the opportunity to give you the perspective on how they view who they are and how they work.

  • Asking the questions a number of ways will also garner additional insight – “What would your co-workers say about you?” and “What would your clients say about you?” gives you access to how they are looked at in the outside world as well as not just getting their practiced strengths answer. It also gives you something to look back on during the reference check process to see if their perception aligns with reality.

5 - Do they understand who they’re answering to?

  • Ask about the structure of communication they’ve had in past roles – explaining that you mean, who was in charge of a specific account, who worked with the client, what internal partnerships did they have, etc. Tell them that the more detail they give the better. This will give you a look into how much responsibility that they had and what decisions they made. 

6 - What do they value?

  • Finding out what’s important to them in their next role helps give you truer insight into why they might be leaving their current one. It’s also good to ask why they value in client relationships and internal relationships, it will give you a peek into how they play well with others.

  • If the interview is going well, this gives you some good insight to know what to sell to them as part of the role later in the process.

Overall, this process should take no more than 30 minutes. Keep in mind that your goal is to know if this person is the right fit to come in for an in-person meeting. If it’s not the right fit, let them know. Leaving them hanging endlessly will only hurt your brand and cause bad karma in the future. It’s important to provide them with next steps in the process and be as transparent as possible.