Anyone who has ever interviewed anyone for an open req. has experienced a Candidate bombing the interview for one reason or another1, and we’ve certainly all bombed an interview. Now, I don’t know shit about hiring outside of technical fields, specifically for web administrators and UNIX admins. But in that realm, I’ve been on both sides of the process for a little while, and these are the things that I think tend to be the most common reasons for Candidates to do anything less than shine (… or at least these are the things I’m most guilty of):
- Fixating on the negative aspects of past experiences:
Where I am now? We have this fucking guy, you know? He eats rice from a plate with a spoon, and it’s disgusting, he’s disgusting, and I can’t stand things that are disgusting!
- Fixating on the positive aspects of where you’re currently working; put another way, apologizing for having the gall to consider leaving where you are now:
No, no, it’s really great at ConGloMo! The air rifles only sting a little! I’m really very lucky to have a job at all! The dogs aren’t usually hungry so they don’t maul us when they chase us or anything!
- It’s also come to my attention that sometimes this manifests in the form of comparing your current employer to your prospective employer too much:
This place is just like where I am now, except it’s different. I mean, I hate where I am now but I’d love it here, even though it’s the same. But also different.
But I also think that these are often a side-effect of a small handful of conditions: being overly familiar or comfortable with the Interviewer (that’s not a bad thing), outright desperation (yellow flag) or excitement (which you should be selecting for), or just plain being damaged (dare I say shell shocked?) by whatever circumstances caused a Candidate to start working the market (and that can be bad, right now, for you; they might get better if the pressure is eased off them). Or if they’re a non-local Candidate, maybe the travel took more out of them then expected and they are still adjusting to being anywhere except home. I am guilty of every single one of those myself, and that’s led me to think that any one of those missteps could have probably been turned into a positive pivot if Interviewers just tried talking to Candidates as if they already had the job.