Mixed Signals During Job Interview

johnITjohnIT Posts: 86Member ■■■□□□□□□□
So an odd thing happened to me. I applied to a job posting at a non-profit over a month ago with an older resume too. Last week I got an email while I was on vacation indicating that I had been selected for a job interview for an IT specialist position. I had the interview on Friday.

I came 20 minutes early and signed a release for them to a background check. I waited in the waiting room which was in an open area people could pass by and see me. Then I was escorted into a conference room and waited some more. I saw on the white board that they had written, Welcome John on the board and during the interview they joked about it and acted like I was already part of the team.

The interview questions were easy and since I currently work at a non-profit and do large scale computer imaging projects they really liked that. However, most people let me know when they will get back to me, and they didn't answer that question. They also said I was one of 500 applicants!!! At least they didn't balk at my requested salary which is almost double what I make now. I also sent a thank you email when I got home but didn't hear back from the HR lady.

I'm guessing it just takes forever to get hired these days so they didn't want to make any promises. Thoughts?
Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012

Comments

  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Unlikely they got 500 applicants, and even if they did they should only interview something like 10 at most...any more than that for a single position, they didn’t do a good job of screening people out and/or have no idea what they are doing.
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    When I put up a job advert for anything from helpdesk to infrastucture specialist or project manager, there are typically between 300 and 400 applicants.

    You have to filter effectively so you use the Essential Criteria to basically drop everyone who is missing even one of the criteria, then grade them according to which of the Desirable Criteria they meet - this typically drops the list to below 40.

    The next step is a quick phone interview to weed out all the ones who talk bull or can barely speak English and then you have a shortlist to meet - about 15 is normal.

    In the UK you have to be able to have an audit trail for the recruitment process so your decision to drop any candidate has to have a reason and evidence of who took the decision in case the candidate wants to sue for discrimination. I get our HR team to do the first sift and then anonomise the staff for the final (pre phone call) sift so I can't be accused of bias.

    The meeting stage filter has to be even more rigorous if you are doing it right and you need a panel of at least 3 to independently score the candidates on the same criteria (all scoring sheet have to be kept of course) and it takes ages to get everyone free for the interviews and then to give the time to do all the paperwork. This is probably the source of your delays.

    If these guys are busy then they probably don't know when they will be finished the process, but that isn't so uncommon in the non-profit sector from my experience with them.

    Personally it sounds like they are not trying very hard to recruit someone so I would ignore it and move onto something else, Maybe they call back, maybe not - but I certainly wouldn't expect it.
  • johnITjohnIT Posts: 86Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I didn't realize that if you are missing just one of the criteria that they are searching for then, you will get dropped. I was applying to things where I met most of them, but I hardly ever see jobs where I can move up from where I am and meet all the criteria!!!! This one was one of those rare occasions so hopefully that falls into my favor. I typically don't expect to hear back.

    I didn't actually have a phone screening with this non-profit. I jumped right into the three panel interview. The last job interview I had at a non-profit interviewed me but then never replied back telling me I didn't get the job even though she said she would either way. I've looked at their staff since, and it seems like the job they were creating never materialized.

    It's funny you mention that it seems they are taking their time because it seems like these IT jobs come and go on a whim and probably based on budgets too. I didn't even remember applying to it in the first place!!!
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    johnIT wrote: »
    I didn't realize that if you are missing just one of the criteria that they are searching for then, you will get dropped. I was applying to things where I met most of them

    If the job advert is well formed it will list Essential and Desirable criteria (the names are self explanatory but are often misused). If you don't meet the Essential ones (all of them) then you are likely to be cut in the first filter unless there are so few matches that HR have to go back to the requester and say the list needs reducing to be able to get enough applicants.

    Ideally in an interview the CV is dispensed with as the candidate has the core skills already and a background technical test via testing centre should cut out the ones who just don't have the claimed skills. Now the interviewer can work on scenario vased questions to asses temperament and cultural fit as well as probing areas of weakeness or interest.

    I guess where things fall down frequently is that the people with the jobs are not trained in the interview process so make it up as they go and don't manage the candidate expectations once they make contact and often do a poor job of effectively interviewing and selecting the right candidates.

    Any decent HR team will work closely with the recruiter and give feedback as soon as they have been cut from the list, unless they are on the shortlist and are a plan B for the job offer. If handled poorly this can lead to false hope for those not contacted however.

    You are right about us being at the whim of budgets as I've often had my headcount cut without notice or the salary available to offer reduced which poses all kinds of headaches for me and I often have to re-do the whole process.

    The bottom line is that recruiters in companies are just people and prone to all the failings of this group. Many never get shown how to do it well so make it up as they go so you need to develop nerves of steel when approaching the whole job application process. Like many things in life you just need to deal with it as best you can.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Every job certainly doesn't work that way where people are cut for missing one skill. I'd imagine you'd miss out on tons of great candidates that way.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    Every job certainly doesn't work that way where people are cut for missing one skill. I'd imagine you'd miss out on tons of great candidates that way.

    Really? If you were recruiting for a doctor to work as a brain surgeon in a battlefield area then you would expect the Essential Criteria to be knowledge and extensive experience of brain surgery and experience of working in field surgeries with a Desireable criteria to include experience of working under battlefield situations and trauma surgery - getting a general surgeon with a little brain surgery experience but no field hospital experience is going to leave a lot of potential patients very exposed. Even getting an experienced brain surgeon without the experience of working in a field hospital is just not good enough as this will break most people used to working in sterile environments with all a hospitals services on hand and will lack the ability to improvise effectively.

    Essential skills are just that - ones you can't survive without and should be only a handful (3 or 4 perhaps). If the Job Description is more than just toilet paper then it should make these clear. Desireable skills are what you are talking about here and these can run to 10+ in many cases.

    If you miss an Essential requirement - your CV should go straight into the bin as 1) you aren't good enough and 2) you should know better than to apply for a job you clearly are not good enough for. I'm not having a go at you but explaining the rational a professional recruiter should use.

    I guess that just as there are plenty of rubbish candidates, there are plenty of rubbish recruiters out there.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Well I'm not recruiting for a doctor so pretty irrelevant to this discussion.

    If I was eliminated from every job I applied to for missing one skill I'd have never gotten a job in my life. I always shoot for the moon and prove I'm worth it regardless of a missing skill or two. I prefer to hire people the same. People that are looking to move up and are interested in learning new skills. I don't want someone that already mastered every skill in the position. They'll probably be looking to move on and up in short order.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,714Mod Mod
    Well I'm not recruiting for a doctor so pretty irrelevant to this discussion.

    If I was eliminated from every job I applied to for missing one skill I'd have never gotten a job in my life. I always shoot for the moon and prove I'm worth it regardless of a missing skill or two. I prefer to hire people the same. People that are looking to move up and are interested in learning new skills. I don't want someone that already mastered every skill in the position. They'll probably be looking to move on and up in short order.
    Exactly! Same here. If they like your existing talents/skills, companies can train you.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • johnITjohnIT Posts: 86Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    UncleB wrote: »
    If the job advert is well formed it will list Essential and Desirable criteria (the names are self explanatory but are often misused). If you don't meet the Essential ones (all of them) then you are likely to be cut in the first filter unless there are so few matches that HR have to go back to the requester and say the list needs reducing to be able to get enough applicants.

    Ideally in an interview the CV is dispensed with as the candidate has the core skills already and a background technical test via testing centre should cut out the ones who just don't have the claimed skills. Now the interviewer can work on scenario vased questions to asses temperament and cultural fit as well as probing areas of weakeness or interest.

    I guess where things fall down frequently is that the people with the jobs are not trained in the interview process so make it up as they go and don't manage the candidate expectations once they make contact and often do a poor job of effectively interviewing and selecting the right candidates.

    Any decent HR team will work closely with the recruiter and give feedback as soon as they have been cut from the list, unless they are on the shortlist and are a plan B for the job offer. If handled poorly this can lead to false hope for those not contacted however.

    You are right about us being at the whim of budgets as I've often had my headcount cut without notice or the salary available to offer reduced which poses all kinds of headaches for me and I often have to re-do the whole process.

    The bottom line is that recruiters in companies are just people and prone to all the failings of this group. Many never get shown how to do it well so make it up as they go so you need to develop nerves of steel when approaching the whole job application process. Like many things in life you just need to deal with it as best you can.

    Your process at least seems tough and competent. Also good at what you do. Funny enough I always like to research the interviewers on LinkedIn and I just saw that the HR lady just started there 4 months ago. So that also might be why the process has taken two months at this point. She did send me a thank you reply back this morning though, so I am still hopeful. Since I met all their requirements.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • johnITjohnIT Posts: 86Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Exactly! Same here. If they like your existing talents/skills, companies can train you.

    I have found that unless you know someone or the company is extremely desperate, they won't.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,714Mod Mod
    I beg to differ there (at least in my case).
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • johnITjohnIT Posts: 86Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I beg to differ there (at least in my case).

    I found that was easier when i was starting out. Now that I have four years experience, no one seems to want to give me a chance at higher levels since I don't have heavy server experience or experience in whatever legacy software they use. I have my current job because my boss was desperate. I got my first job out of college because my other boss liked me when he interviewed me for a different non IT position. Another job I got was a contract position I had to move out of state for... So technically I've never really applied anywhere and made it through on my own merits which is kinda frustrating. This job would be the first in my career to get a job that (normal) way, let alone an advancement with a salary bump.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,714Mod Mod
    I am at higher level now and in almost every position I have been in, there has been training for something I am not an expert in.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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