Have you ever walked into an interview with a preconceived notion of the job you were interviewing for and after during/after the interview you felt that the job you were told about wasn’t the job you interviewed for?

In a previous article titled “Interviewing Tips for Interviewers,” I gave interviewers five tips for interviewing. These tips are:

  1. When interviewing candidates, be personable and professional.
  2. Be prepared. You expect the candidate to do their homework, do yours.
  3. Don’t read from a list of ‘canned’ questions during an interview….probe into the background of the candidate.
  4. Have a conversation with the candidate…don’t talk ‘at’ them.
  5. Understand the role that the candidate is interviewing for.

I think I need to add one more item to this list due to a recent experience.

I’ve recently had an experience where I flew across the country to interview for a position that I thought to be a senior level position within the company. What I thought the job was was much different than what it actually was….and to make matters worse, the people interviewing me (all eight of them) had different ideas of what the position was that they were interviewing for.

Let me reiterate…each person had a different idea about what the job was…eight different people interviewing me for basically what felt like eight different positions. One person asked me about my leadership abilities and how I went about business development. The next asked about my knowledge of J2EE and the next about my project management skills. The following person asked me about my .NET development skills. Another asked about my network architecture background. At the end of the day I felt like I’d interviewed for eight different positions.

Now…I really hope they didn’t expect me (or anyone else) to have all the skills they asked about. If they were trying to hire a Managing Director who also developed software in both J2EE and .NET and who also was a network architect…more power to them.

So…time to add another tip to add to the list:

6. Be crystal clear about the role you are trying to fill. A high-level description should clearly state the what/why/how/when for the role. After describing the role, make sure your interview team understands the role too.

Most positions today require employees to wear many different hats and to be very flexible in their assignments. This flexibility and multiple responsibilities can make it difficult for interviewers to communicate the essence of the position they are trying to fill but some basic understanding of the roles/responsibilities is necessary before interviewing.

Before posting a job opening, be very sure you know how to describe the job and be especially sure that the team members doing the interviewing understand the job and the role that person will play in the organization.

[tags] Human Resources, organization, Management, Leadership, Interviewing Tips [/tags]