Interviews are essentially meetings between a hiring manager and an applicant. If you were leading a meeting within your company, you wouldn’t consistently interrupt the itinerary to take personal calls or answer e-mails, would you?
Just because you are in a position to hire someone does not mean you are in the position to make people wait while you are continually interrupted. An applicant’s time is still important and engaging in this type of behavior is not only rude, it reflects poorly on your organizational style and the company culture.
Today we will go over how to prevent interruptions if you are conducting interviews. Next time we will cover how to handle this type of situation if you are an applicant.
So, Vanna, if you please . . .
1. Nip interruptions in the bud. Turn your cell phone on silent, your office phone down to a lower volume or to Do Not Disturb, and, if space allows, conduct the interview away from your computer so you won’t be tempted to peek at your computer.
2. If you are in a position where you receive a high volume of communication from your team, i.e. a lot of phone calls or continuous drop-ins from co-workers, then send out communication letting people know you will be indisposed from such-and-such time and you will be able to respond to their concerns before or after your interview(s).
3. Sometimes some people can’t take a hint. Quite often people assume their problem so important that it’s okay for them to pop their head in your door for your $0.02. Politely, but firmly let them know you will contact them as soon as the interview is over. No need to embarrass the person, but don’t let them launch into a filibuster about their issue. A quick, “I’m in the middle of an interview right now, but I will touch base with you by ______.” You don’t want to freak out the interviewee into thinking it’s going to be a marathon interview or that it will take 2.8 seconds to realize you’re not going to hire him/her. However, giving a timeframe will, hopefully, avoid incessant follow-up.
4. If you are in the middle of a time-sensitive project or a position immediate attention really is warranted, reach out to a co-worker who would be able to make a decision on your behalf. Make sure you pick someone whose judgment you trust and is in the position to make any necessary decisions.
5. Know your schedule. If there is a long-standing meeting every Monday morning or payroll runs the last week of every month, avoid scheduling interviews during or around that time.
6. Sometimes interruptions are unavoidable. Kids are sick at home. You’re short-staffed, which is why you’re hiring. If you honestly and truly cannot avoid interruptions during an interview, give the applicant a heads up at the beginning of the interview. You don’t need to give a blow-by-blow account of your kid’s tonsillitis or don’t use this as an opportunity to complain about how busy you are. A simple, “I certainly don’t want to interrupt your flow of thought during the interview, but if my phone rings, I may have to take the call. I will keep it brief so we can get back on track.”
As an interviewer, you are an ambassador of where you work. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward. People want to work for your company. Don’t dissuade that desire by exhibiting rude behavior.
Positive Thought of the Day:
“Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” – Bill Kelly