Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How about I interview you instead?

One of the drawbacks with being a professional communicator is that everyone thinks they can do your job. After all, everyone communicates right? The fact is, everyone in your organization does practice public relations, whether they know or it not. Every interaction the public has with an employee impacts the organization's reputation, and rarely is this more evident than when a company interviews candidates for a job.

I thought of this after hearing an out-of-work friend tell some rather amusing tales from his own job search. About driving back early from vacation for an interview only to discover the person he was supposed to meet wasn't there, and the person conducting the interview didn't even know what position the interview was for. About learning that a job advertised as a marketing position was actually for an administrative assistant. About being shuffled off into a messy conference room in which he spoke to the interviewer over a stack of folders.

What kind of impression are these organizations making? If a person is worthy of being called in for an interview -- and this is a guy with a lot of experience and a strong record of success -- than they are worth leaving with a favorable view of your organization regardless of whether you choose to hire them.

Last year I earned a master's degree in organizational leadership, and one of my classes was employment law. Call it HR 101; among the topics covered was what you can and cannot ask, under the law, when interviewing candidates for employment. Extremely useful, because common sense isn't always enough of a guide.

Perhaps all new managers should also take a course in PR 101. And it's worth remembering that someday, the person you are interviewing for a job may be sitting on the other side of that desk, and hopefully their memory of you will be a good one.

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