Category Archives: What NOT To Do

Top 10 Worst Interview Questions

Image result for bad interview questions

We’ve all been there: when preparing for an interview, the first place we’re likely to go is Google. “Typical interview questions”, “most asked interview questions”, “how to answer interview questions”, etc.

But here’s the problem: a lot of these questions are ineffective.


These commonly asked questions are ineffective and don’t provide opportunities for candidates to reveal what they’re truly capable of. Common questions, like “What is your biggest weakness?” create common responses, which benefit no one.

How do you know when you’re asking useless interview questions?

Here’s an easy test: next time you’re interviewing a candidate, ask yourself, “What exactly is the candidate supposed to say?” With the above question, do interviewers really expect candidates to provide a soliloquy of their biggest weaknesses and shortcomings? Chances are, 99% of candidates will attempt to present to the interviewer a semi-weakness that ultimately ends up being a strength.

This serves no purpose except maybe to see if the candidate took any time at all to prepare for the interview. You can achieve that while also gaining more valuable information about the candidate by asking better questions.


Question #1: Tell me about yourself

This question is often used to identify personality traits of the candidate, but here’s the problem: this question is just too vague. To fully understand the personality of a candidate, the question needs to be more specific. Instead of asking the candidate to talk about themselves, ask them about their hobbies and how they relate to the company’s industry.

For example, if a graphic designer is applying for a job at a gaming company, it would be pertinent to ask questions like “What’s your favorite video game art and why?” Then, follow up by asking them what they would do differently. The interviewer could also inquire about the types of games the candidate has recently played as a way of measuring how engaged they are with the gaming industry as a whole.

Question #2: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

While not exactly a downright horrible question, it shares some of the same problems as the previous example: it’s just too vague and generic to inspire an interesting answer from the candidate. Ask this question and you’re likely to get a rehearsed answer which will necessitate further questions to get a more detailed response.

Instead, ask the candidate to elaborate on a specific skill, project, or responsibility listed on their resume. This not only allows your candidate to paint a more complete picture of their experience, but it also allows you to distill any strengths or weaknesses as they go into more detail.

Question #3: Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Asking a candidate this question is akin to asking a high schooler what they want to be when they grow up: you might get a decent answer, but chances are, the person is not likely to be 100% sure.

Many employers use this question to see how interested the candidate is in staying with the company over the long-term; however, many candidates will respond by declaring that they would indeed want to be working at your company.

These sorts of answers are more than likely to be a ploy: sure, they may really want to work for your company, but who’s to say for how long? If it’s loyalty that you seek from the candidate, you’ll get a better idea of how long they will stick around by looking at their work history.

Question #4: What is your current salary?

Ask this question and the room is bound to go dead silent. This question almost always makes for an awkward situation, not to mention it is illegal to ask in some states now.

Instead, ask what their desired salary range is. This will give you a better idea if you and the candidate are on the same page.

Question #5: Why should we hire you?

This type of question elicits a canned response.

All candidates will respond to this question by presenting as many unique value propositions about themselves in the most positive light possible, which in the end, doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

Question #6: Tell us about the type of person you’ve had the most trouble communicating with.

This question will only force the candidate to speak negatively about an individual, or, provide a response like “I get along with everyone”.

Instead, ask the candidate to describe a situation where they had to work through a difficult problem with a team, and encourage them to provide as many details as possible. This way you get to the root of what you are asking (how the candidate deals with tough people situations) without making your candidate feel like they can’t be honest without seeming like a poor team player.

Question #7: What would your last boss say about you?

Ask this question and you’re likely to be bombarded with a series of generic accolades: hard worker, smart, quick thinker, team player, reliable, and on and on.

Simply put, no candidate is going to tell you what their bosses would say about them; instead, rely on the responses when checking the candidate’s references. Although references are also fairly biased, they are usually less prepared for these questions than a candidate. making it easier to tell through inflections in tone or stumbling over words whether they are being truthful.

Question #8: Why have you been unemployed for so long?

There are a bevy of reasons as to why a candidate might’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, and none of them are worth talking about. All that matters is the candidate’s experience, skill set, and how they handle the interview; there’s really no need to dig into personal matters 99% of the time.

Question #9: Why do you want to work here?

Experience, money, opportunity—these are all answers that make an appearance here, and for you, the interviewer, these give you nothing.

Why else would the candidate be sitting before you? They are there to better themselves and to make a living, and you can help both them and yourself by avoiding these types of time-wasting questions.

Instead, ask them what they find interesting about the company or what they look for in a company culture. This way you can see how much time (if any) they spent preparing for the interview and if they are even interested in the company/space and are not solely applying just to get a paycheck.

Question #10: Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

While asking this question might reveal character flaws, you’re still unlikely to receive an honest answer as to why a candidate was let go from a previous employer.

Additionally, this question may inspire the candidate to speak negatively about a previous employer, which can bring about unwanted awkwardness and hostility during the interview.

You can get the same information in a more honest fashion by simply going through a candidate’s resume and asking them about their role and thoughts about each one.


As a final thought, remember that the goal of an interview is to gauge how a candidate might help your company become more productive and a better place to work. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for general questions designed to gauge a candidate’s “workplace fitness”; but this does mean that all questions asked should inspire the candidate to provide you with unique and honest answers.

6 Mistakes That Could Be Preventing You From Finding Qualified Candidates

Preventing You From Finding Qualified CandidatesTime and time again, we hear that there’s a lack of qualified candidates on the job market. Despite record amounts of candidates entering the job market, this has been repeated by recruiters for months. In fact, recent studies have shown that recruiters feel it’s harder to hire qualified candidates now than it was only 6 months ago. But with an availability of so much talent in the marketplace, it should be relatively easy to find candidates. Even passive candidates (approximately 75% of the workforce) are becoming interested in making moves. It’s time to audit your hiring process. It could be that you’re not finding qualified candidates because of the systems you’ve put in place.

If you believe some recruiters, qualified candidates are a bit of an endangered species these days. Colleges didn’t suddenly stop teaching critical thinking skills, reading, or math. And candidates didn’t suddenly stop becoming interested in finding a job to support themselves. So what could really be at play here?  Let’s examine how your hiring process could be preventing you from finding qualified candidates:

  1. You have no employer brand. There are way too many anonymous Craigslist job postings that say something along the lines of “Top employer seeks top candidate for xyz role.” When you dig into the job posting, candidates come away confused. When an employer doesn’t stand behind their brand, it is a red flag to candidates. These days, transparency is prized among candidates. They want to be able to search the business online, read reviews, and come away with a sense of what it might like to work for that employer. They don’t want to be in the dark about a new job.
  2. The job description is generic. Ideally, all candidates will be great communicators who play well with others. But often times, the job description is so bland and generic that a candidate can’t seem to get a sense for what they would actually be doing on a day to day basis. Yes, you’re seeking a Product Evangelist, but what does that mean? How would they be spending their time? Candidates want to be able to envision whether they would really be successful or satisfied in the role prior to applying.
  3. You place cultural fit above ability. Often times, when there’s a problem with a workplace’s culture, they shift gears in recruiting. You start to see the hiring managers looking for someone with the right attitude to fit in. However, attitude doesn’t always equate with a candidate’s aptitude to perform the job. You can hire the nicest person in the world to do your payroll, but if they don’t know the basics of the job, they could be doing more harm than good in their position. It’s important that the recruiting team focus on finding a candidate that has a high aptitude to do the job first and then assess whether the candidate could conceivably fit into the team without disruption.
  4. You hire in your own image. Many hiring managers are guilty of hiring someone they see as a reflection of themselves.  It’s human nature to want to relate to someone, but it doesn’t predict that the person will be a qualified candidate. Yes, they may be from a similar background, but does that background include the most important skills required for the job?
  5. Soft skills aren’t prioritized. Soft skills can be critical to a candidate’s success in a new position. But they are often way down the list of characteristics a qualified candidate would possess. Skills like critical thinking should be considered critical to professional jobs. You can teach an employee to do a job, but it’s his or her critical thinking skills that will determine the positive or poor choices they make towards success in the role.
  6. Only exact matches in years of experience are considered. There really is very little difference between an employee with 9 years of experience and 10 years. But many recruiters make these arbitrary decisions that lead to qualified candidates being rejected. Is an employee with 9 years on the job and advanced skills truly less desirable than someone who has 10 years of experience and no crossover skills?

Qualified candidates are out there and they’re active in the job market right now. But it may be that your hiring process is preventing your recruiting team from recognizing their value. It’s time to take a look at revamping the process from recruitment to hire. Don’t let qualified candidates slip through your fingers because you’ve set up the recruiting process to exclude them for some arbitrary reason.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Do You Know the Difference Between Ineffective and Effective Onboarding?

Ineffective vs. Effective OnboardingEveryone gets a case of tunnel vision occasionally. Stuck heads-down in our own work, we forget how valuable an outside perspective can be. We need other people to help us find the mistakes we miss, whether you’re writing an article or employing more effective onboarding at your company. Below are some guidelines about the differences between effective and ineffective onboarding when it comes to some of the most important aspects of hiring new employees.

When It Comes to Timeframes

Ineffective Onboarding: You want everything done on the first day. You can’t afford to have your new hire stuck in the drudgery of getting to know the workplace, their coworkers, or what their role at the company will be outside the job description. Companies with bad onboarding tend to have a very narrow view of the roles they’re hiring for and won’t implement onboarding that allows the new hire to see themselves as someone performing a job for the company. It’s part of why 60% of companies don’t set onboarding milestones for their employees. They don’t think it will matter as long as the candidate can do the job.

Effective Onboarding: You know getting an employee up to speed takes time, and what you do as you’re teaching a new employee the ropes of the job does matters. The first few months of an employee’s time at a company are crucial, and guiding new hires on a high-performance path is a leading sign of effective onboarding. The biggest thing 53% of people who left their job within six months of getting hired cited as a problem? “Review and feedback of early contributions.” You can’t give an employee a set of instructions and leave them alone because good employees can and will do more than follow them.

When It Comes to Paperwork

Ineffective Onboarding: You hand an employee their W4s, i-9s or 1099s on their first day and leave them to it. This is isn’t a terrible idea, per se (you should always make sure your employee has their paperwork done). It’s just ineffective. There are much better ways of handling compliance, and the faster you finish new hire paperwork, the more time you have to get through that new employee onboarding checklist (you have one of those, right?).

Effective Onboarding: You make sure paperwork is never a concern, for both the company and the employee. The candidate fills out the paperwork before the first day, which many companies advise their employees to do. Because all of the paperwork is online, candidates have access to automatic form-filling; for example, they entered their name, birthdate and SSN on the first page, so they don’t have to fill it in again – the platform automates it for them. This reduces the amount of time employees spend on forms, then you can focus on the other parts of your new hire’s introduction to the workplace.

When It Comes to Cost

Ineffective Onboarding: You take the easy route. You don’t want to spend on any sort of onboarding because it’s not worth it. “We’re a great company,” you might think, “we don’t need to jump through all the hoops others do. We’ll hire so well everyone will be productive!” That’s a nice dream to have, but the reality is that those companies are going to suffer the costs later in a form of increased turnover and lower employee morale.

Effective Onboarding: You make all of the appropriate stops. The best things in life are free, but there are plenty of good things worth paying for, including effective onboarding. When you pay for onboarding, you leave a good first impression on your new employees, and this is crucial to developing the kinds of relationships that build loyal employees. Spending on onboarding now will develop your employees faster, make them more productive, and pave the way for longevity. In essence, effective onboarding pays for itself.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

The Challenges of In-House Recruiting

Challenges of In-House Recruiting

The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” Steve Jobs

Recruiting the right talent is exceptionally important and will, ultimately, determine how successful a business is. But how do you get recruitment right?

There are two options available to organizations; use external recruiters, or keep it in-house. While there are benefits to keeping recruitment in-house, including consistency throughout the process, there are also many challenges to choosing this form of recruitment.

If you want to explore in-house recruiting, here are some important considerations to factor into your decision.

Is In-House Recruiting Really Cheaper?

Perhaps the prime motivating factor for recruiting in-house is a desire to keep costs down. This can certainly be cost effective when recruiting for occasional roles, particularly non-specialist ones. But, although many companies feel that the cost of external recruitment is too high, it can sometimes end up costing substantially more to keep the process in-house.

If you choose to employ full time in-house recruiters and you find that there are times when recruitment is quiet, you will still have the overhead of paying a full time salary. With external recruitment however, you are only paying the agency, as and when you need them, and only if a candidate is successfully placed.

Time and Resources

Many companies don’t hire full time in-house recruiters, but instead, use their current staff to deal with the process. As you would expect, this can take up a lot of time and resources that could be used for other aspects of the business. If you are using key members of staff to undertake the advertising, shortlisting and interviewing process, you are taking them away from their actual role and this will have a knock on effect on their productivity, and profitability.

The other challenge in terms of time and resources is that if the new hire doesn’t work out, you will never get that time back! Alternatively, a recruitment agency will be able to dedicate their time to the process, which means your own staff can get on with other work.


Another challenge of in-house recruitment is that identifying the best talent for your role requires experience. Short of employing an in-house recruiter, do staff members know what they are looking for in a CV? Is there a danger that they might miss a strong candidate and shortlist others that are not such a good fit? Interviewing is also a skill that develops with experience and therefore, if you do recruit in-house, make sure you have your most experienced interviewer on the panel.

Employer Brand

Your whole recruitment process is a reflection on your employer brand. If you want to install confidence in a prospective employee that your agency can offer them the opportunities they desire, first impressions count. A smooth running, professional recruitment process, where a candidate’s time is valued and feedback is delivered in a timely manner, will do this.

If your in-house recruitment process, particularly if it is not being undertaken by a dedicated recruitment team, is a little ad hoc and homespun it can be damaging for your employer brand, and sow the seeds of doubt in a candidate’s mind.

While none of the issues outlined above are insurmountable, they do need to be addressed for your recruitment process to be effective. Weighing up the pros and cons of different recruitment models is a good first step.

Going to exceptional lengths to recruit the best people does not necessarily mean choosing one recruitment model over another, but it does mean doing whatever you choose well.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

11 Things Recruiters Do That Scare Off Candidates

11 Things Recruiters Do That Scare Off CandidatesWhen thinking about the recruitment process, the candidate’s behavior is often considered more important than the recruiter’s. The candidate may want the job, but the recruiter wants someone to fill the position just as badly. If the recruiter doesn’t pay attention to their own behavior, she risks giving the wrong impression of the company, or even scaring the candidate off entirely. By avoiding the following behaviors, you can attract candidates and give the best impression of yourself and your business.

1. Not Arriving on Time or Being Rushed

It’s important for the candidate to show they’re serious about the role by arriving for an interview on time, but this also goes for the recruiter. Remember, an interview is an opportunity for your candidate to decide whether they want to work for your company. First impressions count both ways.

2. Not Being Prepared

Speaking of impressions, it bodes badly if recruiters aren’t prepared for the interview. If they spend the first few minutes of the interview reading over a resume, it shows that they aren’t taking the hiring process seriously. Make the time and do your homework on your candidates, and show them that you’re serious about considering them for the job.

3. Being Inappropriate

The culture in your workplace may be informal, but don’t let it bleed into your interview. You may think that casually cursing or over-sharing with your candidate shows that your company is an easygoing and friendly place to work, but it can actually send the message that you don’t take your work seriously. It can also make your candidate wonder what it’s like to actually work with you. You can make the candidate aware of the office culture, but don’t overdo it.

4. Not Knowing Enough About the Position

If you’re going to decide whether the candidate is the right fit for the role offered, you’re going to need to know exactly what that role is. Merely skimming the job description before entering the interview won’t be enough. Not having this knowledge shows disrespect to candidates too, as they’ve put in the time and effort to prepare for the interview, and their time is just as precious as the recruiter’s. Make sure you know exactly what you need from candidates before you meet them.

5. Not Taking Notes

You may feel that you can conduct the interview without jotting down any notes, but your candidate may think differently. Not taking notes shows that you can either remember everything perfectly, or that you aren’t interested, and no one will think it’s the former. The candidate may draw the conclusion that you don’t care about the people they’re interviewing that day, and that the job’s not important. Do yourself a favor and grab a notepad and pen before entering the interview room.

6. Dragging Out the Interview Process

Depending on the role on offer, there may be several checks and interviews you have to do before you can offer a candidate a job. However, if they’re already experienced and you’re putting them through multiple tests, they could well be turned off by your company. They’ve already proven their worth and gained their experience elsewhere. Avoid dragging out the process and potentially frustrating an excellent candidate.

7. Not Listening to What They Have to Say

To decide whether you want a candidate, you need to let them tell their story and demonstrate just why you should hire them. However, many recruiters make the mistake of taking over the conversation and making it about themselves. Make sure the conversation is actually a two-way dialogue, and allow candidates to sell themselves.

8. Not Advertising the Role Properly

Attracting the best candidates means writing the best ad you possibly can. If your ad is poorly worded, too vague or full of meaningless buzzwords, then many candidates will stay away. Give enough information to entice candidates to apply, and make it precise enough to attract the right people for the role. Take APG Exhibit’s employment page, for example. It lists quantifiable, minimum requirements while also sharing the benefits, including the opportunity to work from home. It also has a very visible “Apply Now” button that clearly directs visitors to the next step.

9. Listing Too Many Requirements

On the other hand, it’s tempting to write a detailed, exhaustive list of all the qualifications your candidates should have. Resist this temptation, as being too specific in what you want can turn candidates away. People won’t apply for the role if they feel they can’t fit a precise specification of a dream candidate that could only exist in a fairy tale. Keep your expectations realistic and list only the essential requirements.

10. Not Keeping an Open Mind

You may get applications from candidates that may not entirely match your specifications, but don’t dismiss them out of hand. Sticking rigidly to a defined set of rules can mean that you’ll let fantastic candidates slip through your fingers. Remember, the experience an applicant has may translate well into a different role. Keep an open mind and you’ll find you’ll have a much wider pool to work with.

11. Not Keeping in Touch

Anyone who’s ever interviewed for a job knows how awful it is waiting for a response. If you neglect to keep your candidates in the loop, they may well go looking for better offers by the time you get around to them. Conversely, make offers of work too soon and it can seem that you’re looking for any warm body to fill the role. Keep them informed of your process, and they’re more likely to keep you in mind as a potential employer.

Most of the above is common sense, but it can lost in the chaos that is hiring a new employee. Remember that your candidates are human, and they’re sizing you up just as much as you them, and you’ll be able to attract the best people for the job.

Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Recruiting Pitfalls and How To Avoid Them

Recruiting Pitfalls

Recruiting is a fine art. You’re part PR, part private investigator, and part psychic. There is a formula involved, but then there are times when you just have to go with your gut. Everyone collects unlikely success stories — big gambles gone so right, and unfortunate mistake stories — little oversights that taught a big lesson.

There are some mistakes, though, that you don’t have to make yourself. From sourcing and screening, to interviewing and hiring, nine seasoned recruitment professionals talked with us about some of the industry’s biggest blunders and how to avoid them.

Common Talent Sourcing Mistakes

Some of the most costly recruiting mistakes happen at the very beginning of the process — not because they’re the biggest blunders, but because they either limit your efforts too much or they let in too many of the wrong candidates. Tripping at the starting line throws off your whole pace.

With over a decade of recruiting experience, Tony Palm — currently the Founder of Post-Military Employment — knows how important it is to keep his options open.

“Focusing all my sourcing on one or two job boards, or worse yet, the company ATS, is a huge mistake.”

Of course, an ATS is a great resource, but if you are actively searching for the perfect candidate to fill an immediate opening, make sure you’re considering a variety of sources. Ideally, of course, you have a robust employee referral program and system in place, and you are constantly collecting and managing top candidates in your industry.

As you collect names for consideration, though, don’t swing the door so wide open that you then have to filter through hundreds of completely unqualified candidates.

The team at PI Worldwide understands the value of the first step. PI Worldwide uses science-driven insights to recruit and develop teams, so they are focused on measurable results.

“The first critical step in the hiring process is to define what would make someone successful in the role. Further, hiring managers often make the mistake of focusing more on activities and tactical goals than on detailing all of the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) that an employee will need to be successful in the role. A well-rounded job description provides clarity around the needs of the job for both the internal team and external job seekers.” – Matt Poepsel, PI Worldwide

Sourcing talent is often overlooked as recruiters develop hiring strategies for their organizations, but it might be one of the most valuable steps when maximizing efficiency down the road.

The 3 Don’ts of Screening

If you are continuously building and maintaining your applicant pool, then screening candidates is you first real step when a position becomes available. This can be especially challenging if there are a lot of new names responding to a job listing, but avoiding a few common mistakes can dramatically improve the process.

1. Don’t Rush.

If there are a lot of resumes to look at, it’s tempting to toss each one aside at the first bad line.

“Another common mistake is rejecting a particular candidate based on a (too) hasty review of his resume.” – Tony Palm, Post-Military Employment

Take time to understand each applicant before you decide he or she isn’t the right person for the job.

Recruiters like to say that some people only look good on paper, which is why interviews are important, but the opposite is also true — sometimes good candidates don’t look great on paper. If you really want the best person for the job, take the time to make sure your application process includes more than the standard questions and resumes.

2. Don’t Fall in Love.

Recruiters are people too, and we can be influenced against our better judgment sometimes.

Marcus Moore has been the President, CEO, and Founder of Genesis Professional Staffing, since 2003. He has learned how to guard himself against a pretty resume.

“Don’t fall in love with a resume. It is probably filled with mistruths. Don’t fall in love with degrees and where they went to school. Some of the most educated people in the world have no common sense! The other issue that I have seen is that some people continued degrees that don’t really go together. I have found that sometimes this because they were afraid to enter the real word, and still have no idea what they want to do.” – Marcus Moore, Genesis Professional Staffing

3. Don’t Rely on Email.

Rebecca White is an Area Director for Kavaliro — a Florida staffing agency. She understands the temptation to stick with the convenience of email, but knows a more effective way.

“Don’t rely on email to contact candidates. You need to pick up the phone and call, and keep calling if that person looks like a great candidate. Email is a good secondary method to reach people, but calling them is much faster and efficient.” – Rebecca White, Kavaliro

If you have a good pool of candidates to draw from, screening them for a particular position shouldn’t be a nightmare. Whatever your talent pool looks like, though, if you screen them well the interview stage can be a breeze.

Interviewing Pitfalls: Ignoring Technology and Blurry Focus

The interview process can be stressful for everyone involved. As no one performs at his or her best under stress, eliminating some of the key anxieties and heading off some common pitfalls from the start, will enable a recruiter to get everything he needs from an interview.

If anyone knows interviewing, it’s Jonathan Burston, founder of the Interview Expert Academy, with over 20 years of experience. His key piece of advice for interviews: be objective.

“No matter how many times you see a candidate, remain objective. Just because you liked one candidate in the first interview, and thought he/she could work for you, doesn’t mean that you will feel the same in subsequent interviews. Interviewees are not guaranteed to perform in every interview. Therefore, you need to keep an open mind.” – Jonathan Burston, Interview Expert Academy

There are other tools and tips that will up your interview game, so you can make the best decision for your organization or client.

Use Video Interviewing

Video interviewing may be one of the best things to happen to the hiring process in a long time. It’s a versatile tool that saves time and money for everyone involved.

David Waring is Co-Founder and Editor at — a website dedicated to serving small business owners. He uses video interviewing as an added step before live interviews.

“We don’t do in-person interviews until it is clear that the person we are speaking to is someone that we would seriously consider for the job. Using phone and Skype to weed out those that are not, saves a ton of time.” – David Waring, Fit Small Business

Many recruitment professionals still favor a live interview eventually, but many also recognize that an experienced hiring professional can get almost as much from a video interview as well.

Shadi Ghani has been working in the recruitment industry for over a decade, and recently co-founded Culture & Company Inc. to specialize in marketing and digital marketing recruitment.

“Always meet your candidates in person. (At the very least do a Skype meeting.) Some people look great on paper and that’s all.” – Shadi Ghani, Culture & Company Inc.

“Nothing ever beats a face-to-face interview. You can learn so much just by looking at people’s expressions. If an interview can’t be scheduled in person, do so by video chat. If the person interviews in a distracted setting and without dressing as he/she would in person, this tells you of their lack of attention to detail.” – Marcus Moore, GP Staffing

There are advantages to video interviews that you can’t get from a live meeting, including the ability to review a recorded session and/or share it with other hiring personnel who were not in the original meeting. You can avoid a lot of bumps in the road by taking advantage of this great tool.

Focus on the Candidate

Interviewers mistakenly fall into a rut when they approach a meeting as the presenter. Behind the scenes you are trying to find the right candidate for the job, but in a face-to-face, consider that you are trying to find the right job for the candidate.

“Diving right in to the position you have available, without finding out what is motivating the candidate to consider new roles, is a mistake. If you find out what the candidate is looking for right away, you will know if your position would even be worth pitching to him/her — saving you both time. You can also better tailor your pitch by understanding his/her needs.” - Rebecca White, Kavaliro

A good candidate can tailor his presentation of himself to your company’s needs, but then you end up hiring someone who is just a good talker. Focus on the applicant himself during the interview, and while there are a lot of questions to ask, Ghani insists on this one:

“Understand the key driver for why the candidate is looking to leave his/her current company. Is it the boss? He/she wants more money?” - Shadi Ghani, Culture & Company Inc.

Understanding why the candidate is making a change will help you determine if he/she is a good fit for your brand culture and for the job position in question.

All the Wisdom Without the Mistakes

From sourcing (which, hopefully, you’re always doing anyway) to screening, little oversights can trickle down to create big headaches. Everybody knows that interviewing well is a big deal, but it’s amazing how the right technology and the right focus can smooth the process. Throughout the process, knowing what not to do can be just as helpful as know what to do.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Why the “Post and Pray” Method of Recruiting Is a Thing of the Past

Don't Post and PrayReality check! Are you aware that recruiting has changed? Gone are the days of “Post and Pray”: where you post a job listing and wait for the swarm of candidates to come a runnin’. Today’s recruiters have bigger, better technology but we also have a veritable fire hose of candidates to deal with.

The baby boomers are retiring in droves and while we have a large market of graduates stepping up to the plate, we are still seeing candidate shortages across the board.

This coupled with the changing attitudes toward work of the Millenials vs. those exiting the workforce, it can leave recruiters with a difficult job to find the right fit. The job market has shifted and new methods of recruiting are coming in to play – in today’s market, companies have to bring their A-game if they want the top players. The bottom line question here is: “Where does recruitment marketing fit in to your overall corporate recruiting strategy?”

Let’s get something straight: posting a quirky job listing is a far cry from using recruitment marketing in your recruiting strategy. It is no longer enough to slap a mission statement on some branded frisbees, companies are stepping up and presenting their own unique experience to candidates in a competitive fashion. This is not about gimmicks or tactics, it’s about a total strategic effort that begins with recruiting.

This next generation of candidates don’t necessarily expect more from the company that they choose to work for, but they are most certainly on a hunt for something different than their predecessors. So do a deep dive (first) into what makes working at your company different. If the answer is nothing, change that before embarking on any recruitment marketing plan. Some questions to whet your appetite:

  • What can a candidate expect to learn?
  • What sort of work-life support do you offer? (This doesn’t have to mean work from home, it can mean having a playroom in the office or letting the volleyball team take off at 3pm on Thursday as long as their tasks are done)
  • How will a candidate be treated by their manager? Their team? Their executive?
  • What kinds of projects will they be working on?

Once you are in tune with what you have to offer, you need to align it with what your target candidates really want. You can’t do that without research. Demographics are playing a huge role in how employers craft their branding initiatives nowadays and the findings are not only surprising to even veteran researchers, they are changing on a regular basis.

  • Know your target market: What might work for some, won’t work for others. Does your set of candidates put an emphasis on social media freedom, salary, vacation time, or something as small as dress code? Know what they’re looking for, and let them know you offer that.
  • Present an all around brand experience. Even before the interview, the candidate should have a clear picture of your company culture and employer brand. You should be blaring your message on social media, job listings, your website and employer branding videos. This all ties in to recruiting the right people for the right job and creating a synergistic work environment. Strategic communication is crucial during the employer branding experience.
  • Keep it real: Yes, a big part of this process is to attract the talent that you want and need, however, be honest about what you really are. Don’t present a 9-5, suit-wearing, clock-punching business as a fun-loving, jeans-wearing environment. The goal here isn’t to misrepresent yourself in order to get those great candidates, it is to present yourself in the best light and let them know what you can offer them. If you are rigid and demanding, that’s okay. But you need to ensure that you balance it with the positive sides of that equation, like ambitious, driven and unparalleled.
  • Don’t forget the website! The website is hugely important in candidate experience, especially the latter stages. We don’t so much as walk into a burger joint without yelping it, you know they’re going to be all over that website. Make sure that it is authentically representing you. It’s not enough to have a nice, easy to navigate site, your career portal should really reflect how you wish to be seen by candidates and in turn, show them what it’s like to work for your organization. How do you do this? By taking advantage of how simple it’s become to take pictures, upload videos and write posts about the burning questions in your candidates’ minds.

In this new climate for recruiting, employer brand plays a huge role. This new workforce has a, “the ball is in my court”, mentality and it’s showing. They will hold out and hunt around until they find what they’re looking for. Are you it?

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Death by Interview: Revealing the Pain Caused by Excessive Interviews

Excessive Interviewing

“Death by interview” is the harsh but unfortunately all-too accurate name given to the majority of corporate interview processes because of the way that they literally abuse candidates.

Death by interview is worth closer examination because harsh treatment during interviews impacts almost every working American, simply because each one of us is subjected to many interviews during our lifetime.

The hiring interview shares a love/hate status, where even though applicants initially hope to be granted an interview, once they are finally notified, they almost universally undergo a wave of stress and painful memories that causes them to stop looking forward to them.

Death by Interview Component No. 1 — An Excessive Number of Interviews

Every job applicant understands the need for interviews, so the pain point occurs when an excessive amount are required. The CEO of one well-known technology firm dictated that every candidate for every job undergo an astonishing 17 interviews. Of course no one knew how or why he arrived at that outrageous number of interviews.

Google is another firm that has justifiably earned a reputation of demanding a double-digit number of interviews. Its justification was that because hiring impacts everyone that the new hire interacts with, “everyone at the firm should be able to interview a candidate.” Fortunately, its well-earned death-by-interview reputation forced Google to eventually conduct internal research that demonstrated that “after four interviews, you get diminishing returns.” And since Google is interviewing for positions that require advanced skills and innovation, it’s time to realize that for most jobs, any number beyond three interviews is probably unnecessary. Obviously when the optimal number of interviews is exceeded, not only does the firm receive little additional value, but each of the candidates must suffer unnecessarily.

Pain Points Caused by Excessive Interviews

An excessive number of interviews means that even though the candidate themselves may not literally “die,” the chances increase that their spirit, ego, and their feeling of self-worth will unnecessarily be crushed. Some of the problems caused by an excessive number of interviews include:

  • Stress — Excessive interviews that are stretched out over a long period of time result in a long, stressful wait, which in turn places unnecessary pressure and discomfort on both the candidate and their family.
  • Forced lies – If a candidate is currently working or if they live in another city, going to multiple separate interviews requires them to make many phony excuses or even lie to their boss in order to get away for each interview.
  • Lost wages — If the candidate is paid hourly, each interview and its related travel time forces a candidate to lose significant wages. Even if they work in a salaried job, frequently missing work will likely hurt their career.
  • Firms suffer too — Holding an excessive number of interviews will not improve hiring decisions but it will waste both manager and recruiter time. And when applicants post negative messages about your interview process on the Internet, death by interview will eventually damage the firm’s external image and future recruiting.

Why Corporations Frequently Require an Excessive Number of Interviews

There is no legal requirement that requires a firm to conduct a series of interviews with each candidate. Instead, fear is often the reason for so many interviews. This fear of a hiring mistake causes most to support continuing interviewing to the point where every doubt is minimized. Unfortunately, because interviews have a low predictive value, no number of them will guarantee that the individual is a perfect fit.

Death by Interview Component No. 2 — Repetition

The second major component of “death by interview” occurs when subsequent interviewers inexplicably ask the same question that the candidate has already answered during a past interview. Over multiple interviews, repeatedly being asked the same question is confusing to the candidate. One firm that had the wisdom to survey applicants about the interview process found that candidates were frustrated and even angry about repeat questions. The survey further revealed that the repetition gave candidates the impression that the firm’s management was uncoordinated and disjoined.

Pain Points Caused by Interview Question Repetition

Repeatedly asking the same question during subsequent interviews has a number of negative impacts both on the firm and the candidate. They include:

  • A feeling of failure — In addition to the obvious confusion and frustration, asking the same question over and over can make candidates feel like they answered the question incorrectly the first time. This could cause the candidate to change their answer when a question is repeated, which would provide hiring managers with contradicting information and that could make a hiring decision less accurate.
  • Appearing unorganized – Repeating the same questions can send a message to candidates that the corporation is not organized. Another practice that may make the organization appear to lack organization occurs when interviewers ask questions whose answers can be clearly found right in the provided resume. Together these practices may create a negative image that may cause candidates to drop out of the recruiting process prematurely and if criticism of the practice reaches the Internet, it may also reduce future applications.
  • Less information provided – Obviously repeating interview questions means that fewer new questions will be asked. Asking fewer questions means that less “new information” will be added that could improve the hiring decision.

Understanding Why Successive Interviewers Repeat the Same Questions

Different interviewers repeat the same question often because interviews are not structured, planned, scripted, or coordinated. No one in HR assigns specific questions to the different interviewers, based on their expertise, nor does anyone in HR track which questions were actually asked. Corporate interview manuals that suggest sample questions can also make it too easy for every manager to simply ask the first questions that appear on the sample list.

Death by Interview Component No. 3 — Unnecessary Uncertainty

The final factor that causes interviews to be painful is the amount of uncertainty that the candidate must endure. The abuse occurs when candidates are unnecessarily kept in the dark about the interview process and what is expected from them during it.

Pain Points Caused by Excessive Uncertainty

Some of the pain points that are caused by unnecessary secrecy and uncertainty include:

  • Uncertainty causes frustration – Uncertainty surrounding what to expect during all aspects of the interview may cause the candidate many unnecessary sleepless nights. Areas of uncertainty that could easily be cleared up include: What are the steps? How long will the process take? What skills they are looking for? Which individuals will be doing the interviewing (and their role) and who will make the final hiring decision?
  • Transparency is expected – Many candidates, especially those from the new generation, expect a high degree of corporate openness and transparency. As a result, failing to provide a great deal of upfront information may cause some candidates to prematurely drop out of the process.
  • Uncertainty in feedback – The high level of uncertainty is often continued when the firm fails to provide timely feedback to candidates. If an inquiry to find out their progress or how to do better next time gets an unsatisfactory response, they may permanently give up on the firm and advise their friends and colleagues to do the same.

Why Candidates Are Unnecessarily Kept in the Dark

There is no legal restriction that prohibits companies from telling candidates upfront about every aspect of the interview process. Instead, purposely keeping candidates in the dark serves the purpose of allowing unprepared hiring managers the opportunity to “wing it” throughout the interviewing process.

It turns out that if you promise nothing, there is little chance that you will be challenged for failing to meet your promises. This uncertainty is possible because most candidates are relatively powerless, so they have few options but to unquestioningly endure. When it comes to the issue of a lack of feedback, many in HR are adverse to conflict, so they routinely refuse to provide information that may raise further questions, conflicts, or even legal issues.

Final Thoughts

“Death by interview” is a corporate practice that is worthy of a conversation during corporate recruiting meetings, simply because most of the pain is unnecessary.

If recruiting leaders are to understand and limit “death by interview” they first must gauge the problem and increase awareness by developing metrics covering total interview time, interview question repetition, and candidate frustration levels.

Some might mistakenly assume that death by interview and improving the candidate experience are less relevant today during a down economy. But it is a major mistake for corporate leaders to make that assumption, because if they do, their corporation will pay a heavy price after the “war for talent” returns and the power begins to shift over to the candidate. Using any customer service standard, the typical corporate interview process simply fails to make the grade!

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

To Recruit Better Candidates, Stop Talking About Company Values

Milton - Work SatisfactionIn a UK survey, 77% of retail employees admitted they were not engaged with their company’s brand values. I’m convinced the remaining 23% were lying. Company values are often at best vague, and at worst, patronizing. They scream “we’re just like everyone else” and do nothing to help your retention or recruitment efforts.

Take PriceWaterhouseCooper as an example. Their company values are “Excellence, Teamwork and Leadership.”

Has anyone ever decided to apply for a job because they are driven by excellence, teamwork and leadership? Unlikely. And the minute an employee sees those corporate values in a Death By Powerpoint session, they’ll probably close their eyes and imagine they were somewhere else. (On a beach, probably.)

But there’s a “but.” There’s always a “but.” Company values are not engaging for many reasons. Imagine if they were, though. Imagine the pulling power of company values that actually mean something, that differentiate your company from your competition—so you can recruit the best possible candidates.

Here’s how to recruit new employees who really care about your values:

Start with one defining word that represents your company

Think of Apple—what’s the one thing they’re known for? Innovation. Everything at Apple starts with innovation, then goes from there. That one word attracts people to buy Apple products, and the same word attracts candidates to work for Apple.

If you can sum your organization up in one word, what would it be? For PriceWaterhouseCooper, it could be something like “rigor.” Excellence and teamwork are not particularly interesting, because these are givens in any successful organization.

You can start with something like excellence, but then you need to hone your focus and ask “Excellence in what?” Forget vanilla values everyone else can lay claim to. Find one word that really defines your organization, and use it as the cornerstone of your company values. That word should speak to both candidates who are a good fit for your organization and your best-performing employees.

Strive to be a company that can grow potential employees’ careers

No one accepts a job because they believe in the company’s “excellence.” So why did they join?

Among the many reasons, you’d find job satisfaction, career progression opportunities, pay and benefits – all of them entirely self-serving. Nobody joins a company solely to help the company grow—that might be part of their motivations, but people also join for their own professional benefit.

It’s important that, as a recruiter, you aspire to represent your organization as a place people want to be a part of. You aspire to go somewhere, and you aspire to grow. The implication is that your aspiration will rub off on your candidates—you can give them the opportunity to not just pay the rent, but to develop either internally or eventually with another business. You’re a stepping stone (everyone is; get over it), so be a good one. Discuss career paths openly, even if those paths lead out of your business.

Build your recruiting practices around your true values

Rather than hoping your values might engage employees or encourage someone to come and work for you, use them as the basis for recruiting. Anyone can say they believe in your brand values, but do they actively live and breathe them? I work for a digital marketing agency, and if candidates aren’t blogging or tweeting, they aren’t a good fit for us. They can have all the skills in the world, but if they don’t live and breathe digital, they won’t fit in.

If you’re going to build an organization that’s true to its values, then recruitment is at the very core of that approach. Marissa Mayer knows this, which is why she insists on interviewing every candidate at Yahoo herself. Her aim is to overhaul Yahoo’s working culture, and that starts with its people and their own values.

Remember: it’s not all about you; it’s about them

I believe we have to turn the company-focused approach on its head. Companies are stepping stones along the way to someone’s retirement. People move on all the time; teams change, merge and float off into separate entities. Leaders change, even visions and values change. So instead of “cascading down” values and objectives, think of “radiating out” values.

Think back to Apple and innovation. Recruit people who match your vision, not those who tick the skills boxes. Because nobody cares about your company values…they care about their own!

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

4 Disconnects In The Hiring Process That Could Be Costing You Valuable Talent

Angry Job Applicant

Careerbuilder released a survey of 374 HR professionals and 319 job candidates asking them how technology degrades the hiring process. Here are a few problems reported.

Disconnect #1:

53% of HR professionals believe a long application process helps to screen out unenthusiastic job candidates. Unfortunately for employers, over 60% of job candidates reported that they started an application process but dropped out because it was too complicated or lengthy. Just how long and complicated of a procedure are candidates enduring? 54% of HR professionals report that their process takes over 20 minutes to complete but over 60% of job seekers feel it should take no more than 20 minutes and nearly 30% feel it should not take more than 10 minutes! Here we have a huge disconnect. Job candidates, especially passive candidates not necessarily as hungry as active job seekers, are removing themselves from contention to avoid a lengthy and possibly unfruitful hiring process.

Disconnect #2:

The survey suggests that three-fourths of job candidates never hear back from the employer after applying or they receive no more than an automated response after hitting “submit.” The survey reveals that 62% percent of job candidates expect more personalized responses, and a startling 67% expect a phone call. Again we have another disconnect between employers’ and candidates’ expectations, which not only is detrimental to the candidate experience, but also to the employer’s brand. According to an early 2013 survey, 32% of candidates would be less likely to purchase an employer’s products if they did not hear back from them after the application process.

Disconnect #3:

According to an early 2014 survey, 72% of active job candidates and 62% of passive job candidates use mobile devices to preview a company’s website and yet only 20% of recruiting leaders claim to have a mobile optimized website. According to the Careerbuilder survey, 46% of HR professionals do not allow access to their ATS through a mobile device. In fact only 26% feel that the ability to apply to a job over a mobile device should be considered. The big problem here though is that when job candidates cannot apply over their mobile device, as much as 65% of them will not go to a desktop or laptop computer to finish the application. Again, another huge disconnect and another means by which employers are missing top talent.

Disconnect #4:

Lastly, 36% of employers aren’t re-engaging viable candidates who were passed over for past opportunities. 28% claimed they have no time to do so. There are, however, current technologies, for example, that allow hiring managers to efficiently compare the recorded responses of previously video interviewed candidates. This allows them to engage a pool of potentials who already expressed interest in the opportunity and the company, without investing serious money into recruiting efforts.

At any given time 3.5 million jobs remain vacant because many employers claim they can’t find qualified individuals. Addressing the issues identified above can ensure that more top candidates are engaged in the hiring process.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to find great talent.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, are available in your location and have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out”, and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…