Nothing Replaces a Handshake
For the sake of convenience, we forego even the most basic activities. I suppose it is human nature; if it saves time then why not, right? However, in exchange for these conveniences there is a negative impact that can and is affecting us. Time and effort-saving shortcuts have an unanticipated side-effect, which have, in just one generation, detrimentally affected the soft skills and interpersonal communication skills of most people engaged on both sides of the interview and hiring process.
These shortcuts delay and prevent us from the core purpose of the interview and decision-making process; informed decisions can only be made with face-to-face interaction between candidate and hiring manager. I witness that time-savers often end up as time-wasters.
There is an old axiom in business and it is: Time Kills All Deals. If a company drags out the interview process, the applicant/candidate loses interest with a situation that fails to move with purpose and sometimes gets distracted by another opportunity. Likewise, when a candidate drags his or her feet for whatever reason, any earlier and previously built up interest and enthusiasm the hiring manager might have had, begins to wane and fades – this is also human nature.
No doubt, people are busy and even with all the shortcuts and tools available, they are multi-tasking more than ever. But I watch both sides with text messages and emails, delaying the in-person interaction about things that could be easily addressed and resolved in-person, which they’ve got to do at some point, anyway. Never mind the fact that text-related communications using a typed word, can be and often are taken out of context with unintended and mistaken perceptions.
The kind of recruiting work I engage in means that I am as much a project manager (of the process) as I am a recruiter. Increasingly I work to keep both parties focused because many times these processes would fall apart without my active involvement. Sometimes I have to call one side or the other or both and say, “Would you two just arrange to meet and get together already”. During the interview process your goal is to make an informed decision regardless of on which side of the process you find yourself. There is no substitute for engaging in-person, face-to-face, period, and no gimmicks or academic psychobabble rationalizations can change this basic truth. The most important reason for this is simple: the jobs specs matter, true, a person’s experience matters, of course, but if the person does not fit the company or organizational culture – or there is no personal chemistry between hiring manager and employee, the result will be little more than a waste of time for people who don’t have much of it to waste.
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