Let me segue a bit from the usual mommy/baby stuff or anything related to mommyhood and let me talk about something work-related.
Just to give you a background of my career. I have been in the customer service field my whole entire career. I used to work in the marketing group of an IT school for almost a year, handling private companies as my clientele. I’ve been a technical support rep in a call center for almost two years. And for the past almost 8 years, I have been in the customer service department of one of the supply chains of a multinational company. Don’t ask me how I lasted this long in this company because I can’t answer that myself. :P
I am not in recruitment nor do I have a background in that area, per se. However, in the last few years, I have conducted applicant interviews for my previous team as well as my current team. And I can say that I have my fair share of encounters with different kinds of people trying to sell their skills to our company.
I am more adept with dealing with customers and providing resolution to their issues. So when I was first tapped to handle an applicant interview, I had to research tips on how to conduct one. It should be easy, right? You just ask the applicants about their job experiences, validate what was in their resume and all that stuff. But what I looked for were the do’s and don’ts when conducting an interview. Well, I didn’t want to be asking inappropriate questions, to say the least. And when I need to conduct an interview, I usually get the assistance of one of my trusted colleague who is a part of the management team to handle more on the behavioral questions as I deal more with the technical side of things.
I usually conduct interviews in English. It has already been a standard for us as well. And while I am not perfect, when I am being asked in English, I answer using the same language. So I expect the applicant to do the same.
A few months ago, we interviewed one applicant for my team. All our questions were in English but she kept on answering us back in Filipino. I thought I was the only one who was getting irritated, my colleague asked the most obvious question in the middle of the interview process:
Colleague: Are you more comfortable with the Filipino language or are you OK with speaking English?
Applicant: I’m okay with English.
Colleague: Oh okay. We’ve just noticed that you keep answering our questions in Filipino even if we asked in English.
Colleague: Moving on… (then he asked the next question)
Applicant: (answered back in Filipino again)
There was an applicant that we interviewed who appeared to have been looking for an easy task.
Colleague: How many emails do you receive in a day that you need to respond to?
Applicant: About 10-20 emails.
Colleague: What if I tell you that you will be receiving more than that, about a hundred emails per day, and you need to read and respond to all of them within the 8-hour shift?
Applicant: 100?! I’m going to cry.
Me: … *toinks*
There was also a question that I love asking after all the standard questions were asked. I like asking questions that is not related to the applicant’s personal or professional life since they have already anticipated some of those questions and I expect them to have a ready answer for those. The reason I ask this one question at the end of an interview is to throw them off and see how quick they can come up with a logical answer. I’ve read somewhere that asking out-of-this-world questions during interviews will test how an applicant thinks and handles sudden unexpected situations.
Me: I have one last question before we end. There is no wrong answer here so just give it your best plausible answer.
Me: Why is there a hole in a donut?
Applicant: Huh? I don’t know. Ask the baker.
Me: … *bashing my head against the wall behind me*
So there was this applicant we interviewed who worked for supply chain companies as well and had a degree in Industrial Engineering. IE graduates are known to strong process management skills. So here’s how one interview went:
Me: I’ve noticed that most of your previous jobs are related to supply chain. And since you are a graduate of IE, what do you think is the advantage of an IE graduate in the supply chain field?
Applicant: Because when I was still studying, we went to Nestle and learned about the production of milk.
Me: *facepalm* *flips table*
Earlier today, we interviewed one applicant again and after the interview we asked him if he had any questions.
Applicant: First question. What other systems do you use here?
Me: You will know that if you get hired.
Applicant: Okay. Second question, what are your expectations of me for this job?
Colleague: You will know that as well if you get hired.
Applicant: Okay. Last question, what is the greatest goal of this team?
Me: WORLD PEACE!
And even if I wanted to really answer World Peace to that last question (and it was at the tip of my tongue), I had to bite my tongue and act like a professional instead and told him that he will know more about it if he gets hired. He didn’t have questions after that.
After several months of searching, I was able to finalize the interviews earlier and got 2 good applicants for my requirement who will be reporting next week. Finally!
And no, I didn’t hire that last guy or any of these applicants.