The Interviewer's Advantage

We've been in the midst of interviewing candidates for open HR positions and it reminded me of this post from about this time last year I wanted to share with you.

I have had the opportunity to interview for new HR staff lately. It's something I don't get to do often although lately I've had the opportunity to do it more due to promotions, turnover and new HR positions.



People walk into an interview and it's unknown to me - and to you - what they have on the line at that moment. Whatever "it" is, it belongs to a person in one of the most uncomfortable situations a person could be in.

As the interviewer, I know - but sometimes forget, that I have the opportunity create the space for the person sitting across from me to shine. As I recently watched a candidate come into her own right before my eyes, it made me wonder, what do others do with the very same opportunity?

With this thought on my mind, I saw 10 Human Questions Interviewees Should Ask, from Paul Smith pop up in my Google Reader. Like Paul, I thought "about the anxiety of interviewees and how interviewers have most of the advantages in that environment."

Interviewers can set the stage for an interviewee to be at their best. Their anxious and nervous best, but their best nonetheless.

Why wouldn't every interviewer want to do that?

Is it easier to say, "no" to someone who did not fully step-up-to-the-plate? It is not possible to be both direct and nice? Shame on you if you quell confidence and pride and don't nourish, prop-up or cultivate every chance you get.

It's not all about the applicant you say? It's all about you? Ok, I get that so let me ask you this, "What impression do you want them to have of their interaction with you, of your department, and of your leadership?"

Interviewers, you have the advantage. Use it well.

Hand Slapping HR

HR is on the move.

Open any issue of any HR magazine and you'll see phrases like "develop strategies that align with your organizational goals, mission and brand" and "identifying and rewarding the best and the brightest in the organization." On your favorite HR blog and you'll see tag words like "business, partner, people, innovation, problem solver and change."

On most days, we're running on possibility, vision, objective and goals. On other days, it takes a little something else to keep the train on the tracks.

On some days there's nothing like a good old fashioned "no."

No, you can not over spend your award budget. No, you can't discipline her without telling her what she did wrong and asking her why.

No, you can not charge him AWOL after you approved his leave. No, you can not promote her into a job that does not exist.

Does that sound too crabby? Ok, how about this?

Yes, you are most definitely the deciding official and I am only the advisor but no, I will not have your back when they haul you off to jail. Yes, you must notify the union of changes in conditions of employment and negotiate impact and implementation in good faith but no, you do not ask for their permission.


Is this the way you want your HR to be? No, not really. Not all the time but a little hand slap every now and then never hurt anybody.

Photo credit iStockphoto