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Job Interviews


I’m a terrible interviewee. I get nervous. My palms sweat. My throat dries. My mind blanks. When I’m in an interview, I rarely show the dynamic, confident, fun, creative person that I am.

Seth Godin talks today about how bad the interview process is and how the best way to bring someone on is to actually work with them. I couldn’t agree more. Before I started at Epinions, I was given a “homework” assignment to come up with a few ideas to increase usage on the site. I returned with a laundry list of ideas and how to implement them. I also tend to shine when talking about ideas and how to implement them, so that didn’t hurt. Ultimately, it got me the job.

Forever ago, when I started at Yahoo!, every applicant to the surfing department had to take a surfing test. In general, the test took about 3+ hours and covered the gamut topic-wise. I know, a web surfing test sounds ridiculous, but not everyone is cut out to surf the web for a living. Thinking in categorical hierarchies isn’t for everyone, and this test successfully weeded most of those folks out. It’s not that difficult to see how a half day work sample will help you determine a candidate’s worthiness.

I’ve been to thousands of job interviews (thankfully as an interviewer mostly) and I have come to the conclusion that the entire effort is a waste of time. At least half the interview finds the interviewer giving an unplanned and not very good overview of what the applicant should expect from this job…
The other half is dedicated to figuring out whether the applicant is good at job interviews or not.

Tara Hunt adds to the conversation by talking about how interviews tend to weed out anyone who might rock the boat.

I’m just guessing, but I think most unruly people are not good interviewees and get most of their jobs the way I’ve gotten most of mine: through their references…their actual work…the way they prove themselves by doing and not just saying.

Amen, sister!