Episode #151 – How to Tell if an Interview is Going Well (or Poorly) as an Employer

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #151 - How to Tell if an Interview is Going Well (or Poorly) as an Employer
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter and veterinary recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about how to tell if a face-to-face interview is going well if you’re an employer. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Julea: Hello, Julea, I am glad to be here.

Julea: Stacy, we’ve discussed this topic from the other side of the table, so to speak, from the point of view of the candidate. Why are we looking at it from the point of view of the employer today?

Stacy: Because, as we’ve mentioned numerous times before, this is a candidates’  job market, especially in the Veterinary profession. If an employer wants to hire a top candidate, then the hiring manager should be very interested in how well the interview is going. They should want the interview to go well. The better the interview goes, the better the chances the employer will be able to hire the candidate. Of course the candidate needs to be the right fit too.

It’s important to point out that if you’ve reached the face-to-face interview stage of the process, then certain things have already occurred. First, the candidate made it through the initial phone screen. Second, they hopefully have all or almost all of the skills required for the position. Ideally, a candidate should have been 85% and 90% of the skills required. And third, the candidate possesses enough experience for them to qualify for the interview stage of the process.

Since all of those things have occurred and are understood at this point, the interview is about more than just skills or experience. Although a hiring manager should ask the candidate about their skills and experience. It is important to make sure the candidate is qualified to do the job. It’s also more about getting a feel for the person, allowing them to make a case for their candidacy, and figuring out whether the person would be a good fit for the organization’s culture.

Julea: What can you do to figure out if a person is a good cultural fit?

Stacy: During the interview, a hiring manager at the animal health company or veterinary practice should try to find out more about the person’s character and their personality. If their personality and character are a fit, then the interview is going well. If a person has all of the skills and experience necessary to do the job, but they’re not a fit for the organization in terms of character and personality, then there’s really not a good reason to make a job offer to them. That’s how important cultural fit is, especially in terms of character and personality.

Julea: So if the candidate is a good fit in terms of character and personality, then that’s a sign the interview is going well. What’s another sign?

Stacy: Another sign is if the candidate asks good questions. Candidates fall into three categories in this regard. In the first category are those who don’t ask any questions. That’s not a good category to be in. That’s because if a candidate doesn’t ask questions, it can be an indication that they’re not interested in the position, or at the very least, they’re not interested enough to ask questions about it. Not asking questions could also indicate that the candidate is not really paying attention to what is happening during the interview. None of these things are positive.

The second category are those who ask questions, but don’t ask useful questions. This is also not a good category to be in. This indicates that, although the candidate has an interest in the position, they didn’t conduct enough research about the organization to really know what they’re talking about. This is nearly as bad as not asking any questions at all.

The third category are those who not only ask questions, but also ask useful questions that provide insight. This shows that the candidate is interested in the position and also conducted an extensive amount of research regarding the organization. It also indicates that the candidate is interviewing the organization at the same time the organization is interviewing the candidate. In this market, interviews are a “two-way street.” And if we’re talking about top talent, the onus is more on the employer than it is on the candidate.  You can learn a lot of valuable information about the candidate from the questions they do ask or they don’t ask during the interview.

Julea: I have a question. I know that one of the things an employer wants to discuss during an interview are a candidate’s weaknesses. How can a hiring manager at an animal health company or veterinary practice do this and tell that the interview is going well?

Stacy: A good candidate should be able to acknowledge and discuss their weaknesses, as well as any mistakes they made with a past employer or their current employer. Let’s face it: everyone has weaknesses and everyone makes mistakes. You can’t avoid it. What’s important is how people react to those mistakes and how they discuss their weaknesses. Also, what they have learned from past mistakes and how they would use it to handle things differently in the future.

The last thing you want to see as a hiring manager at an animal health company or veterinary practice is a candidate blame other people for their mistakes. Instead, the candidate should be able to take responsibility for their mistakes, discuss those mistakes, and talk at length about what they learned from them. The candidate should also be able to talk frankly about their weaknesses and what they’re doing to address those weaknesses. That’s how you know an interview is going well.

Julea: What’s another sign that an interview is going well?

Stacy: Another sign actually occurs after the interview is over.

Julea: Really? What’s that?

Stacy: If the candidate sends a follow-up thank-you email or hand written thank you note in the mail, that’s also a good sign. This shows that the candidate is appreciative of the opportunity to interview with the organization, even if they don’t receive an offer of employment. There are a few things that a hiring manager should look for in a follow-up email. The first is the use of grammar and punctuation. The second is the candidate’s overall ability to communicate. The third is the extent to which the candidate is able to once again make a case for why they should be considered for the position.

If the candidate sends a follow-up email after the interview and does well in all three of these areas, then that’s another good sign.

Julea: Stacy, let’s move on to the red flags that occur during face-to-face interviews. As an employer, how do you know if an interview is not going well?

Stacy: There are a few ways to tell. The first way is if the candidate bad-mouths their current employer or a former employer. If they talk badly about both their current employer and other previous employers, then that is a pattern of behavior. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that if you hire them, you can expect they’re going to talk badly about your organization, too.

This is an indication that a candidate blames other people for things that happen to them, and even if their employers contributed to their situation in some way, this is not the behavior of an exemplary candidate. It’s definitely not the behavior of a candidate who has leadership potential.

Julea: What’s another sign that an interview is going poorly?

Stacy: If the candidate is dishonest, that’s a big red flag. Unfortunately, dishonesty does occur during the hiring process. It occurs when people write their resume, and it occurs during the face-to-face interview. If a hiring manager finds out during the interview that the candidate has been dishonest in some way, it is definitely a sign that the interview is not going well. They might say something that contradicts something on their resume, or they might say something that contradicts what one of their references say. They might even saying something that contradicts something they said earlier during the interview.

Dishonesty is a deal-breaker during the hiring process. No organization wants to hire people who are dishonest. They won’t hire people who they even think are dishonest.

Julea: Stacy, what else do we have in this category?

Stacy: Another bad sign during the interview is if the candidate focuses too much on money and/or other compensation.

Julea: What is that a bad sign?

Stacy: First of all, if money is a candidate’s primary motivator, that means they’re likely to accept a counter-offer from their current employer. An Animal Health or Veterinary organization is not going to make an offer of employment to a candidate who is likely to accept a counter-offer. That is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

Second, this could also indicate that the candidate, if hired, won’t be with the organization for every long. They’ll be gone as soon as they can get more money or compensation from another employer. Retention is already enough of a problem. Hiring candidates who are more likely to leave soon will only make that problem worse, not better.

A top candidate is typically interested in more than just money. They’re also interested in personal development and advancement within the organization. While that’s not the case in 100% of situations, it’s certainly the case in the vast majority of them.

Julea: Stacy, thank for all of this great information. I want to point out there are more tips for Animal Health and Veterinary Employers on our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com And for those animal health and veterinary employers who need help with hiring be sure to reach out to Stacy through our website again at www.thevetrecruiter.com  For those listeners who are thinking about making a job change I encourage you to reach out to Stacy as well or check out the hot jobs on The VET Recruiter website.  The VET Recruiter is a boutique search firm serving both the Animal Health Industry and the Veterinary Profession.

Stacy: Yes, there are a number of jobs posted on our website.. Again for those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, do visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We have new jobs posted on a regular basis.

Julea: Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy:  It is my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health Employment Insider!