November 8, 2022

Will We Ever Be Happy With Interviews?


Episode Highlights

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We’ve discovered the perfect interview process. 

After talking to thousands of job seekers, we’ve concluded it consists of 100% remote, 1:1 time with the C Suite, no tests, perfectly matched values, immediate feedback and massive offers. After 1 step.

Update: we regret to inform you the perfect interview process doesn’t exist.

Bad sucks. But what about good? Can we even be happy with that either?

Jeff Smith and James Hornick reexamine what realistic interview process expectations look like in Episode 54 of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Will We Ever Be Happy With Interviews?

Episode Transcript

The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live. I’m James Hornick, joined by Jeff Smith, and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space. Maybe even pitch a solution or two. Before we dig in, all our content can be found at

This week’s topic, episode 54 “Will we ever be happy with interviews?” Had to turn the tables this time, unfortunately. Yeah. We’re going to shit on job seekers a little bit- just a little bit. Just a little, just a little bit. It won’t hurt. Not the way you think. Reading the room on LinkedIn,

when is the best way to go viral? Just candor to angry job seekers. Everyone has had a terrible experience looking for a job that’s gotten them jaded and every time they see someone else experience it just kind of puts them back at that mindset and everyone just kind of goes off. Something everyone can relate to, oftentimes for good reasons.

We’re not poo-pooing the whole thing. You had the greatest post like last week, the deer recruiters, deer hiring managers. That whole idea, it’s just so bad. Ah, I just have a certain disdain for any type of pandering post that’s divisive. That if you’re going to crap on job seekers or crap on hiring managers, like vilifying them as like different type of humans, whatever.

So I had to go off. But anyways. Flipping the cards on this, I do wonder about interviews, specifically the whole interview process. What would actually make people happy that we can stop talking about this? Is it even possible to get to a point where everyone’s satisfied that collectively we made it, it’s perfect.

Yeah. We, as a recruiting firm have talked to hundreds of thousands of candidates, and it boils down to this list. We want all remote, we want a quick process, we want a unique experience, we want minimal to no testing, we want value matching, we want immediate feedback, and we want a supermarket center, if not better offer.

So basically, the too long didn’t read here, is everyone wants a one step Zoom interview with the CEO or some C-suite individual with an above market offer for a remote job with no validation of skills. It would be great. Yeah, it would be great. Look, news flash- most of the companies that went fully remote

are tech companies. We’re going to hit on that again later. We’re not bashing tech by any stretch of the imagination. There’s horrible things going on. It’s a fact. Those are the companies that have laid off most of the people the last 60 days. It’s not possible. This is work. It still comes down to the fact that we have jobs to do.

You can’t have everything that you have in that laundry list. Some of those jobs include validating the people you hire- anyways. This might be an exaggeration, but do this exercise. Write down your ideal interview process. What would make you perfectly happy? Now, pretend you’re the CEO. Go through that.

Would you hire yourself? Even what you consider to be the right compensation? It’s a fair question. Is this something- would you make it sustainable? Do you think you can make a good decision based upon what would make you happy as a job seeker? Empathy works both ways, just saying. Just throwing that out there.

Yep. Which your tagline at the end is really going to hit that. So what are the factors, right? So salary inflation is definitely a thing here. There has to be an end to the gravy train. The Federal Reserve is actively trying to stomp out salary inflation to fight all of the information. That’s the entire strategy.

That’s what everyone’s talking about in the stock market, is they’re trying to get you paid less or lay you off and get you laid off entirely. If you go to market and think, “Well, I’m going to make a switch every two years for a 20% bump” I mean, I wrote do the math on this. You don’t even have to do the math on it because it’s absurd.

How long does it take before you’re vastly overpaid and you have a giant target on your back? It’s not long. Let’s throw this out there when it relates to it, because on the topic of pay and pay transparency- we’ve already done an episode on this but I think it’s worth restating. Salary and job ads,

it’s one of those things that’s great in theory that just makes sense. It feels intuitively good, but every time it gets implemented, it’s just an absolute train wreck. The Wall Street Journal just posted an article, job postings with broad pay ranges leave applicants guessing in New York City. Talking about- November 1st.

November. Yeah, it’s November 9th. It’s been eight days and there’s already a full article in the Wall Street Journal. Yes. Salary ranges, our shocker a hundred thousand dollars wide. So of course that was going to happen. I think it’s a concept that people sometimes struggle with is, just because a job can pay, let’s say 150K, doesn’t mean that everyone applies

who could even get the job is worth that amount. You’re not going to believe this but some people have more skills and deeper skills than others, even though they could hypothetically do the same job. Some people could do more, some people could add more value in other areas, and that’s why there is difference in pay based upon individual assessment.

Nuance is a beautiful thing as our transferable skills. I digress. Let’s move to the interview experience, like the core of what we’re trying to talk about. I hear lots of talk tracks presently. Do something unique. Like I said before, something outside the norm, incentivize me. This is as a candidate, but, but, but I can’t take the day off.

I can’t do anything that would mildly inconvenience the way in which I’ve lived post pandemic or during the pandemic. Like when did we stop? It’s a rhetorical question because it’s the pandemic. But when did we stop not being able to take a half day off to go and entertain a new opportunity? What are we doing here?

I’ve met with companies recently who listened to us. We’re working with a large financial institution right now who has flown in 12 executive and senior leadership level individuals with HR to meet with people face to face, and all they’re asking in return is for those individuals to reciprocate. It’s been tough.

There’s people that will do it, but these aren’t non dialed in CEO, CIO types. They’re in. And the amount of pushback that we’re getting from the candidate population is loathsome. It leads me to believe that all of the things that collectively candidates espouse are really just reasons to make things harder on the entire process.

So we can only be conduits to change, we as recruiters, if the candidate population actually cares about this stuff. Not just says it, to your point, screaming negative stuff into the ether. I know that there are companies that are willing to walk the walk and I also know that there are individual candidates that are willing to walk the walk. But at aggregate I haven’t seen enough

where the candidate side is willing to move to the middle and meet these companies halfway. And that’s creating a worse loss versus them situation, I would argue, than even prior to the pandemic. Every job seeker wants culture fit or values fit, or whatever you want to call it nowadays, just to know that their place they’re working with is a good organization, a good place to be, as they should.

You should never compromise on that. But do people think they can seriously get a good read on an organization, the dynamics, the culture, without ever actually meeting somebody in person? I say this as a company, like us at Hirewell we hire fully remote. It’s really damn hard to get to know people. And the crazy part is, when we hire somebody, we’re trying to get to know one person.

The opposite way, when you’re joining another company, you’re trying to get to know everybody, not just everybody, but the dynamic and how they actually interact with each other. That’s infinitely harder. And just the idea that you wouldn’t want to meet people in person, have a few rounds, or go through these what you might consider hoops, is just silly

if actual culture and values fit is what you find meaningful and important. Yeah, it’s a huge point. The runaway market that we just experienced 2021, it resulted in a false sense of confidence and security, and it’s now leading to some folks overplaying their hand.

You’d mentioned it before, don’t lower your standards. We’re not saying that, for yourself. But what you’d like to see or what your professional home looks like or how you should negotiate. But you have to take a hard look at how realistic the expectations are now that the market has come back to earth.

Just as we said that companies had to take a hard look during the candidate market, so too does the candidate have to do so in a more even market. Look, if you want remote only, fine. That’s your prerogative. We’re into it. We’re homers. We get it. Just remember, there’s plenty of folks now that have had a month or two to think about this and are like, “Yeah, I’ll go back to an office.

That’s okay with me.” Because places like durable goods and manufacturing and banking are the most apt to have hybrid opportunities, and they’re also the most stable right now. So they’re going to be thinner in the tech-centric area because that’s where most of the layoffs happened. And coincidentally or not coincidentally, that’s where all of the remote first opportunities were.

And last thing, just a reminder, job seekers and hiring teams are the same people. If anything about this conversation we had today upset you, before you just- before you turn this on us versus them type of thing, remember it’s really a you versus you thing. If you’re so upset

about interview, like a past experience you had or someone who did you wrong in an interview process and was so terrible, you’ve got two options. You can either complain online like some fucking Q Andon, Intel lunatic, or you can actually take it upon to fix yourself at the organization you’re currently in right now.

If it bothers you that much, why would you want someone else to go through it if you have an opportunity to actually fix it where you are? Just throwing it out there man. We’re all the same people. Have a little shared empathy. Meet us all half- if everyone meets each other halfway, just, it’ll be a nicer place to work for everyone,

so. Well played. We’re short on clock so that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for tuning into the 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insight series, which is always available for replay on, as well as YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Amazon. Jeff, thanks again as always. Everyone out there, see you soon.

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