A Terrible Trend in Job Interviewing - Work in Sports Podcast E019

By Brian Clapp | November 17, 2017

A Terrible Trend in Job Interviewing - Work in Sports Podcast E019

Hello everyone – I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast Friday QA session!Your Sports Career Questions Answered

This week I had a bit of an honor, I was the keynote speaker at Williamson Central High School’s career day in upstate New York…since I don’t live in upstate New York, it was all virtual which was pretty cool.

I spoke for about 15-20 to their whole school, and then had a 45 minute QA breakout session afterwards with another 30-35 students interested in sports, media and other disciplines that I have some level of knowledge about.

Talking to these young adults was pretty inspiring, and my original plan was to pivot some of their great questions into this platform, make them the focus of our QA session today.

They asked many great questions about standing out from the competition, and strategies for internships…all subjects we will cover in future podcasts.

But instead of answering these questions – I want to talk about another phenomenon which came to me during this discussion.

A terrible trend in job interviewing.

Here’s why Williamson Central, through no fault of their own, sparked this thought in me.

When I started my 15-20 minute keynote speech, I couldn’t see the crowd, all I could see was a brick wall. They could see me, I was projected on a big screen in their auditorium, but for me, I couldn’t read the crowd, I couldn’t make eye contact, I couldn’t feel the energy of anyone.

Instead, I just stared at a brick wall. Literally.

Which put something major in perspective for me.

Many companies in the spirit of efficiency are going to a model of digital interviews that are the anti-thesis of what interviews should be.

Let me explain this process for you:

Let’s say you are contacted by a company to set up one of these digital interviews – you may be expecting a Skype call, webcam they can be tough, but it’s a logical step in the digital age and you’ll still be talking to someone.

But it isn’t that, it’s even worse.

When you sign up for the digital interview you are directed to click a link, bringing you to the website of an outside company who hosts the interview. It allows you to check your sound and audio and then you are ready to go.

  1. When you click into the question, it will post the question to the left of your screen.

  2. On the right, your face stares back at you from your computer screen. Remember how in college your professors told you to practice your speech in front of the mirror? Well, that’s pretty much what you’re doing here.

  3. You have about thirty seconds to read the question before the camera starts recording (although if you’re ready to answer, you can hit the ‘start’ button at any time).

  4. Once you hit the record button, you have about three minutes to answer the question.

This is a digital interview – no person on the other side, no dialogue, no connection, no personality, no charisma, banter or ability to listen. There is no way this technique can bring out the best of a candidate, or set them up for success even if they are to be selected for employment.

This starts things off the wrong way, introducing a robotic culture instead of a collaborative one.

I can hear it now – someone explaining this is ‘just a step in the process’, a ‘gateway to a more personal interview step’. I don’t buy it.

We as employers should want more personalization, not less. We should push our candidates to show they can communicate both verbally and in writing, not to a computer screen, to a person. Because that’s what every job will require – talking to people, motivating, leading, managing.

This interview technique won’t uncover any of those attributes. how to prepare for your sports job search ebook

And as I sat there talking to a brick wall during my keynote speech I couldn’t help but think…some businesses think this is a good way to interview someone, and learn about them? Hogwash!

So I wonder – if you had a company contact you and want to set up one of these interviews, would you do it? Or would this tell you a little something about the company you might be working for? Does this tell you they don’t value their employees as people, that they are just a 2d talking head?

I believe strongly that when you go for an interview you have as much power as the person interviewing – you get to decide if this company is right for you, and you’ll be a good match culturally. I’ll tell you what, if some company thinks they can understand me, and what I bring to the table, in a format like this, where I just speak into a screen and they judge me by the manner I talked to myself… they have another thing coming. I’m out. Not doing it, not interested.

My mentor used to tell me, and I’ve repeated this many times before on the podcast the most important that that I do is hire good people. You can’t outsource that process, you have to own it.

I believed that then, and I believe it even more now. So I’ll tell you this, any company that doesn’t handle their hiring process personally will let you down, because I don’t think they care about their people.

Take that huge corporations without a beating heart. We aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet, or faces on a screen -- we are your team. Treat us like it.

This felt like more of a rant than a QA session – but hey, we’re dumping knowledge on you and trying our best to empower you to make the best decisions for you. Remember, you are the one who has to live with your job almost every day,…it is OK to have expectations of them.

On Monday we’ll have a true QA session – Kirsten N from Denver has a great question about getting back into the sports industry after being out for a few years… we’ll dig into that on Monday. Then on Wednesday…another great sports industry expert interview, Chris Fritzsching, Director of Football Education for the Detroit Lions joins us for a great discussion on working with youth camps, event marketing, sales and promotions. Really good stuff…until then, I’m going to go settle down my rage.

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