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When good hiring goes bad: fake interviews when a candidate has been pre-selected

It is unsurprising that candidates will feel insulted following this kind of experience

It is increasingly common for the time and effort of candidates and interviewers alike to be wasted on interviews for roles that have already been filled.

Recruiting managers behave dishonestly and in an unethical way when they are apparently so readily prepared to waste candidates’ time and get their hopes up about securing a position that is not actually available purely to adhere to company policies.

In the case of internal candidates applying for positions within their company, policies will sometimes dictate that internal applicants can only be considered for positions if a number of external applicants are interviewed.

These external candidates will often spend days preparing for their interview, take time off work to attend, and leave the meeting full of hope about a role that can never be theirs. Often they will be told soon after returning from the interview that they have been unsuccessful, often with no explanation, and will wonder what they did wrong.

While it is too late to reclaim the time spent preparing for the interview, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for during the meeting that can indicate whether you are simply a cog in this wheel.

If you notice that the interviewer is engaging in frequent watch-checking, displays an absence of eye contact and the interview takes less time than is typical for the type of role for which you are applying, this could well be that you have been part of a fake interview. Further indications are a distinct lack of questions posed by the interviewer and the responses to these being met with a lack of interest, potentially accompanied by a cold tone and a frosty demeanour.

This practice is not restricted to recruitment managers and interviewees, with pronounced similarities in request for proposal (RFP) scenarios. Suppliers are all too familiar – and fed up – with being pawns in so-called ‘three bid’ programmes whereby the client demands lengthy RFP documentation to satisfy a purchasing manager’s box-ticking exercise.

The purchasing manager will then quickly pronounce their preferred vendor and inevitably the purchasing decision will have been made before involving the extra two suppliers in the process. The extra vendors taking part in the ‘game’ have effectively donated their valuable time merely for the purposes of ‘optics’.

It is the same when interview candidates participate in a futile exercise simply to make management happy.

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