A Funny Thing Happened During the Interview

A Unique Security Interview

During a conversation today I was reminded of a situation that in some regards was funny and on the other hand was actually rude. It does have a lesson to those employees of companies involved in the interview process.

Here’s what happened. I had a position here in Florida for a senior hands-on technical Security candidate. The client was a solid company with operations around the USA, Caribbean and Central and South America. Even though this company had many bilingual employees due to their different business locations, it was not required on this particular position.

Since the candidate (let’s call them Dave”) I recruited was available ASAP,  had recently relocated to Florida and was local, the employer scheduled an in-house interview for one afternoon. ( I’d known Dave for several years since I recruited him for another opportunity when he lived in the Carolina’s. Still has his Carolina accent.)

The day of the interview arrived and Dave was off to meet everyone. Dave called me on his drive home from the interview  to share his thoughts of the company, the position, the people, etc. He met with Human Resources and got all the HR information and was taken on a brief tour of the facility by another HR representative on the way to interview with the technical security staff  and manager. Dave was taken to a conference room where  the manager and 2 project managers were all waiting to conduct a group interview, even though the interview  itinerary was stated differently, but no big deal.

Here’s where it begin to get a little funny and rude at the same time.  All three employees of the client were asking Dave questions related to the job.  As usual, the questions started out relatively easy and progressed quickly to more difficult questions since Dave was able to answer correctly without any issues. He knew he were doing well. He knew he knew more than the project manager he would report too. He knew the manager thought he would not be challenged for long in the job. He knew he blew away all the other candidates  interviewed thus far, and many other insights.

Now you ask, why would these employees conducting the interview discuss these comments directly in front of Dave. Simple, they were speaking Spanish. Yes they were interviewing in English, but discussing amongst themselves their comments about the candidate. How rude was that, but the fact that Dave was able to understand about 75% of the Spanish was the funny part.

Yes, here’s someone with a Carolina accent that had a real good handle on understanding Spanish. He had worked for a firm in the past with many Latin American clients and  spent 5 years travelling south and picked up Spanish enough to understand people fairly well.

Dave thought it was a real insightful interview situation that most people would never experience, while also being rude.

One we jot to the actual job,  regardless of the rudeness factor, Dave stated that the client indeed had some real security  issues, as I had indicted. Once those issues were resolved over the next many months, the job would not be challenging.  Even though he was ready to go to work, this was not going to present a long-term opportunity. (The client still made him an offer, even though I said it was not necessary)

The overall  problem I saw was the client was discussing Dave and his answers and comments right in front of  him in a language they thought he did not understand. Whether he understood or not I felt and he felt it was rude. Would that have been the normal work environment and atmosphere. In fairness, I did share with the CIO that Dave turned down the position based on opportunity, but for future reference he night want to discuss with his managers their interview style.

I supposed the moral of the story would be never assume anything, like you are not being overheard or understood by those around you.

Have a great Wednesday.

One thought on “A Funny Thing Happened During the Interview

  1. That’s really interesting and ironic at the same, because if the client’s employees would have spent a few minutes really reading the resume they would have seen all the travel Dave has been doing and would have atleast suspected that he could understand Spanish. But the last recession and the abundance of candidates makes some interviewers really careless. I used to interview people for 5 years and sometimes I had co-workers come and make fun of some of the interviewees because of a question he couldn’t answer or because of his accent or what not. Really bad image for the company.

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