Planning, Dodging the ATS, & Shamu

Planning, Dodging the ATS, & Shamu

Listen to the Planning, Dodging the ATS, & Shamu episode at the link above or wherever you enjoy podcasts. 

The Candidate Experience Podcast is hosted by Chuck Solomon at the link above or wherever you enjoy podcasts. A transcription of this interview is available below.

Together with his guests, Chuck who is on the team at LineHire, discuss the good, bad and ugly of the candidate journey. With emphasis on helping companies strengthen their candidate experience to improve their employer brand

Chuck Solomon 0:00
Ted, I want to jump right into things. You’ve been a hiring manager before. From the hiring managers perspective, what can they do to ensure a good candidate journey?

The best way I can describe this is is that when you’re in a situation and you’re hiring, it doesn’t matter if you’re in little bitty biotech or a great big multinational biopharma. You’re generally trying to hire pretty quickly, right? You you’ve got a real need that you want to hire. And speed is often the enemy of quality, right? I mean, if I’m trying to do something very rapidly, you know, we have terms were like slapdash Oh, that was slapdash job, right, because you were rushing weren’t doing a good job. Right.

Ted Benson 0:39
Right. Yeah, exactly. So so. So there’s, there’s a, there’s a dynamic there where you need to balance the speed with quality. And so what I’ve gotten reasonably adept at over the years, is is hiring teams quickly and efficiently and quickly and efficiently and balancing That that speed and that quality. And and I’m going to boil it down to two really a single sentence and then we’ll we’ll talk around that for a little while as we expand on the idea. And secondly, accelerating hiring is about preparing to hire, right being ready to hire, that’s the very high level statement that I’m going to make, you have to be prepared to hire people. And that means being very, very ready and having a real understanding of what your needs are and how they can be filled. One of my favorite sayings, and I’m sure you and your listeners may have heard this as well. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Right,

Chuck Solomon 1:35

Ted Benson 1:38
So So, you know, it’s not that it’s hard. It’s that people frequently don’t feel like they have the time. But you know, like anything else, if it matters you you have to prioritize it and prioritize it means taking the time to do it. So preparing, you have to make time to plan. If you want to make a meal, right. Let’s say you want to make meatloaf right. You gotta say well, okay, what meatloaf do I want to make? Okay, do I have the recipe and then you look you see Oh, do I haven’t agreed Right. So you have to have all those pieces in place. Know your ingredients are at hand before you start, otherwise you’re wasting your time. Yet it still is somewhat amazing me when I have seen people go, Well, we need to hire this person to do this job. What exactly is that person needs to do? Well, I need to be a molecular biologist. Let’s say we’re they need to be a cell biologist. Okay, well, what is it exactly that they’re going to do because those two skill sets can overlap, or they can be very different, depending on the nature of the task at hand. So essentially, I said, the very high level goal, which is about preparing being ready, and then I’m going to break that down for you and feel free to jump in here,

Chuck Solomon 2:35

Ted Benson 2:35
Yyou’ve got to get to define clear goals, objectives, and a timeline for the work, whether it’s a project or whether it’s an ongoing thing. If you’re in a biotech, hey, we’re trying to get a proof of concept across the wire by, you know, the end of the year, and so we need to do X, Y and Z in order to get that right. If it’s a big pharma. Similarly, you may not be doing a PLC, maybe doing a production run or something of those, those that sort of thing.

You’ve got to have a clear a clear sense of what you’re going for. And then I’m going to take that to another step, which is talking about pain and opportunity. If I’m in a small biotech, or I’m a big pharma, and I’m trying to hire somebody, or if I’m in a mom and pop pizza shop, or if I’m in a car repair place, and I decide I need to hire somebody, I’m doing that because I have a pain or have an opportunity to either the guy who used to do our brake jobs or auto shop, just quit, I gotta find somebody to replace them. Otherwise, I’m going to lose all that brake job work, or we’ve never done brake jobs here before. But we want to start doing brake jobs here. And so we’re going to add guy to do that. So pain or opportunity is the basic reason why hiring managers can hire to fix a problem or to grow the business. And then, as a hiring manager, you have to be honest, right? You have to understand your need to have versus you want to have any half the loop in looping the stakeholders that are part of that project or part of that initiative so that you get input and feedback from those people that make sense. So

Jerel Bonner 3:59

Ted Benson 4:00
It does, it does. And I’m hoping that the guy that does my brakes at my garage is the test when they find. Absolutely, absolutely. So that that’s a perfect segue. This is almost like the plan this.

But you know, based on that saying, what is it that your needs are? Then you can say, Okay, here is the defined skill set and experience. The guy who does breaks the gal who does breaks, you know, how, how much, you know, experience do they have? What specific systems are they work on? Are you are you working on Mack trucks? Are you working on? You know, Toyota Prius, right? What’s the skill set? What’s the experience? And then of course, obviously, as a hiring manager, it’s somebody in the organization at the top, the manager is going to be somebody has to figure out what’s the compensation package range, right? What’s typical for that kind of position in the industry. And again, having come from a biotech background, you know, sometimes you hire people you look, we can’t pay you as much as the market would be for this particular role. But we can we can throw something in this non cash right by

The benefits might be stock options, something that sort of has a sense of, okay, there’s a there’s an additional value here beyond simply the monetary piece. And then of course, obviously, as a hiring manager, you also have to figure out what are the deal breakers, if it’s somebody who’s a break, break person, and they’ve only worked only worked on Prius’s and you need them to be able to work on, you know, everything from Japanese cars to to American cars. And for some reason, there’s a big enough difference there, then maybe there’s a deal breaker there, you really can’t hire somebody if they haven’t worked on the range of those things. And then finally, and I mentioned this before, of course, the deadlines for those hiring processes. You know, you do have this balance between speed and quality. But if you’re hiring to meet a real pain or real opportunity in the organization, you’ve got to hit that window. It’s really important. And, you know, if you’re not going to show that kind of self discipline internally, then you’re probably not going to be effective at running the entire process going forward as well.

So so that’s the sort of sort of high level things this does that make sense? So far? It

Chuck Solomon 5:59
It totally does a quick question for you. Yes, sir. Would you say you’ve worked in different sized companies? Would you say that the large or Fortune 500 sized company is more adept or less in depth than, say a smaller sort of small to medium sized company at this process?

Ted Benson 6:21
So I think the larger companies have the advantage in the sense that they often have a more structured process. And I was going to get to this later on that it’s a structured interview is is critical as part of the hiring process. And sometimes, small companies may not have a lot of structure around the hiring process a much just say, you know, bring the prospect the candidate and have them sit down, and and have a, you know, a sort of unstructured conversation with people. And while that can give you some information, it’s kind of hard to do a comparison, right? Because if you have a different conversation, we candidate a candidate B, how are you going to decide between the two of them right, there has to be some kind of commonality there.

In order for you to say, okay, we talked about the same topics with a and b, and he gave better answers or be gave better answers or whatever the case may be. Does that make sense?

Chuck Solomon 7:08
Yeah, no, totally. Fine. Cool. What? Um, I guess,

I’m guessing that you’re a firm believer in having the job description, you know, out there. Do you think hiring managers should go ahead and before they say they need another brake specialist? We keep talking about mechanics here, should they actually go through and review the job description, you know, say it’s a year old or two years old? Should they go back in and amend that or just say, well, we’re looking for the same kind of person?

Ted Benson 7:46
Well, again, again, ideally, you’re prepared, right? You know, the nature of the position you’re trying to fill and you know the exact requirements for this particular role in this particular project or task. And again, to be clear, I kind of beenMy last my last answer that small companies can’t do great hiring, they can do great hiring. In fact, they may do even better hiring because they really understand how vital that you know one person is when they’ve only got six people in the company, right that that one more person is really important. And so they may do a great job at really making sure that that person is the right sets. I don’t mean to diss small companies for hiring. But getting back to your question, I do think you need as a hiring manager to say, you know, am I don’t want to say this it harshly, but am I hiring cogs? Or am I hiring people, I need to know what the role is now that they need to fill, and I need to find the right person for that role. If you just say, well, it’s the same roles it was last year as it was last year, last year. It’s kind of implying that there’s an exchange ability, right and while all of us bring certain skills that are come somewhat, somewhat interchangeable. We also bring unique strengths and weaknesses, that it makes sense for the company to be aware of, and to harness effectively.

In order to really let us not only bring our whole selves to work, but maximize our impact when we’re in that workplace.

Chuck Solomon 9:06
Sure, I’m not sure if you read the book Powerful by Patty McCord yet, but she Patty was the former Chief Human Resources officer at Netflix. And there’s a famous slide deck that Netflix put out that she was the prime author of that along with their CEO, Reed Hastings. And it sort of lays out sort of their their process of hiring and stuff. And to your point about, you know, making sure you’re hiring for the job you need done. She talks very eloquently about how,

you know, Netflix started off as a DVD distribution company and the people they hired to do that sort of work or are far different than what they’re doing. You know, when they changed from DVD distribution to streaming, a streaming company. So they actually help move people along because they didn’t need people that were good at distribution. They needed people that were good at engineering media streaming. Now they’re actually getting into content creation. So they’re needing even different people for that content creation.


Ted Benson 10:28
So that’s an excellent, excellent series of points there, Chuck. And in fact, that brings me to another topic I wanted to touch on, which is part of understanding what the role requirements are, is understanding how much you want or need that person to grow in that role. And so for example, from, from, from getting back to that sort of, you know, Are you hiring a person or you’re having a cog, ideally, you’re hiring people who will take care of the problems you have today the pain of the opportunity, and then who will be able to then grow either in that role or by transferring to other roles a lot laterally, or you know, up or whatever, through, you know, training or through additional knowledge or just experienced an example I give. From my own personal experience, the very first biotech I was hired at ours had hired in specifically to do molecular biology to create genetic constructs that could then be used for protein production. So I cranked out all these these these genetic constructs that we can use for protein production. And it was still a small company that said, um, now we actually need to produce the proteins. How do you feel about doing that? And so I jumped in and said, Yeah, absolutely. It’d be fun to learn. And so I figured it out. And I learned it and it was great. And then, okay, now we had all these proteins in the freezer. And then we need to format test systems with those proteins. How do you feel about doing that? But yeah, sure, bring it. Let’s do it, man. And so I jumped into that, and then it just kept going and going. So I just, I moved down the process as the process was being developed. And it was fun, I got to help build all these systems, learn all this stuff. So there are times when ideally that should be almost all the time. In my experience, people love

Develop a love to learn, they love to grow, people find it very rewarding. There are people who want to stay in their lane and become a very deep expert, let’s say in one particular area. And that’s great, too. That’s a form of development as well, you know, you don’t have to go all over the map to develop, you can just become an expert in once one solitary domain. And that’s a tremendous value potentially, as well. So again, what is it that you want in that role? Right, as your as your as you’re hiring for that kind of position? What are the requirements and, you know, you should build in the ability for people to learn and grow in that role. It’s going to be better for them, it’s going to be better for everybody else, they’re going to realize their human potential. And that’s something that you ought to support and that helps you.

Yeah, agreed. So a couple of other thoughts, in terms of being an effective hiring manager and running a process. You know, using existing professional networks to identify or contact people who have the skill set you need is a great approach. I’ve been recruited into a couple of companies that way and it’s a great way saying, okay, we need person who does x? Does anybody here knows somebody who does exit? Oh, yeah, I do. Okay, great. Talk to your friend that, you know, I mean, there’s there’s nothing wrong with that and you get sort of immediate sense of who’s available and what they can do. Building on that and related to it. Using ads or recruiters is not a bad thing. I mean, there’s some people who don’t feel comfortable doing that, but it can be really time efficient. If time is it an issue without sacrificing a ton of quality because in principle, they have some of these people sort of on their, on their, their books already on their records, and they can pull them in fairly quickly for interviews. So unless your budget is crazy, tight, it’s something to consider. And then the next piece is when you do run the interviews themselves. I’m a big believer in having a small hiring team to screen or score the applicants. So you know, you get in a bunch of resumes, particularly if you don’t have if you’re not in a big company, you don’t have a big HR, you know, back office. to screen this stuff. You can quickly go through, you know, dozens of resumes and

You know, a night or two at home, just you know, everybody takes so many home and they just quickly score them and say, Okay, here we go, what are the accomplishments? And a key piece of that is, you know, again, what are you actually looking for you got defined, we need x y&z does this person have X, Y, and Z. And then you can quickly score them based on that, reducing the candidate list. And to just a few few candidates, maybe three or four, you run some quick phone interviews. And again, I would suggest that to be a team based thing, because you can have six people in the room and you know, you can all just sort of weigh in after the call. So yeah, this person looks good in this way or not so good in this way. And then you know, maybe the phone calls you just 30 minutes apiece, you can knock out a whole bunch in an afternoon. And then you can bring in two or three candidates or in person interviews. Sure, typically, in my experience, and I don’t know about but you check that in my experience, sequential one on one interviews with a couple of senior leaders that are again, structured and consistent, having structured and consistent interviews is so very important in order to allow for genuinecomparability between candidates, and you know, have those need Dave, you’re right. The classic. Tell me about a time you whatever, right.

And then and then team interviews along the same lines with coworkers, right colleagues, people would be working with them. Candidate on a daily basis. I think that’s a really healthy way to to have the candidate quickly see and, and size up the team culture, right? Or is everybody sort of kidding around friendly? Or are they very serious? Or is it clear that there’s some people who are really sort of a sort of leading the group or is it a very collegial, egalitarian situation? The only key piece with that, if a company is going to do team interviewing is to make sure typically the person with the most energy sort of dominates the conversation. So it’s really important for there to be somebody in the room who makes sure that the introverts get a chance to ask questions or give their opinions that that’s really, really important. And then I’m a big fan of making the hiring decision the day after the last in person interview. And you know, the bottom line

For all of this, again, is preparing, having your ducks in a row. And I would say that one of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that hiring managers know how to hire out of the box.

Chuck Solomon 16:10

Ted Benson 16:10
So I encourage companies to spend a little bit of time to train their hiring managers how to hire because people aren’t born knowing how to do it.

Chuck Solomon 16:19
Sure. Or they think that since they’ve been the recipient, like the on the other side of the table, they think they can do just as well. On the other side, it’s the same concept of, you know, people get promoted to managerial levels, and they’re managing people, but they don’t have any experience nor training in managing people. I think that that blends well into sort of you need to learn managerial skills and also be able to go ahead and part of that is hiring, interviewing people.

Ted Benson 16:52
Absolutely, again, nobody knows how to walk when they’re born, right. I mean, to assume that someone knows how to be a manager without prior experience. I don’t care how great they are at task x, whether it’s changing brakes or, or flipping pizzas or, or plumbing, you can’t just assume that those very skilled, very capable, wonderful people necessarily know how to help other people succeed. Right? Those are different skill sets. And so if you don’t encourage that and foster that and grow that and train people, then I think you’re you know, you’re just as I like to say, You’re, you’re just, you know, letting letting things grow in your garden without actually going in and tending it. You’re sure.

Chuck Solomon 17:35
Great, great tips there. Thanks for that. Ted,

tell me, tell me about the other side of the fence here, or rather not fence, but table. Tell me about? Tell me about, you know, what tips you would offer to job seekers? Because they certainly don’t control the process. However, I think there might be some things that they could do to sort of help them in their in their candidate journey.

Ted Benson 18:07
Sure. So I think probably everyone, throughout their life, get at least a couple of terrible interview experiences. think that that’s absolutely par for the course. And I think that kind of hangs over the discussion in general. I think there’s another piece here that you know, because you hear about these things, Oh, my gosh, I blew the interview. And so then, you know, you get your expectations really, really low. But I think there’s actually something more more subtle going on here, too, which is that, you know, we don’t usually interview Right. I mean, most people they interview a few times in their working career, maybe 10 times, maybe 20 times, maybe 100 times, but they don’t do it every single day. Right? Yeah, the metaphor I give is, you know, air travel versus plane travel. If you’re in a group of 100 people, and you’re asking know, who here is, you know, at least a little nervous about flying, maybe actually scared of it, you’ll see a certain number of hands go up, right? You asked the same question about cars, basically, nobody’s hands go up, right. And it’s not that cars are safer than planes. We know cars are less safe than planes, right. But plans are less familiar, cars are more familiar, we do it on a regular basis. So we tend to just disregard the risks. Interviews have the same kind of way. They’re like the airplane travel, if you don’t interview all the time, then it’s this scary thing that you only do occasionally, and you only do it when when you really need or really want a job. So the stakes are high, right? And it’s this weird, artificial, extremely evaluative situation where you’re supposed to go in and tell somebody, everything about yourself professionally, and why you’re such a wonderful and amazing person, and you’re supposed to do it in less than less than 30 seconds, or maybe 30 minutes, if you get a nice sit down and write it really ridiculous, right? I mean, it’s absurd in the face of it. And at the same time, you know, the stakes are official, it’s weird. And so, and the final piece, of course, is is is,

is there’s usually a significant power imbalance, right? Usually, if I’m looking for a job, and I can I can tell you a great story. years ago, I was working for a biotech and we were doing well. And things were humming along, things look good. And one Sunday night, my wife and I discovered we were expecting our second child and look, Oh, this is so great. This is great. So wonderful. And I go into work. And you know where this is going, right? The next day, I go into work, and it’s like, there’s an all hands meeting at 10am.

Chuck Solomon 20:38
And then, and, you know, and then at 10am, this, you know, the status, the leadership, the management stands up and says to the staff, we’re really sorry to tell you this, you guys have done a great job. But we’re shutting down. Well, everybody will be done by the end of the week, except for a couple of people who like to turn off the lights. And so there we are, right. And so I went on, man, I mean, I’ve got a baby on the way I already had another one in the house, and I couldn’t sleep for a week, right? So when I when I said, Oh my gosh, I gotta find another job. There was a serious power imbalance in the sense that I needed to find a job, right, I needed that job right away. And so there is a lot of times when people need to find a job, they’ve been let go, they’ve had something really untoward happened. They just realized that they can’t, you know, make it on that that day that they had or, or they had some sort of argument with their boss, they can be in a situation where they really need job, even if they’re not, if they really want this new job, they really are excited about it. There. Again, there’s that power imbalance right there coming as a supplicant. And so that power imbalance can affect people’s sense of empowerment in the conversation, it can make them feel like a victim, it can make them feel like they really are at a loss. And so that power imbalance is also a really negative aspect when people even think about interviewing. So of course, people aren’t very good at it. And and they’re not very comfortable at it. Right, that that all makes sense, right?

Ted Benson 22:06
Yep. So, so should I should I dive into how I suggest people would deal with all that? I mean, I mean, please share, like, you know, what suggestions you would have that you know, what, what job again, kids can do to sort of become more confident and do better, that you have some great tips on that?

Chuck Solomon 22:28
Well, I’ve got tips, I hope they’re great.

But the first one is gonna sound familiar to anybody who heard the first half of this podcast, which is prepare, right, prepare. So you can address all of those things and stand out, first of all, by preparing so research the company know their mission, vision and values, and why they’re hiring. Right? I mentioned before that the pain and opportunities situation for hiring manager, there’s a reason hiring managers hiring, they have a pain or an opportunity to they want you to address if you understand that you’ve got an immediate advantage, right? And then scan your network for people who were or are there and ask them about the company. I’ve done this before you go this person works company x, I’m applying the company, you contacted me say so how was company x? And maybe they say, Oh, it’s great. I really love being there. I just got a great other opportunity to leave. And also, this one case, I remember this, oh my gosh, that’s the culture is toxic. The places you don’t want to go there. And you know, you’re okay. Okay, all right, you know, right. So then you can you can, you know, write down as well. You know, and and work out. So that team opportunity piece, write down how you think you can help them right, come up with your own little elevator speech, right? It can be very simple, but it’s a very clear cut explanation of how you can help them like in, like, I’m talking like maybe a sentence or two really concise. And then the corollary to that that complements that is creating what I like to call star stories, and you probably have heard of this Chuck star standing for situation task action result, right?

These work well in those behavioral type interviews.

Ted Benson 24:06
Exactly. And I think the key is that they are true stories that show how you have made immediate positive impact in situations relevant to the position you’re interviewing for, right. And the idea is, you’re going to build trust with that hiring manager, by demonstrating your ability, your good intent, your integrity, and the value you bring, right. So you’re going to say, Man, I saved this one project by going you know, from going off the cliff by doing x, y, z. And when I did that, we got great results, and everybody was happy, whatever the details are, again, it’s it’s longer than an elevator speech, it’s got more detail, and more More, more facts attached to it. So that it’s very clear what your contributions were, and very clear what the impact of that was. And the next piece is, and I’m sure I’m sure this is something that you would recommend, as well Chuck which is practice, right? It, you know, if you’re trying to learn how to walk, boy, you better try walking, and you’ve learned to play the piano or change breaks or whatever it is, by doing something repeatedly, you reduce the unfamiliarity the discomfort, we get better at anything with practice, and then go to networking events, see how others introduce themselves, hone your elevator speech and your star stories. I’ve gotten to some of these networking events when there are some people who stand up, and then they nail their star story, like four sentences long. There was this, I was this, and I did this. And that’s it was a result. And it was amazing. And you just go, Wow, why wouldn’t anyone hire that person? Right? Sure, being able to do that in a crowd is going to make it so easy to do it on a one on one basis, right. And then practice with friends, you know, invite a friend to coffee interview, you know, have them interview you. And then just repeat it until you feel really comfortable with that sort of rhythm. Of course, you’ll get some curveballs in an interview, but at least you’ll be you know, sort of comfortable with your, you know, your basics, your your fundamentals, the next piece I would strongly suggest is I spoke about that that power imbalance. So part of that addressing that is to lower the pressure and the imbalance. Again, sometimes you’re desperate for a job. But try not to be desperate, right? Put yourself in the position where you are working at the moment, and build up some savings. So you have a little bit saving so that if you do get caught, caught out, maybe you don’t have to take the first thing across the plate, and then acknowledge yourself that the interview may make you anxious MIT. Okay, I know interviews, mainly the interest. And then this is great Chuck This is actually a little bit of neuroscience, the emotion of anxiety is actually really close to the emotion for excitement. Right? So if you can convince yourself you’re not anxious, you’re actually excited, excited work

Chuck Solomon 26:43
is amazing. I suggest you try it sometime. It’s something that you’re anxious about. It’s really cool. And then of course, you know, you want to approach them with an open body language and cheerful confident voice. And I’ll come back to that in a second. But again, be aware of the needs in the conversation. They have any, they wouldn’t be hiring, right? Sure you, you have what they need. So the interview is about their needs, but it should be about yours the interviewee as well. So be prepared and be ready to find out if this is a place where you want to work right. You know, have questions ready, like, what are the major opportunities facing this company? What are the major challenges facing this company? How is the company approaching those? Do you think senior leaders here are tackling things? Well, if you could change one thing? What would it be? Would you recommend this company to friends for job seekers? Those those are all pretty meaty, right?

Ted Benson 27:36
Certainly. Right. And and and they’re intended to provoke a discussion, right? Because those are not yes or no questions in general. Right. Sure. Okay, so then and then here’s the piece that I think I think your listeners would would probably really, really find interesting and fun ways to stand out right ways to stand out under school underscore. Okay, so so standout is really important there. Because for all the tips that you said, There, I think there’s great resources online to sort of practice and things like that. But if everyone is doing that, if you’re not, you know, you kind of have to go beyond what everyone else is doing to your point of how do you stand out? Right.

And so by saying this and having who knows who listened to it, it’s going to dilute the impact, right? So I probably shouldn’t say how to stand out. Right, right.

Yeah, I think people stand out, you know, people have to find their own way. And I want to hear you, I want to hear your tips for how to stand out but people have to find their own way, because that’s bringing your whole self to work. And yet, what works for Ted might not work for Chuck so. Right?

Exactly. Right. In fact, I’m gonna get to that in 10 seconds, because I think I’m going to say it as you’re approaching the end of the interview in particular, but throughout the interview, right, you want to be underscoring Why, why they should hire you, right? And the reasons they would hire Chuck are different than the reasons they would hire 10. Right. And and so that’s one way that it’s unique to you, what is the unique value you bring? And how do you bring that right? What’s that that trust component look like for you? How do they trust you? And how do they understand that value, and that is absolutely unique to every candidate. And then this is a general perspective, be happy, be confident, be glad to see them. If you’re in an interview, you beat out most of the applicants to get there, right? I mean, you’ve dodged the ETFs, you’ve made it through this delay or whatever, right? And so you’re good, or you wouldn’t be there, right? They invited you. And they want to like you, they want to trust you. So you know, you should smile, you should make friendly eye contact, you’ve already kind of won some of the competition here, you’re past the worst of it, this is your you’re down to the final leg. So you should be confident about that and happy. And then of course, listen to really well throughout and you know, ask the question based on what you hear. And then then going to get a couple of other ideas here at the end. I like to relax and have fun in interviews. And I know that sounds really counterintuitive, but this kind of gets back to the flipping the power dynamic a little bit, right. You know, you can include jokes, you can joke, as long as you know, they’re respectful, they’re light and tone, you’re not touching on really controversial stuff. You know, you can joke about the weather or traffic or things like that, give me a great example, I interviewed for one company that was a big pharma company, and I walked in the front door and met the hiring manager. And, and and we chatted for a second and I look past him and I saw a big fountain behind behind them. That was you know, painted blue, you know, the way they do with fountains, like sky blue thing, and there was some water running. And I looked at the fountain. And I looked back at him and I, you know, sort of gestured towards the fountain. And I said, so tell me when does when the shampoo come out. And he laughed. And then we went to do the rest the whole day, six different interviews, blah, blah, I left, you know, you ended up making me the offer. And a couple of weeks after I started. I said, By the way, I wanted to say thanks again for for hiring me. And he said Are you kidding? You had me at Shamu!.

Chuck Solomon 31:13

Ted Benson 31:15
right, because he said it sit with him. Now, obviously, not everyone is going to appreciate humor. And again, you got to be careful about deploying it inappropriately or I’m inappropriate topics that might be offensive. So you know, if you’re a very serious person, maybe you don’t want to joke around because you wouldn’t want to work in a joking environment. Right? Maybe for you. But, but I’m a fan of using humor to defuse tension and situations and it worked really well. And in that case, for one, and then and then I’m going to give you a couple of last tips that I strongly recommend for people. And this is both based on how you are ending that that interview process that the end of it.

You want to look the person who’s interviewing you in the eye, as you’re heading out the door, as they’re saying goodbye, is it usually the hiring manager or the HR manager. And you want to be able to say this, honestly, you can’t say it honestly, you shouldn’t say this is this is only something when you you know, you say when you mean it, and you look them, you look him in the eye, you smile, and you say something like, I’m definitely interested in this job. If you feel it, you should say it. And you should say it because you feel and you know, you can add a couple of details before him like, you know, I really enjoyed meeting the team today. And I think this would be an awesome place for me to be and I think I could make a great contribution, just a couple of things that really sort of hammer on the things that really did impress you. It’s a genuine statement. And then you say, I’m definitely interested in this job. And they’re going to remember that, and and the piece on that that then follows on that is for heaven’s sakes, send a thank you note, send a thank you note, it can be you know, a day later, it can be 48 hours later, whatever it can be by email, that’s totally fine. But if you really did like the the opportunity, if you really did appreciate meeting people, tell them whether they hire you or not, they’re going to remember that you were a good person and that you you knew the social niceties, and it’s going to incline them to hire not to not fire. And the last, those last two pieces, the I’m interested in this job, and that thank you note really come down to an insight that I learned quite frankly, from someone I worked with, at one of the bottom farmers is that, who when we were discussing various things about, you know, effectiveness of managers and so forth and so on. She shared with me an absolutely marvelous quote from Maya Angelou, which the poet which which is, I will not remember what you say to me. But I will remember how you make me feel great. And if you can take that, that if you can take that, that that act of trust and confidence and tell somebody you know, I really, I think I would really fit in here, I think I would really enjoy helping you. You say that to them directly. And then you say that to them in an email. They’ll they’ll are they already know you have the ability. That’s how you got in the door. That’s how you got the interview, to take that step and make that personal connection and say, you know, I would I would really like to work with you. I mean, if it’s a genuine act done out of a genuine emotion in your heart and in your thoughts in your mind that you really want to be there and you really want to work with them. There’s no downside to that. There’s no downside to that. And they will remember that and they’ll remember you.

Chuck Solomon 34:31
I agree. I agree. Ted is there. If people wanted to get a hold of you, how would people go ahead and get a hold of you?

Ted Benson 34:42
sure that that’s, that’s fine. I’m happy to give you my email address. As I’m sure you’ll say in my introduction, my my company is a managing partner at a curling chaos. And I set that up with Gerald Bonner last year, and he and I are managing consultants. So we’re really happy to help people and I really like to help people with the the interviewing questions as well. And if people want to get a hold of me, they can ping me at TED Benson at corralling and that’s two R’s and two L’s you can check out our website if you want to learn a little bit more about us or you can look me up on LinkedIn under Ted Benson.

Chuck Solomon 35:30
Ted. Thank you.

Transcribed by

Chuck Solomon

If you like what you hearing on this podcast please subscribe wherever you enjoy podcasts and do share with others. Thanks for listening and here’s my interview. 

Thanks for listening to the Candidate Experience Podcast. You can reach out to us via our website, That’s


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