Mishaps While Interviewing

Is it worth worrying about slip-ups during recruitment? Of course not! After all, we’re only human on both sides of the table (or monitor). 

A job interview is a big stress for many of you. We might get emotional as well, so it’s not difficult to make a minor slip-up or a major blunder. Take, for example, the funny situation in which I mistakenly rejected the candidature of one of our current employees before we had even interviewed him. His CV simply got lost, ended up in the wrong database and from there straight to the archive. Well, it happens – the most important thing is that we managed to correct the mistake in time, and Karol is today a member of our team. Greetings, Karol! 😉

Pandemic and Crocs

Many of these day-to-day stumbles, not just recruitment ones, have their roots in the coronavirus pandemic that lasted more than two years. In that time, we stopped coming to the office, swapped fancy shirts and suits for comfortable hoodies and, in some cases, even pyjamas or stylish tracksuits… Once, even before lockdown, in my haste and absent-mindedness, I happened to receive a job applicant in floral Crocs, which I had dressed moments before to give my feet a rest in heeled shoes. On another occasion, I stood up abruptly from my computer during an online interview, covering the entire screen with a jumper. I’ve also had a few interviews where I forgot to mute the microphone and at the same time the all-important phone rang or the printer behind me admirably spit out more company documents, making a lot of noise.

Today, hardly anyone is surprised by a courier ringing the doorbell during a virtual meeting or a child who, at that very moment, has some pressing problem to solve. Somewhere in the background, a dog is barking, the sound of water being flushed down the toilet. Sometimes we’re late for a meeting, can’t get Zoom to cooperate or forget to switch to the right account.

We’re only human and, as they say, ‘nothing human is foreign to us’

A slip-up is a slip-up, not a disqualification

We always tell our candidates that our first meeting is more of a social one – we want to get to know each other, sniff each other, rather than treating the initial recruitment interview as an exam. ‘Fuckup’ always sounds scary, but all those little stumbles that we immediately try to turn into a joke can defuse the situation and in a while nobody remembers them anymore. Moreover, we realise that the person on the other side of the screen is generally stressed, so we deliberately allow ourselves a bit of slack. The fact that a guy’s earphone falls out of his ear in the middle of a conversation, or a girl ‘turns as red as a beet’ because, in her background, her partner walks by with the laundry in nothing but shorts, doesn’t in any way disqualify them – either as a person or as an expert. Besides, the reaction to stumbles also reveals to some extent the psychological profile of the candidate – one will turn it into a joke, another will keep a poker face and a third will get even more stressed and withdraw.

How cool can you be?

I remember one situation where a recruitment interview went very well, we made the girl an offer, but she resigned because, as she said, ‘she didn’t feel the right flow with us’. This gave me food for thought at the time. I wondered if we weren’t being too casual, not professional enough. But that’s the nature of working at Storware. We’re specialists, but we’re not a deadly serious corporation – we realise that someone who isn’t used to this style of working might find it somewhat disruptive or even impossible to work with. It’s better for this to come out at the interview than to bring disappointment and create misunderstandings later, during the work. After all, it’s hard to work in a place where you have to ‘dress up’, put on a mask and pretend to be someone you aren’t. We know from our own experience that this not only affects the comfort of your work, but also its quality – and ultimately, the satisfaction of both parties. That’s why we say it again and again: be understanding, forgiving and gentle with each other. This is ‘only’ and ‘as much as’ work, and we’re, above all, people who should be driven by empathy. Because these are the kind of people you simply want to work with and spend a good part of your day with.

text written by:

Aleksandra Lipowska, HR Team Leader