Article: An Interviewlogue: No Method in the Madness

Talent Acquisition

An Interviewlogue: No Method in the Madness

There are the ones who have rolled from operations to marketing to HR to sales - excellent raconteurs, glib talkers, suave, charmers - if you were not careful, you would end up hiring them!
An Interviewlogue: No Method in the Madness

A bad boss is a terrible thing to manage but the wrong reason to quit, because bad managers are everywhere


A missed promotion is disappointing but walking out in a huff without knowing why will only lead to another missed promotion


All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances..

I know Shakespeare is not everyone’s cup of tea, he was not mine too but this was my frame of mind after I spent an entire week interviewing candidates for a role.
The stage was set for the week- “it was my glass house”. The characters - all the men and women, who came in for the interview and boy, were there many entrances and exits!!
So just like any other play ‘The Interviewlogue’, is a detailed descriptive sketch that depicts the week of interviews that was, it is filled with dialogues and myriad interesting characters.
The end objective was… no, not for me to lose the remaining hair on my head but was for us to hire somebody who would hit the ground running, a specialist from the industry and one who can work independently. Phew… lucky for me, they did not want somebody with a minor twitch in the left ear and a mole south of the right cheek!

To say the least the characters were a colourful riot! Join me as I recall the character sketches:

Character sketch 1 - Candidates who boast of 15 years of experience one that most would term-“ 1 year of experience, repeated 15 times”!
What we were looking for were specialists with deep domain expertise.
And grand entrances were made by those who had done the same job in covering almost all shades of the rainbow and even more, but the content and deliverables were the same, still as calm waters! Little variability! Typically they had moved jobs every 3-5 years but moved to do the same job in different companies.
Character Sketch 2 - Candidate with same but bigger jobs!
What we were looking for was scale and diversity.
But the ones I met - Did the same job but on a larger scale. If they managed a scale of 1 million, they moved on to manage 5 million, but the deliverables if you adjust for scale were pretty much the same. They were an interesting mix – span of 7 to 11 years in experience; and others had short 2 years stints. The 7 to 11 years got promoted every other year until they were incompetent and moved to sell their wares in other companies, the 2 years ones did not get promoted within, so given the crazy economy, they found jobs in other companies that gave the promotions! But the pattern repeated every 2 years!
Character Sketch 3 - Candidates who were “jack of all trades, but master of none”
What we were looking for were specialists.
Entered - “Jacks” from across the world over. There were ones that had rolled from operations to marketing to HR to sales… excellent raconteur, glib talkers, suave, charmers – if you were not careful, you would have hired them. Most of them were dedicated, consistent single company folks who kept taking rotations internally, and now were looking for an external rotation.
Character Sketch 4 - Candidates termed “Puff the Magic Dragon”
What we were looking for - Mature, practical leaders who will work independently and take accountability.
Voila, came in some very ‘eager’, a term I would use to politely describe “candidates who will call twice to check the address and land up 10 minutes before the meeting”. Resume is very well done, every detail attended to - a clear sign that they had spent a lot of time polishing it and preparing for the meeting. Nothing wrong, only their reason to move on seemed to be more because they were angry with their current set up. Sort of a dragon fuming either because of a bad manager, or missed promotion, or perceived inequity in pay blah blah blah … the reasons were many. They just wanted to get out!
So with all of the above, by mid week it was most certainly, time for an intermission!!!!

Else I would have to start looking for a job myself!

So I took time off to write what I had liked in the candidates I met? Somebody who:

Knows why they wanted this job - Clearly knows the pull factor the job offers - is it something new, be it experience, exposure or extra money. They will design their success if they know what they wanted.
Had no push factor - A bad boss is a terrible thing to manage but the wrong reason to quit, because bad managers are everywhere. A missed promotion is disappointing but walking out in a huff without knowing why will only lead to another missed promotion.
Knew what they were getting into - How can you trust your life, your family and your future without understanding who you are signing up with? Basically, you would be surprised that many were not aware of the areas we specialized in while others did not know how many employees or even which role they were interviewing for!
Is neither a rolling stone nor a moss covered one - Had spent considerable time in the companies they chose to work - one of them had worked in 8 companies in 14 years! Had taken time to build a diverse portfolio and had depth as well.

Finally I did find my heroine… who will hopefully l join soon! While she is getting ready to join us, go ahead and leave your comments, experiences you had while either interviewing or being interviewed at

Elango R, is the Chief Human Resources Officer at MphasiS. He blogs on and follow him on twitter@ agastyasays

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Watercooler

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