Meet the Idiot Named Kerry

Meet the Idiot Named Kerry

by Kerry Scott on 16 October 2009


I was conducting a bunch of phone interviews.  Like, 10-12 phone interviews per day, at 45 minutes each, back to back, for days on end.  You should never do that, because it makes you stupid.

The way I do phone interviews is this:

  • I lay out the interview questions on the left side of a Word table.  On the right side, there are blanks for the answers.
  • The candidate talks.
  • I type in pretty much word-for-word what they say. I have a freakish ability to type as people talk and capture almost everything.  It’s handy, because then the hiring manager can see for him/herself what the person said.  I am very big on letting hiring managers be the decision makers, and they need enough information to make good decisions.  Plus, sometimes I don’t know what the hell these people are talking about (especially for very technical positions).  In those cases, it’s best that I document what they say and give it to someone who actually knows the job.
  • At the very bottom of this Word document, there’s a place for me to type in my general thoughts about the person.  At the top, I either put “recommended for interview” or “not recommended for interview.”  I fill that in, and then email it to the hiring manager, along with the resume and cover letter.  I’ve done this thousands of times.  Thousands.  It’s not that hard.

So I had completed this one interview.  It was the 11th out of 12 I had scheduled for that day.  The guy was good, so I put in, “Recommended for interview,” and I wrote something at the bottom like, “Strong experience and great communication skills.  Would probably be a good fit for this client group.”

It’s a good thing I did, because instead of sending it to the hiring manager, I sent it to the candidate.  The whole thing.  With the interview notes and recommendations and everything.

I didn’t even realize I’d done it until he emailed me back, with a note that said something like, “Thanks—I liked you too.  You’re recommended!”

I stared at that email as it slowly dawned on me that I was an idiot.

And then I sent it to the hiring manager, who hired him…because when you have someone who is qualified AND has a sense of humor, you grab ‘em.

Tales of the Cluefree appear pretty much every Friday. Past stories are here.

Photo by Lin Pernille Photography

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Amy Boland October 16, 2009 at 9:02 am

One mistake in a week of 10 interviews a day? That’s only a 2% failure rate and there were no process safeguards in place. I’d say you’re NOT an idiot.
.-= Amy Boland´s last blog ..Roast me a chicken =-.

Kerry Sandberg Scott October 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

Amy—it didn’t feel that way at the time. I was really lucky that it was a candidate I’d recommended…and also that it happened before Twitter and blogs and stuff.

Sabrina October 16, 2009 at 9:48 am

What Amy said. I think that qualifies for Six Sigma!! :)

novice-hr October 16, 2009 at 11:07 am

wow i know what you mean.. just imagine what it would be like if you had sent out the one that you didn’t recommend.. but on second thought, I don’t think I would want to even imagine that =)
.-= novice-hr´s last blog ..The Value of an MBA =-.

abdpbt October 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm

LOVE THIS STORY. I would have hired him, too.

Tim G October 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm

We all have our cluefree moments. We can’t all recognize them as such. Someone I know would have told me that her email client had malfunctioned and somehow put the candidate’s email address in the “To” box. And she’d think I’d buy the story. Who’s clufree now?
.-= Tim G´s last blog ..The Moment of Choice =-.

a traveller... October 22, 2009 at 12:16 am

Be very glad you didn’t send the submissions of the candidates of an assessment to one of the participants instead of an assessor with the same name – I’ve been there!

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