Here is a historical background of the word “Gamble”
A verb: gamble is from a derivative of gamel “to play games” (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. It was originally regarded as a slang word.
A noun: “risky venture”
Today’s version of the word “Gamble”
To take a chance on; venture; risk:
Nothing says risky like a job interview! Using instinct and judgment to achieve a desired result for both the candidate and employer. This sure sounds like the current business market to me.
Here is one of my interview stories;
I wear my best interview outfit and have on my control top pantyhose. The car is gassed up and clean. I have 4 copies of my resume with my driver license and social security card tucked in my wallet. My daughter and I have done a dry run to the interview location, the day before, and clocked how much time it will take to get there. I have accounted for fire trucks and a bus I may get stuck behind. Alright, game day! I get there and I am feeling clean, confident and smart. Fast forward to 47 minutes later and I am sitting in my car decidedly underwhelmed and trying to figure out how I feel about the role and what just happened. What does my gut say? It says I need a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen! I am sure that I am not the only person that this has ever happened to but I feel pretty alone.
If you have ever played craps, it a pretty exciting game. When a commercial for a casino comes on there is always a spot on the craps table because it is boisterous and enthusiastic. Everyone wins or everyone loses. That is why you hear yelling when you walk through the casino floor, everyone is winning. I think a game of craps is similar to hiring a candidate or interviewing for a job. Everyone wants to win but not everyone does. I have been on both sides of the table, in Human Resources representing the employer and also a candidate looking for a job.
When I sit on the employer side this is what I am looking for in a candidate;
• The best candidate I can find for the salary I have been allotted
• Do they meets the necessary job skills
• An individual that will represent the company well
• Good cultural fit and will get along with the team
• Positive attitude
I have interviewed that hiring manager and found out their wish list and off I go on my search. I have sorted my stack of resumes and now my job as an employer is to discover what these candidates are really about. I will read between the lines in the resume, phone screen and in person interview to try and come up with the clear picture of this person. Social media is a big help with recruiting in today’s market and I firmly believe it is the future way to find out information about potential candidates. When the right candidate comes in and is a success it is a big win for me and the company. Unfortunately, I have not always been right and at times I misjudged a candidate and paid for it dearly but also learned a tremendous amount about red flags to look for when interviewing. For example, one man I interviewed spoke mainly about the salary, bonus and commission structure and when he would be to be promoted. He also let me know that this role was a lesser role than he deserved. We had not even hired him yet and he was asking about promotion!
Let’s flip the table and now I am interviewing for a new role.
When I sit as a candidate being interviewed this is what I am looking for in the new role;
• Great boss and good personality match for me
• Role fit and future potential
• Good skills match
• Best pay
• Company culture
Wow, pretty much the same list! If you look at both of the list for desires each one is nearly identical. The trick lies in that both the employer and the candidate are truthful and honest about themselves and the role. I have seen times when a new employee was upset because what they interviewed for and the role there was doing were different. I have also seen a hiring manager upset because a new employee misstated their skills and was not qualified for the job.
No one knows the outcome of the game until weeks or perhaps a year later when the person takes the job.
I have included some tips that I have found helpful when interviewing from both sides as a candidate and an HR professional.
This is your first and best opportunity to shine! Your resume made it out of the stack and now you have a call scheduled. When you are interviewing for a job over the phone, treat the opportunity with respect. Have a quiet place where you will be uninterrupted for an hour or more. I have taken interviews in my car and my walk-in closet to ensure I am not disturbed. Target is never a good place to take an interview phone call! When they ask you about your salary expectation, I recommend that you don’t say anything about it other than it depends upon the role. That way you are not boxed in.
In Person Interview
Now you have gotten to that second stage of interviewing research the company and have a list of questions. Some of my favorites are asking about what an average day in the role is like and what are the top 3 items or projects for the year. Be ready for any kind of interview in any location. I recommend doing a dry run to the office location to have a clear idea of where any snags might happen. Keep your clothing conservative, clean and professional. Make sure and have extra copies of your resume and some cash for parking. Breath mints never hurt either! I did read a story when an employer said that a candidate ate an entire can of mints during the interview. I think that person must have had the freshest breath in town.
I have been in some really hot interview rooms and was thankful I had on a jacket I could remove when I got too warm. The funniest question I have been asked was if I was an ice cream flavor what I would be. I answered Neapolitan and said that I am a little bit of everything a “jack of all trades’. I have no idea if the answer was what they were looking for but I got the job.
Take note of the “office vibe” and culture. Are people running around and not smiling? Is the office clean and bright or dirty and unkempt? This will be a location that you spend 40 or more hours per week so take note.
When you leave shake all appropriate hands and when you get home send a hand written thank you note. Many people don’t send any kind of note and this is a professional and classy touch to wrap everything up. I have gotten a job because I sent a thank you note and none of the other candidates had done so.
After I screen all the resumes and have a short stack I will look them up in social media to get a complete picture of the candidate. I once had a candidate put her website on her resume and I went to check it out. It was mainly about her drinking and partying including pictures of these activities, needless to say her resume was rejected.
I am a big believer in a phone interview and I can tell a lot about a person in the first couple of minutes on the call. First off, are they on time for the call? Is this person hard to understand on the phone and are they answer my basic questions clearly. This is also the time to ask about salary expectation and history. By bringing it up in the beginning it alleviates a problem if it is not in the same range that you are look for to fill the role. At this point if I want to bring the person in I have a pretty good idea about them and we have built a rapport. If not then I have not wasted what could have been 2 hours and meeting space.
In Person Interview
Surprisingly, I get nervous when I am interviewing candidates. If I have a good feeling about the person I am excited to meet them and am hopeful that I can fill the role. When I am interviewing, I treat my interviews as a conversation. I prefer the natural approach and let them tell me about their experience and background. It is amazing what people will tell you when the interviewer and the interviewee are comfortable together. I had one woman tell me at the end of the interview that she had to tell me something. Of course I was concerned when she said that and I asked her what it was and she said she was an actor and was hopeful that the role would provide flexibility during the day to go out to casting calls. I spoke with the hiring manager about her desire to be an actor and we decided that she was not a good fit for the role but I appreciated her being comfortable enough to tell me.
Make sure and have a clear job description to ask appropriate questions. There is nothing worse that bringing someone in when the role is not clear. It will lead to frustration on the part of the candidate. I will then look for gaps in employment and ask for clarification and explanations. Look for clues in their resume as to what they are about and how they are as a worker. It is as much about what they don’t say as what they do say. I ask them how they have dealt with a past difficult situation or co-worker and listen when they explain the situation and how they handled it. One woman I interviewed talked about how she had just met her former co-workers for dinner the previous week. In my eyes this showed that she was well liked and to maintained contact even after leaving the company.
I wrap up the interview and try and ensure that the candidate leaves with a good feeling. Even though I may have decided that the person is not a good fit they may tell others about their experience and I want it to be positive.
At the end of the interview process we both want the same things. For the employer, this means a solid contributor for the company and for the candidate a meaningful and competitively paid role. Nothing that is said during the interview replaces the experience of a real day on the job.
In the words of Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games “may the odds be ever in your favor”.
Roll the dice.