Interview Impasse: Two Out of Three Job Seekers Will Evaluate Job Based on Interviewers They Encounter

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DDI/Monster study reveals frequent miscommunication between seekers and hiring managers.

insufficient compensation, benefits, rewards and recognition

Two-thirds of job seekers report that the interviewer influences their decision to accept a position, according to a study released by Development Dimensions International (DDI) a global human resource consulting firm, and Monster®, the leading global online careers and recruitment resource and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc., which surveyed nearly 6,000 staffing directors, hiring managers and job seekers.

“An interview can quickly escalate from being a ‘meeting of the minds’ to a ‘clash of personalities’ if both parties are not prepared and respectful of one another,” Scott Erker, DDI’s senior vice president of selection solutions, said. “Interviewers sit inches from the candidate, but there’s a wide gap between what they think candidates are looking for and what would actually motivate interviewees to become employees.”

“The interview is not only a crucial assessment touch point in the recruiting process, it’s an important marketing and branding opportunity,” said Neal Bruce, vice president of alliances, Monster. “Amidst today’s war for talent, successful interviewers will quickly determine the marketing messages that resonate with each individual candidate and reinforce those messages.”

The Selection Forecast 2006-2007 is DDI’s third study of hiring and recruiting practices since 1999, providing perspective on the changing shape of the hiring market over the last eight years. Survey respondents included 628 staffing directors, 1,250 hiring managers and 3,725 job seekers who revealed that despite the fact that companies are increasingly desperate for talent, many are becoming their own worst obstacles when interviewing qualified candidates. Other significant findings from the research include:

70 Percent of Job Seekers Say Aloof is Annoying.
Job seekers identify a number of interviewer behaviors that adversely affect their willingness to work at the company in question. For instance, 70% of interviewees rank “acting like has no time to talk to me” as a common – and annoying– behavior of hiring managers and staffing directors. Other irritating behaviors exhibited by interviewers include:

  • Withholding information about position (57%)
  • Turning interview into cross-examination (51%)
  • Showing up late (48%)
  • Appearing unprepared for interview (47%)
  • Asking questions unrelated to job skills (43%)

No One Understands Me.
Staffing directors and hiring managers often struggle to identify what job seekers want in a new job and misunderstand the elements that are most important to potential employees. For example, 67% of job seekers identify a “compatible work group/team” as a significant factor in their job hunt, but only 37% of staffing directors ascribe a similar importance to this aspect. While job seekers rank the need for “a good boss/manager” (75%) and ”an organization you can be proud to work for” (74%) among the top most important elements of a new job, these are underrated by employers.

Employees Are Not Always Who They Say They Are.
Another gap exists between employees and employers in assessing whether or not job seekers misrepresent themselves when interviewing for a position. While 58% of hiring managers say that job seekers misrepresent their experience on a resume or during the interview, only 5% of potential employees admit to doing so. This trend carries throughout…while 31% of hiring managers claim job seekers misrepresent their education, only 3% of potential employees agree. And though only 15% of job seekers admit to using a personal, non-work friend as a reference, 40% of hiring managers say they do.

New Employees May Still Be Job Hunters.
Job seekers are cavalier about staying with an organization, and are driven by the mantra that if one job doesn’t work out, another one will – 52% have had between two and three jobs over the last five years. Nearly one-third of the job seekers surveyed had only been in their current job for six months or less, but were already in the market for a new one – using their existing position as a placeholder job until something better comes along.

Was It Something I Said?
Employees rank “insufficient compensation, benefits, rewards and recognition” as their top reason for leaving their job, while hiring managers and staffing directors rank this third. Furthermore, while hiring managers and staffing directors rank “external factors (e.g., spouse moves, going back to school)” number-one and two respectively, job seekers rank it tenth, tied with “job changed focus or scope over time.”

“Employers often don’t know what motivates their employees to accept jobs or what drives them to look for a new one and leave,” said Erker. “The war for talent hinges on employers closing the gap between their perceptions and employee realities.”

About DDI
Founded in 1970, Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consulting firm, helps organizations close the gap between today’s talent capability and future talent needs. DDI’s expertise includes designing and implementing selection systems, and identifying and developing front-line to executive leadership talent. With more than 1,000 associates in 75 offices in 26 countries, the firm advises half of the Fortune 500. For more information visit

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