If you have been involved in hiring any length of time chances are you’ve been asked to do a ‘courtesy interview.’ This is an interview where the candidate is someone you know going in you will not hire. They may have been referred by someone your company is involved with, a colleague, or the always popular ‘he knows someone.’ The ‘someone’ is well up the food chain from you. So you bring him or her in, burn an hour firing questions at them, leading them to believe they have a shot.
I have long opposed the practice as misleading, if not just plain dishonest. Of course the person who made the referral looks good because Johnny Candidate has an interview. The rest of us look not so good. Time is the asset those looking for work prize most. Productive activities toward finding the job is key. Serving as a time sponge is not my thing. You could argue I am helping Johnny Candidate with his interviewing skills. Shouldn’t he know that going in?
At its conclusion the courtesy interview creates a series of thank you notes, emails and phone calls inquiring about where they stand. At best I can say the interview process is ongoing. Once the opening is filled, one more applicant has to needlessly hear, ‘We’ve filled the position.’ to which the words ‘and its not you!’ magically register in their mind’s eye.
Another stake driven through their heart. As Nick Lowe sang, ‘You’ve got to be cruel to be kind..’ We raise hope only to dash it.
Is the Courtesy Interview a courtesy or applicant abuse?