RageMike wanted to be a car salesman, so when not one, but two dealerships called him, he was ecstatic. His hope was to work in a nearby dealership so that when he had saved up enough money, he could purchase a newer, more reliable car. As a major in management and sales with experience in retail leadership and car mechanics, he thought he stood a good chance.

Unfortunately, the first interview was unlike any he had participated in before. The interviewer was almost pleasant at first, but soon flipped to disinterested, quiet, and almost rude. Mike chalked it up to the pressure he placed on himself to get the job and left feeling as though he didn’t really get a chance to explain anything about himself, his experience or why he was passionate about the company. When the interview for the next dealership came, he was unhappy to find that the interviewer seemed to be almost a mirror image of the last.

Mike, as a future salesperson, has finally run into his first stress interview. For millennials like Mike, it’s shocking to believe this form of interviewing ever existed — let alone is still being used. The hiring managers who use the tactic are usually hiring for high-stress jobs that have short deadlines, sales quotas, or high risks for customers/patients. Because it is important that hires for these positions can handle tense situations, interviewers adopt these almost bully-esque personas.

While the reasons for the stress-interview approach are valid, is the tactic itself always beneficial? Check out what you could be sacrificing:

Brand Image

After leaving the first interview upset and embarrassed, Mike found himself thinking the brand of car that the dealership sold was not as nice as it had been before. In fact, he told his friends about the unpleasant experience via his social media account. It doesn’t need to be said, but reputation is important, and your product or service depends it.

CareerBuilder survey found that while only 9 percent of applicants would tell others not to purchase products or services from the company, nearly a quarter of the unhappy candidates would advise others not to work there. In this social-media fueled world, it’s easy for disgruntled candidates to reach a great number of people in a short amount of time.

That Perfect Hire

Though the hiring manager said he would call him in the next two weeks with an answer, Mike found it hard to believe that the aggressive interview would lead to a job. Moreover, he didn’t think he would want it.

The culture of your company is alluded to within the interview — if not shouted from the rooftops (desktops?). Either way, part of hiring someone who is perfect for a team is knowing how their personality would fit alongside the employees that already do great work. The interview is a moment in time when the inner workings of your business are introduced to someone who isn’t already a part of it.

“…a hostile environment (created by the interviewer) may be cause for a potentially exemplar employee to turn away or reject the offer.  Furthermore, it may cause the applicant to have a negatively biased perception of the company – and we all know how people talk.” - Nancy Perkins, writer at Modern Life Blogs

That Company Morale

A more aggressive interview may leave some candidates and new hires wondering about the personalities of their coworkers. Is this company challenging and constructive, or is it destructively competitive, rewarding only the ruthless? If there is a constant struggle for power among employees, new hires may feel more sensitive or more fired up after the interview. Either direction the hire takes could lead to a hostile environment full of resentment and bullying.

Currently, 48 percent of American adults report experiencing abusive behavior in their jobs. Similar to children trying to avoid bullies by staying home from school, 61 percent of bullying cases lead to turnover. The cost of bullying is more than just happiness and morale: an estimated $250 million annually is spent by the United States alone on these situations.

The tactic a hiring manager takes during the interview can affect more than just the hunt for the right hire. If you use an aggressive stress interview in your company, really consider why. Are you truly preparing candidates for the job, or are you turning away great fits, interested applicants, and/or potential customers and clients?

How do you feel about hiring managers using an aggressive interviewing tactic? Is it effective or harmful?



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