What the Interview Process Says About Your Company’s Brand?

brand matchupEmployer BrandingInterviewPersonal Branding

There are not too many things more daunting or more stressful than the interview process.  Regardless of how much experience you have, it is often not easy to have your entire professional career examined under a microscope.  It is actually not that much different from being a clown in the circus as people wait to see how many balls you can juggle.  I had the opportunity to participate in a round of interviews with an organization recently and the experience had a profound effect on my interpretation of their brand and the relationship between the interview process and organizational brands.

Round # 1

photoI arrive at the office for the first interview and I am greeted by my primary contact.  I receive a warm welcome as I am escorted to the room where the interview will take place.  This is a small company so we are forced to borrow an office to conduct the interview.  At this point, I am in a good place and eager to get the interview started and genuinely excited about the opportunity.  So imagine my surprise when the CEO walks in shortly after me, sits down, does not make eye contact (barely says hello) and waits for the interview to begin.   Ouch!

My contact begins to ask me questions about myself, background etc… In the interim, the CEO is playing with his iPhone while doing his best to avoid eye contact.  He seems completely uninterested in what I have to say and occasionally picks his head up to give me a fake smile.  The issue here was something deeper. His body language screams “I am too cool for school.”  I am doing my best to hang in there but I am starting to get annoyed at the CEO’s behavior which I think is both disrespectful and unprofessional.  I come close to calling a time-out and ending this charade of an interview.  Instead, I sit there and continue to answer questions while pretending to be interested in the position.  It starts to feel like a blind date that has gone bad and I am too polite to say so.  Beyond being annoyed, it occurred to me just how important the interview process is in terms of articulating your company brand to job candidates. My image of this company was a negative 10 at this point.

Would I ever refer anyone to this company? No!  If an organization cannot treat their candidates with respect one has to wonder how they treat their customers.

Lessons learned:

  1. There exists a symbiotic relationship between the hiring process and a company’s reputation and image.
  2. The ability to treat a candidate with respect emanates from the value system of an organization.
  3. The hiring process is a reflection of a company’s culture; it is the sum of its parts.


Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales and marketing aficionado, keynote speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations.  He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  A graduate of Colgate University, he lives Carlsbad, CA with his wife and four daughters.  You may contact him via e-mail at devin@devinchughes.com. His website is: http://www.devinchughes.com/ He is also a featured blogger on http://www.upstartnation.biz.