There’s a lot of advice out there about how to screen job applicants. Most of them have to do with the questions that you should ask of your potential employees. Not as many address the tone that you should be taking over all. The eternal question, of course, is friendly job interviews versus intimidating job interviews. There’s always a temptation to set up a harrowing interview process to scare off people who might not be serious about the job, but the question is will it help your business?
Do Professors Use It?
Anyone who’s been to a class with a professor who’s tried to be strict knows that it can be pretty intimidating. On your very first day in class you hear how if you look to your left and then to your right, one of the three of you won’t pass the class. The professor goes over in great detail how they don’t permit retests, and they don’t give out extra credit, and how if you’re more than two minutes late it counts as an absence. They seem to do everything in their power to discourage you from taking the class short of actually forbidding you.
Of course, many people who stick with the class find that the teacher isn’t as difficult as they made themselves appear to be. What was the point of misleading their students? By getting people to quit at the start, they opened up slots for more dedicated and hardworking students. If you make your job interview process appear to be harder, you could be sending the same message to the employees who would otherwise apply: this is a job for serious applicants only. While this may sound like a great idea at first, there are other things that you need to consider.
Does Your Business Have a High Turnover Rate?
If you’re hiring for an entry-level position without a lot of responsibilities or power, you might want to rethink your approach. Even though these jobs are more likely to be staffed by younger people who may need to be scared straight, you have to remember that your position is not unique. Even in these tough times, a lot of people feel like one entry level job is basically like any other. If you make your job sound too difficult or undesirable, you might find that your well of applicants runs dry as word gets out that it’s not worth the effort.
What Age Group Are You Working With?
The second thing you need to take into account is what age group you’re dealing with. As a person gets older they tend to respond less favorably to scare tactics. They also have more of a chance to get the experience that will tell them that you’re trying to intimidate them early on. Giving a young person with their first job a bit of a scare during the interview is a good way to remind them that this is a real job now; trying that with an older adult can get you resentment.