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Out of Control Interview

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Application Case – The Out-of-Control Interview

1. How would you explain the nature of the panel interview Maria had to endure? Specifically do you think it reflected a well-thought-out interviewing strategy on the part of the firm or carelessness on the part of the firm’s management? If it was carelessness, what would you do to improve the interview process at Apex Environmental?
It is possible that the panel interview of Maria Fernandez at Apex International was a stress interview designed to determine how she reacts under pressure and with a barrage of irrelevant and sexist questions. However, stress interviews are viewed as unethical and of poor taste. Apparently, Apex International management was careless in its interview strategy. First, it constituted a panel of five men who maybe well acquainted with the company’s operations but could be possibly lacking in experience in HR functions, particularly in recruitment and selection. It is assumed that the HR manager or any HR specialist who could have provided structure, direction and control to the interview was not part of the panel. To address this concern, it is highly recommended that Apex International conduct trainings for interviewers in order to maximize utility of interviews as a tool at arriving at a selection decision as well as to avoid straying off course and asking questions that have potential job discrimination implications.
2. Would you take the job if you were Maria? If you’re not sure, is there any additional information that would help you make your decision, and if so, what is it?
I am unsure in taking the job offer. I would take into careful consideration the company’s Code of Conduct and Ethics. Based on what happened, it appears that there are concerns on the culture of the company, particularly on sexual harassment and equality in the workplace. Questions asked during the panel interview indicate loose policies on sexual harassment. While interviews are primarily designed to find out if the job applicant has the experience and skills needed for the position, it could also be a tool for the company to emphasize its culture, leadership, among others.
3. The job of applications engineer for which Maria was applying requires: (a) excellent technical skills with respect to mechanical engineering; (b) commitment to working in the area of pollution control; (c) the ability to deal well and confidently with customers who have engineering problems; (d) willingness to travel worldwide; and, (e) a very intelligent and well-balanced personality. What questions would you ask when interviewing applicants for the job.
Sample Questions:
1. How do you think your mechanical engineering degree can help you in your job in pollution control?
2. If I were to ask your reporting staff to comment on your leadership style, your leadership strengths, and your leadership weaknesses, how would they respond? What would this discussion tell me about you as a leader?
3. Suppose a client approached and asked you a difficult technical question that you could not answer. What would you do?

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