Clark Glassford Helps Us Prepare for a Job Interview

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In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author and consultant Clark Glassford on what we need to do as applicants and interviewers to better prepare for a job interview.

A few reasons why he is awesome  —  he is an interview coach through his consultancy – My Practice Interview, helping his clients get their dream job from first contact right through the interview. He’s also the author of My Practice Interview – Prepare Yourself For the Job You Deserve, where he shares his more than 25 years of senior management HR experience.

Connect with, and learn more about Clark on his…



  • The importance of self-advocacy.
  • The need for thorough preparation before an interview.
  • How treating applicants like numbers can hurt the company brand.
  • Why highlighting our unique qualities can help us stand out.
  • Understanding and evaluating company culture.
  • Asking relevant questions as the applicant and the employer.
  • Challenges technology can bring to recruitment.

“One of the biggest things, and I say this to people and clients all the time when they’re talking about their career and where they’re, where they want to go in, in their career, no one is focused on your career other than you. And the only person that can advocate for your career is you.”

Clark Glassford



Russel Lolacher: And on the show today we have Clark Glassford and here is why he is awesome. He’s an interview coach through his consultancy. My Practice Interview that helps you get your dream job from first contact right through the interview.

He’s the author of My Practice Interview… kind of matches his brand really well. Prepare Yourself for The Job You Deserve. He’s also got more than 25 years of senior management HR experience, including in recruitment, which is a lot of what we’re talking about today. And he’s here.

Clark Glassford: Hello, Russ. Thank you for having me. Awesome to be here.

Russel Lolacher: So funny story because most people have never heard anyone ever call me Russ. I’ve known Clark for about 20 years. And Russ, that’s awfully formal, but no thrilled to have you on, Clark. I love what you’ve been doing in the interview space. And I don’t know if enough people are really talking about it.

Mostly as much from preparing to be an interviewee, but also how interviewers could be a little smarter about this stuff. So super excited to talk about this. However, I know we’ve known each other forever, but you are not getting off that easy when I have my first question, Clark Glassford, which is what’s your best. Or worst employee experience, sir?

Clark Glassford: I think, yeah, I can give you, I can give you an answer to both of those. My worst it probably sounds like a old tale that you’ve heard a thousand times, but it’s the big corporation going through major reorganization, downsizing, all of that stuff and employees getting caught up in the mix of the the big disastrous changeover. And for me, it was a point in my career where I had staked out where exactly I was going in my career, how I was working my way up the corporate ladder, all the experience and skills as I was attaining along the way, thinking that I was fully in control of my own destiny. And of course, rudely finding out that I wasn’t, and the method in which the change occurred in the organization and the trajectory that I thought I was on and then being shuffled out to a completely different job, not even in my HR profession was, at the time to me, fairly devastating. Like anyone who’s been through that the lack of communication, the lack of justification the, sentiment that you should just be glad you have a job when you think you’re in control of your own destiny, it stung pretty hard.

So that was probably my worst experience in the fact that I had come from a place where I was, I’d seen my parents through the eighties and nineties go through corporate restructures and kind of being shuffled aside. And that lack of care and attention, thinking I was with an employer that had care and attention, and then just as the economy changes, so does the attitude towards employees change and then I’m caught up and I’m one of the numbers and then I’m out of the door kind of thing. But good things happen out of bad things as well. And so my best employee experience from that was learning that sometimes you’re on a path and you think you’re on the right path, and if you don’t pay attention, kind of the detours, you may have heard that pay attention to the detours along the way, because they may be the path you actually should be on. And this resulted in a significant change in my own career, moving on to a different employer, advocating for myself and in that process, and the employer I landed with was an excellent employer, very focused on, employee first, right?

And care and attention to employees first, and it taught me a lot going through that. But the pain and the sting that happens initially, it’s hard to see through that sometimes. It also to your introduction to me there, it allowed me to create my own business doing interview coaching and consulting.

And that’s been one of the most rewarding things as well. So from bad came good and I, really can’t complain.

Russel Lolacher: So I have so many questions. I know that’s not our topic today, but I do want to, obviously we’re not going to get into specific details, but I’m kind of curious of the generalities of it. Was the betrayal, I’m going to great word, the betrayal of feeling like a number instead of a person, was it a shift?

Did it feel that big of a shift? I mean, these things feel like they come out of nowhere. But at the same time, did you think they were employee centric and then they suddenly weren’t, or was it always just sort of bubbling under the surface? I’m always curious about that canary in a coal mine kind of situation because we’re always so shocked by it, but then were they really that, were we really that far off?

Were we really needing to be that surprised? Are we just not paying attention?

Clark Glassford: Yeah. I like, I think there’s probably some naivety there I was a lot younger in my career at the time. But there was at least at the time for me, there wasn’t a sense that I would be as indispensable as I ended up being. I thought I was part of the it kind of sounds high school cliche, part of the in group, and being part of that in group allowed me certain safety measures that would carry me through to the next level of my career, no matter what the economic circumstances of the organization were, no matter what the changes were, I would be part of, I would be part of the next stage of growth of those changes.

And instead I wasn’t and I was quickly found myself on the outside looking in, I think the, one of the biggest things, and I say this to people and clients all the time when they’re talking about their career and where they’re, where they want to go in, in their career, no one is focused on your career other than you.

And the only person that can advocate for your career is you. And that’s a lesson I learned out of that. And because I was moved to a different position. I was there for a while. I wasn’t pleased with that. And then I started the advocacy of me right and started to make, started to say, this is not what I want.

I need something different. I need to start looking for something else. This is not where I want my career to go. And that just started opening up a lot of doors because now you’re, saying that out loud and people are going, oh, I didn’t realize all those types of things where. You think people have your best interests in mind. They don’t. You have your best interests in mind and you need to keep that in mind as you’re in your career. No matter how good the company is, you have to be advocating for yourself.

Russel Lolacher: And a lot of change happens in organizations where that person that’s said they had your back suddenly aren’t in a position to have your back anymore as things shift and move around them as well.

Clark Glassford: 100%. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Like 100%. Some of the people that I thought back then would have had my back, their hands became tied. And so it wasn’t necessarily their decision that led to me being where I was. It was just they, had to make some harsh moves and I was just one of them. Yeah.

Russel Lolacher: So off to trying to get a job, Clark. Today, we’re talking about interviews. I think I know the answer to this question, but I have to ask you anyway, do you think employers or prospective employees take interviews seriously enough, in the world that we live in now?

Clark Glassford: No. My short answer is no. I can answer on, on both sides. So from the employee, the job seeker perspective, I don’t think there’s enough solid understanding about what’s involved in an interview process, how to prepare for that interview process, and just. How much time you need to be thinking about in advance of that interview, what you want to say about yourself, right?

And, the things you want to sell yourself with the confidence you want to portray in those interviews and the practice in advance you need. I just, I don’t think people really understand that those first impressions that you make in the interview are so crucial to your success in an interview.

Even more so sometimes some of the answers that you say, so having that planning, that forethought, that practice that you need to take for an interview is really key. But I don’t, I think a lot of people think my resume is really good. I’ve got a great background. I’m full of experience. I’m ideal for this job. Everything I’ve put on my resume should speak for itself. And I’m just going to have a conversation like you and I are having. And it’s a lot of the time, a far more formal process than they’re expecting. So that’s on the employee side or the job applicant side. On the employer side, a lot of the time becomes a numbers game and so they’re processing like it’s a bit of an assembly line, application in application out. They’re quickly screening, they’re calling people for interviews they’re getting into references. They want to hire people, but there’s so much along the way that they’re missing in terms of really making that strong connection with any applicant that comes through whatever the system is, the employers using to track applications and and funnel into a process and it leaves a bad taste in a lot of applicants mouths going if this employer treats people this poorly, when I’ve put in a lot of effort to apply to them, I don’t think I want to apply to them again.

And I don’t think I’m going to recommend this organization to anybody who I’m talking to. That so and so, ABC organization is hiring, I’m not going to tell my friends about that place because they’ve kind of treated me like crap. And it’s a fair statement because applicants put in a ton of time when they’re applying for jobs.

It’s not a quick copy and paste. It’s usually hours applying and employers need to do better on that front.

Russel Lolacher: I love that you pointed that out about the brand that it can break by employees that aren’t even working for you have never, maybe they get the interview. Maybe they don’t, but if they have a bad experience, that’s their rep, that’s their belief of your brand now. And they’re going to tell everybody else. They may have never bought your product, and yet they’re going to be the first thing they’re going to talk about how horrible of a place you are to work at. And yet. And yet the employee journey people always think is about, Oh, it starts at onboarding. Oh goodness. No. Oh goodness. No. So we’re gonna have a bit of fun today, Clark, cause I want to split up, my sort of how we approach this in the interviewee and the interviewer. And that how, we can look at this differently, not only as a leader looking for a new opportunity, but also as an organization that’s trying to get the right fit, trying to do this right by the, interviewee or the prospective employer employee, Oh, this is going to be tough with all the employee employer interview, any of your. Okay. Interviewee. That’s what we’re going to start with. Starting out of the gate. And I know there’s lots of things, but I want to start first with what are a few things, maybe like the top three that someone should do to… before they even get an interview. And I’m thinking like mentally, physically, research wise, what would you recommend top three, top five of how to prepare yourself for that interview?

Clark Glassford: Yeah. Great. Really awesome question there. First you just said one of them research, right? Research, so important as part of all your interview preparation, needing to really understand when you’re applying for an organization, it’s not just kind of this willy nilly, I’m going to apply and hope for the best you’re applying to a specific organization.

And the question you should be asking is why am I applying to this organization? For this specific role, with the type of people that I may be working for. And so a lot of that comes down to your pre research before you’ve even put your resume in looking at company websites, social media, news articles, LinkedIn is absolutely key for that in terms of finding out who’s who in that organization. And if you know in advance who you may be interviewed by starting to do your research on those individuals, that helps you gain a really fulsome understanding of the organization and what you may be in for and start actually building excitement.

I mean, now you’re going, okay. And I seem to know a little bit about this place. I’m getting excited about it. I really want to work here because typically the first question asked out of interview, why did you apply? And if you stumble through that question again, talking about first impressions.

You’re setting yourself up for a first impression where you’re stumbling through an answer. It doesn’t usually bode well in an interview. So that’s, that, that’s number one. Knowing your value, I would say it would be number two, right? So knowing your value and what you bring to the organization, to the role.

And a lot of people surprisingly struggle with this. And it’s not because sometimes it’s just confidence in general, but sometimes just being able to articulate. Specifically what you, have, what your background’s all about what, makes you unique, right? Not just necessarily, not necessarily just your work experience and your education, but things outside of that work life that make you unique.

Maybe you do a bunch of volunteer work. Maybe you’re involved in some sort of extracurricular activity outside of the work world. That’s, really cool. And those are things that add a dimension and a value to who you are as an applicant. I was working with a client that like, I don’t have anything that’s really special that sets me apart other than my education, experience.

Okay, let’s dive a little deeper into this. And I mean this, is going to sound extreme, but what I found out was they’d actually played for Team Canada on Team Canada’s national team and had been on playing at a national high level of soccer, right? So that’s a big thing. And that’s something that separates you from other people you’re, competing in that role for.

And yeah, maybe you’re not name dropping that little piece of information in the interview, but maybe it works its way into a conversation somewhere. And so being able to identify those, things like that’s a big one, obviously, but there’s smaller things that you can that may relate to the people on the interview panel, stuff you’ve researched and things like that.

So it opens up conversations. It talks about your skills, shows what separates you from, everybody else. And so those are really important things. Just identifying your skills, what makes you unique and how you want to form that into an answer. And I’d say the third thing for me really comes down to just your, like I mentioned before, your preparation.

Making sure that you know what you want to say about yourself and how you want to say it. Practicing saying those things out loud. Practicing hearing yourself speak. It’s different hearing yourself in your head than the words actually coming out of your mouth and you kind of stumble on those words.

Sometimes you, you get your phrasing wrong or you say something like, Ooh, that’s a bit of a red flag. Shouldn’t, should avoid saying that. So actually saying things out loud and practicing that way for some of the common interview questions that typically get asked. Practice. To me, it sounds so silly, but practice makes perfect. And it does, it builds confidence. It helps you present your best self. So those are, those would be the three I would say off, the top here.

Russel Lolacher: I’m curious about red flags. I’m curious about culture fit because we sure like saying culture fit, but we certainly don’t like doing anything about it. So I mean it from an interviewee standpoint, is there anything we should be looking for on websites, social platforms, where there’s things going, you know what? I might not be the right fit for this organization. I, the reason I asked this is I bring this up a lot on the podcast is about definitions and that we don’t define things ever. We use words all the time, but we don’t define them, i.e. Leadership. So if I take a Simon Sinek course, my idea of leadership is this, but I’ll go to an organization and their definition of leadership might be very different, but we don’t say anything.

It could be you fixed a problem or you helped that executive, now you’re a leader. Though, you’re horrible with actual people. So having said that looking for definitions, looking for examples of how an organization may look at the world, how their culture might fit. should we be looking for and what should scare us.

Clark Glassford: So I mean, to start before you do, you dig really deep into this stuff. I mean, to start is really through your research, looking on websites, social media, things like that. Yes, it’s words, but at least they’re words to start. So the words are there that we value community.

We value work life balance, we value the employee… those types of things. Those are all of course, positive. If you see an absence of those they’re all just focused on the customer, the client, whoever, and there’s nothing related to the employee, that’s kind of a red flag for me. Where, do I fit in to your goal as an organization and what you’re striving to do?

And yes, you’re focused on this great, cool thing that whatever it is, your organization does, but you know, will that translate into me as an employee? And, is there any focus on supporting me as an employee? So that would be from the outset, kind of outside looking in.

But then the other, it comes down to doing that, that deeper dive, right? And so looking on social media, seeing the kind of things they do within the community, looking on their news articles, things, seeing that the type of both positive and negative press release, that, that kind of stuff. One of the ones I like the most is when I see people take that extra step and connect with someone through a site like LinkedIn who works for that organization and sets up an informal interview that way. And I’ve had a number of clients that kind of, it’s a bit of holding your breath, like it makes you really uncomfortable doing it because you’re like, I am reaching out to this total person that I don’t know at all that works for this organization that doesn’t know me.

You make that connection. You sure learn a lot about the organization really, quick. And whether it’s positive or negative, you learn that in, in, those meetings and for those listening out there that are in that job search process, it is one of the most powerful things you can do to a learn about the company, but then be ultimately have interview success because you’ve gone that extra level.

You’ve taken that extra layer of understanding of what it is you’re applying for and the organization. And you would actually be surprised as to how many people, by sending a very simple message on LinkedIn, will say, sure, I’ll give you 5, 10, 15 minutes of my time. Let’s have a chat. It’s, incredible. Most people are great about doing it. And those that aren’t, typically just don’t respond to. So it’s Oh, move on.

Russel Lolacher: So you’ve done your research. Know your value. You’re heading into the interview. Now, organizations have expectations of interviewees, what is the expectation of interviewee? I’m having a hard time with these words an interviewee should expect from the organization?

Clark Glassford: You want to be, because you’re present, you spent your time preparing. You’ve spent your time making sure you’re punctual. You’re ready to go. You’ve done all the things that I’ve just talked about. You expect the same thing from the organization, right? So what I would expect as an interviewee is that I have as much information as interview at the organization can give me about the interview in advance, right?

So it’s going to be an hour. It’s going to be at this time. You’re going to be meeting with these five people or these two people, however many people are going to be on that interview panel. These are maybe some of the questions that you can be expecting. That’s kind of the minimum because in my mind of, like you said, 25 years in HR, senior level in HR, an interview is a conversation. I’m a trained interviewer, I want to be able to get the best information out of you I possibly can. And the only way I can do that is establishing a connection with you. And making you feel as comfortable as humanly possible, even though it’s this nerve wracking environment… that’s unavoidable.

But my job is trying to make you as comfortable as possible so that we can have, start having that conversation. So even if you are super nervous and you’ve done all that preparation, I’m going to see enough that I can start pulling enough information out of you to make a really good hiring decision.

So those are some of the things in the outset that you want to be able to watch for as an interviewer that, okay, are they setting these, is this just some kind of willy nilly throw together type meeting or do they really want to get to know me? And then in that interview, that should be exactly what you expect.

You should be able to go into that interview and the person or people on the other side of the table, you’re getting that sense they’re trying to make you feel comfortable. They’re giving you space to provide proper answers. They’ve got actual thought out questions that they want to ask.

And yes, there’s free flowing in that as well. Back and forth dialogue. But you’re, there’s been thought put into that because what that’s telling you as an interviewee is that their focus on specific things that they want to make sure they’re capturing in that interview about you to make that informed hiring decision that you’re going to be the right fit for their organization.

And that’s, for me, that’s that’s really key.

Russel Lolacher: I love the idea of setting even an employee, a prospective employee, setting them up for success. So certain tactics just boggle my mind then. So I’m curious what your thoughts are on giving the questions a half hour or an hour before you do the interview, which I’ve seen that happen quite a few times, but in the same thing, sentence, they’ll be like we want you to be comfortable. We want thoughtful responses. I’m like, you’re not going to get thoughtful responses in an hour of preparation. What are your thoughts on tactics like that?

Clark Glassford: Yeah. And it’s, interesting because organizations are starting to experiment with that a little bit more now. I see it quite often where they’re, and the thought process on the employer side is that if I have an applicant that has done their preparation, okay, in advance, giving them those questions in an hour in advance will help kind of calm those nerves a little bit, because at least they know what they’re going to be asked, which gives them time to take whatever they prepped in their own mind. Time to tailor their answers to those questions, but throws them off of course, is if you haven’t done any preparation in advance, then it’s, oh crap, I’ve got to come up with answers to these 10 questions. And now you’re, completely throwing them, right off. So it works both ways.

I’ve seen it work okay. And I’ve seen it work not okay, but you know, on an applicant side, the flip side is I was asked all these really formal questions. I had no idea what they’re going to ask me. And my nerves were through the roof. I had no idea how to answer them in the interview.

Yeah, it kind of goes both ways.

Russel Lolacher: Fair enough. So as an interviewee, what can you ask of the organization before you step in the room? Cause they always ask the question at the end going, do you have any questions for us? But can you be better prepared before you go into that room or virtual? What can you prepare yourself in asking those questions?

Clark Glassford: Yeah. So I think before the interview, like anytime someone’s reached out to me about a specific job before I go into the interview, I want to know more about the position as much as I possibly can and a loose framework about some of the, benefits and, compensation and things like that, as much as an employer can, kind of tell me in advance, sometimes you’re not going to get much.

But if I’m going to make a decision as to, okay, I’m going to invest a bunch of time and prepping for this interview and coming in and meeting these people… when I’ve made that decision as an applicant? I’ve made the decision that I’m really considering working for this organization. Right? That’s that that, that’s the key for me.

So gathering as much as you can from whoever’s calling you. And saying, Hey, I’m interested in this job. I see you’ve applied. You should be asking some, general questions in advance. Can you tell me a little bit more about the position? Who would I be working for? Anything you can tell me a little bit about the culture organization.

Now, sometimes you’re talking to administrative. A person who’s just booking the interviews, you’re not going to get much information. You’re just going to be told interview time, place who you’re meeting with and that’s it. So you may not get much again, back to your research and that’s where that part comes in.

But in the interview itself, it’s kind of free reign. You can ask all sorts of questions and I would make sure that, and I advise every client I work with, to make sure you actually have really legitimate questions that you want to know the answer to. Not there’s a lot of you’ll, see on websites or, things like that where people are going, Oh you should just ask what’s, been the highlight of your career working for this organization?

And it’s okay do you really want to know that? Are you just asking a nice question to show that you have some questions to ask in an interview? I want to know things about culture what they invest in, in employee development. Probably first interview, you’re not asking too much about salary or things like that.

That may come up and be, you can be prepared to have that conversation. You want to know timing of next stages in the interview process and what those stages may be. Things about again, development in within the organization, what they expect of you, should you be successful within the first 30, 60, 90 days or whatever it is.

So really having questions that you need to know in order to make your decisions to whether if you’re offered, you’re going to say yes to this role, right? Because you don’t want to waste any more of your time if the answers to those questions aren’t what you’re looking for.

And at that point you say, okay, yeah, I’m going to keep looking with another organization.

Russel Lolacher: Are there different ways of preparing based on different, how it’s set up? So for instance, would you prepare differently for an in person versus virtual? Would you prepare differently versus a panel interview versus one on one? Or is it all the same preparation?

Clark Glassford: For me, I like to be over-prepared than underprepared. So if it’s a one on one interview, it could be a very formal interview or it may just be a coffee chat, right? But I’d rather be prepared for that formal interview. So if they’re asking me very pointed questions, I have answers or scenarios or experiences that I can relate to that question and then speak to that, because it’s those types of questions that if you haven’t prepared for that level of interview, then that’s going to, that’s going to throw you off.

The one you ask about kind of virtual interviews, you can’t prepare a lot differently for those because it’s virtually you’re, in a separate room, you’re on a screen, and therefore you can have what I like to say, a little cheats around your screen that may not be visible to those who are interviewing you that are just little cues.

That you’re not writing out full essay responses to questions, but you know, you have little cues around your screen that are off screen that okay, if they ask a question like this, yeah, this, I got to remember this, is the one thing I want to say about that, or at the end of the interview, they’re going to ask me what questions I have for them.

Here are the questions just to kind of mark those down. You could do the same thing in a face to face interview. You can certainly bring in a notepad. You can bring in a portfolio of stuff, but depends on the interview. They may or may not let you look at that.

Russel Lolacher: Right.

Clark Glassford: The tip I always like to say to people is by preparing that way, whether it’s your portfolio or sticky notes around the outside of your computer screen, that’s all part of your preparation as well. So it does help you prepare just by doing that.

Russel Lolacher: One of the best pieces of advice I ever got in preparing for an interview was look at the values of the organization. And then try to cater some stories and anecdotes where you were sort of that cater to those particular values that you can actually bring up in the interview of, there was a problem- courage, or innovation where I did this.

And because I did this, I fixed this problem and did.. that. So I’ll have five stories that I can kind of wedge and move, depending on how it works based on the questions that I get.

Clark Glassford: No. No, totally right. And what you’ll find with organizations who are organized in terms of matching values to jobs within the organization is that those values transcend into the job posting. So you’ll see those in the job posting of the HR world, we call those, we end up calling those competencies. Or skills that the organization is looking for. And you’ll see those littered throughout the job posting. And like you said, innovation may be one of those, may be one of those competencies that is in that job posting. And then for you as an applicant, you’re going, okay, I need to think of a story where I’ve been innovative, or I’ve shown initiative or something like that.

And come up with a story that you can tell in that interview that highlights your skills in that area. Yeah. So no it’s a, great tip for sure.

Russel Lolacher: Before we get into the interviewer side of things, I want to ask you, I was just kind of curious, what is the hardest interview question you think to answer that people might get?

Clark Glassford: You’re going to be surprised when I say this, but it’s, one of the ones that I’ve, got two that I see people stumble, but the first one is, the one that sounds the easiest, but I see people stumble out of the gate with the most, which is tell me about yourself or why did you apply for this role or walk us through your resume or something like that.

It’s the one question that an interviewer is going to ask. And the reason they ask that question is really just to get you to start speaking in that interview, getting warmed up, feeling confident, help kind of bring those nerves down. But what you find a lot of the time is people haven’t really spent the time in advance thinking about how they want to answer that.

And then it just kind of goes all over the place. They’re talking about, them growing up and their cat Muffin or like it’s all like a big long answer or it’s an answer that’s two sentences long and they’re just kind of like a deer in headlights. It sounds simple, but when we talk about setting good first impressions and building confidence in an interview, that is the opening question that really starts with it.

So any advice to anyone listening to this is really making sure you’ve got a solid answer to any of those type of opening questions. The other question that really comes up and throws people off is anything to do with conflict. Always, throws people off. Tell me about a time you had conflict with a co worker or a customer or a disagreement with a co worker and it’s just I don’t have conflict. I get along with everybody. Everyone loves me. I love everybody. It’s all one big happy family that we’re working in here. And so they really struggle coming up with an answer to that.

And what I advise people on doing is conflict. everyone thinks it’s this extreme event, right? You’re like in a boxing match and it’s like last person standing. It’s not necessarily conflict. It can be a disagreement. It can be a difference of opinion. Those types of things. So as you’re thinking of answers, everyone’s had, maybe not a major conflict, but disagreements, difference of opinion, that type of stuff. And that’s where you kind of draw on to give an answer to that.

Russel Lolacher: To segue into interviewers, I want to talk about questions actually. So what question do you wish interviewers would stop asking?

Clark Glassford: Oh man, that’s, yeah that’s a great question. And I think I’m going to be a little vague in my response on this one, because when you have a good interviewer, they’re asking very purposeful questions. And they’re asking purposeful questions that bring that elicit specific responses that they again can make an informed hiring decision.

So the ones that drive me crazy are the ones that aren’t specific. They’re not, they’re not focused. And it’s just kind of rambling type questions that really don’t help any interviewer assess whether the person they’re interviewing is right for the role. And they haven’t spent that time preparing in advance is what is it that I’m specifically looking for?

What will make this person, that I’m about to hire, be successful in the role I’m trying to hire them for? And it’s, they may start with something like, why did you apply for this job? Tell me a little bit about yourself? Now you asked me some questions. Okay. Nice to meet you. You’re not getting into what the person’s all about and the skills they are bringing to the job or to the role that you really should be, asking.

There’s a lot of work, and I know I’m being vague in my response, but there’s a lot of organizations that don’t have that… tooting my own horn here, that trained HR professional, right? That trained person that can structure proper interviews to make sure that both sides are getting what they need out of the interview.

Russel Lolacher: Maybe this is a perfect, maybe there’s an example you can think of, what’s one of your favorite things an organization has done to make an interviewee feel welcome?

Clark Glassford: Yeah. I agree. Great question. Usually for me what I see them, what I see them do is before like just launching right into an interview. It’s making them feel as comfortable as possible. And that may start with maybe a little tour of the worksite, right? Maybe a little tour of where they, if they were successful where, they’d be working. Making sure that they’re they’ve, got coffee, they’ve got something to drink.

Those little things and then it’s at the beginning of that interview where you’re not launching into just hard hitting questions. You’re establishing just a dialogue. And you’re kind of just making them laugh making the feel at ease and just taking their time getting to the more formal questions. And then when you get to those formal questions, really being clear as to what direction the interview is going to take.

So giving them some instruction and direction and the interview is going to be about an hour and we’re going to ask these types of questions and feel free to if I ask you a question, you don’t understand what I’m asking. Just, ask me, I’ll give you some clarity on that. If I get to a question where perhaps you don’t have an answer right away. That’s okay. Just ask me to skip over and I’ll come back to that later. So really just setting the stage for as much comfort as they possibly can have in that interview setting and making them feel okay. Yeah, I’m here having a conversation and I like the feeling in this room versus just like interrogation mode and a spotlight over them and all that kind of stuff.

Russel Lolacher: I love that and I wish that was more the case, but there are organizations that really do feel like the intimidation tactic is the best way. I remember doing one job interview and the daggers, the role is for basically almost a colleague to the people that were on the panel. And yet this one person looked at me like I’d hurt a family member of hers, like just the daggers coming out of her eyes.

And I’m like, you don’t even know me or you hate me already. Like the lack of welcome, the lack of interest was just palpable and she may have had the worst day in the world. Like I don’t know that person. She could have had a horrible, maybe somebody did do something bad to her family member?

Clark Glassford: Okay.

Russel Lolacher: But she brought that energy into the interview space. And I’m like, I don’t want to work here. If this is the kind of people that I would work with. So that impression just blew me away, which…

Clark Glassford: It’s so damaging, right? It’s so damaging to you as an applicant who’s geared themselves up for that moment. And then you come into a room like that and you feel like you’re being attacked and you’re like, yeah, I don’t want to work for this organization. And you’re right. That person could have, I love how you said that they could have just been having a really bad day. And you don’t know that. But that person’s like that normally, then that’s a huge, red flag. And that’s something I’d be going if they’re letting that person interview and conduct themselves in that way to interview, I wouldn’t want to work for this organization.

Someone in that organization needs to remove that person from the interview because we’re never going to hire anybody that’s going to be good for this role because we’re going to turn everyone away.

Russel Lolacher: So I want to talk about that inclusivity, that the DEIB of it all, because we talk about culture fit as we kind of mentioned in this, but how can an interviewer, how can a panel, how can an organization really be a little bit more intentional when it comes to neurodivergent people, when it comes to different races, different genders, where they can really lean into that DEIB as part of the interviewing process?

Is there a best practice or at least an encouraged practice?

Clark Glassford: It’s really especially in the day and age that we’re in right now, it’s all about educating yourself as an organization. And it’s all about ensuring that you’re connecting with those communities and encouraging people from within those communities to think about a career within your organization and exposing them to opportunities and options with, that organization.

And I think employers are getting better at that. Some are still miles and miles behind. But it’s, that outreach that’s really, needed to say, Hey we value all backgrounds. We value what you bring to the table and how this can help advance our organization in the communities we work in.

And at the end of the day, we’re in a job market for most of North America. I know we’re in a bit of a period right now where things are a little disruptive in terms of employment, but we’ve had record low unemployment for the past several years now, and that’s probably not changing drastically with people retiring and moving on and all of that type of stuff.

So you need to look at all corners of the population base out there as to where you’re going to find talent and ignoring talent from the DEI communities, as you say, I mean that you’re going to unfortunately find yourself not able to get the people you need in the roles and the talent you need to be a successful organization.

Those organizations that are successful are those that have a diverse workforce, and that diverse workforce is a workforce that then sells your organization to others in the job market to come and apply and work for you.

Russel Lolacher: Change is rampant. It has been happening almost, I want to say frequently, like unbelievably frequently is what I’m trying to say. Cause I’m good with the words. It feels like change is so predominantly happening. How do you feel it’s happening within the interview process, whether as an interviewee or an interviewer?

I’m thinking like technology. I’m thinking of economy and issues around that. Is there anything you’re seeing or even maybe hopeful for?

Clark Glassford: I’m hoping that, yeah, with technology, it speeds up the process, it speeds up that, that recruitment process that tends to take a long time from applicator from job posting to eventual hire. The part that concerns me on both sides of both the applicant side and the employer side is the use of automation. And so the lack of actual connectivity, human to human connectivity is what really worries me. Because I think that at least the way technology is so far, there’s only so much you can glean from that autonomous type relationship. So for example, ChatGPT. A lot of people now using ChatGPT to build resumes.

That’s great. It can do a great job of kind of populating a bunch of information for you, but it’s a lot… it’s splicing information from all over the place to build. to build this resume. Is that making a clear picture of who you are as an individual? I would suggest it’s not. And from an employer perspective, you’re now getting a lot of resumes that may look great and sound great, but when you meet the person, it’s not actually directly kind of who they are.

And so caution to all you applicants out there, if you’re using ChatGPT, great. But you should be going through and making it about you, as much about you as you possibly can, not just a bunch of spliced together information. On the employer’s side, they’re using autonomous AI to do kind of video interviews, right?

So we’re going to ask you five questions. You’re going to record those five questions. That computer in the background is going to assess all the things you did right or did wrong in that interview. And then spit out a report to the hiring manager to say, okay, Clark looks like a good applicant.

You should definitely meet him face to face. But Russel doesn’t. He’s out. And you may have done some things you didn’t even know what you’re doing, but the computers picked up that, you know what it’s, not what we’re looking for. So those types of things even in, organizations like applicant tracking systems, so their, HR systems that are looking for keywords and resumes and things like that, you could be missing out on excellent applicants just because they’re not focused on playing the game within the system. So the system reads the right words so that they’re being pushed over to a human being. So those are the things that scare me a little bit. And I think good organizations and good recruiters and good HR people find a way to work harmoniously within all of that, because it all serves a purpose.

But those who just rely solely on it, I think. They’re missing out on that actual human to human contact, which will result in better hiring decisions, in my opinion.

Russel Lolacher: It’s a good opinion, Clark. So I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to wrap it up with our final question, which is, sir, what’s one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Clark Glassford: To improve the relationships at work. It’s having conversations. It’s about making actual connections. It’s talking about how you’re feeling about certain aspects of, the work environment, positive or negative. It’s in my, especially in HR, you see, unfortunately, so many people that have been burned at one point in their career and they take that with them throughout the rest of their career. And it’s this. They’re on the anger train and they’re on that anger train forever. And, I’m a glass half full guy I’m a life is too short guy. So life’s too short for any of that. And so if you’re in a situation, that’s a negative one.

Talk about it Talk to your employer about it. Talk to your boss about it. Talk to your colleagues about it. And find a way to do something about it and if you can’t find a way to do something about it. There’s a whole other world outside of your employer that will get you to get you what you need, right?

And the same thing on the positive side what you want in your career, it’s really only known to you. So unless you communicate that and start and advocate for that for yourself. Instead of sitting back and just saying the employer doesn’t care. They just don’t care about me. They’re not sending me on this course.

So and so got promoted over me. I’m just going to sit here and, quietly quit. And not participate in everything and just be negative about it. Again, life is too short for me. And it’s no way to live your work life. You spend so much time at work. You may as well be happy, but order to do that, it’s about having those conversations.

Some of them are hard conversations and they’re, tough. You’re saying some things that may be hard to hear, but unless you say them, most people aren’t going to be aware. And the only way to make that change is to help make them aware. And if they’re not going to make that change, then you’ve got to make some decisions on your own and make your own change.

So that’s what I would say. It sounds, really simple. I know it’s harder to do, but. start advocating for yourself. It’s will empower you to much greater things for sure.

Russel Lolacher: The thing is, we hear the phrase employee experience so much, but we just think of it like it’s an other, like it’s not ours. I’m like no, it’s YOUR experience. They call it employee journey. You’re on a journey. This is your, but there’s everybody’s so worried. I’m, me included about what people think, what they’re, what they might be saying behind your back, what decisions they might be making about you.

When really it’s your experience in your journey to figure out. So I love that you wrapped it up with vocalize. Champion yourself. Because I mean…

Clark Glassford: No one else is going to absolutely not. And I always say to people to what’s the worst you’re going to hear if you advocate for yourself? No, right? That’s kind of the worst you’re probably going to hear. At that point, okay, you make a decision as to whether you can accept no and live with it, or not. And then make your choice based on that. But you have to speak for yourself and speak up for yourself. And I loved how you said it there. We’re going to give each other a little compliments here, Russel. But the employee journey is a two person journey. It’s you and the organization. A lot of people say it’s the organization.

They’re, they’re creating my employee experience, my employee journey. No. You’re part of that. You influence that. So be plugged into that influence at every step of the way.

Russel Lolacher: That is Clark Glassford. He’s an interview coach and author of My Practice Interview. Prepare Yourself for the Job You Deserve. Good to see you, Clark. Thanks for here.

Clark Glassford: Great to see you, Russel. Thank you for having me here. Had an awesome time. And yeah you weren’t, too mean to me. You didn’t ask too many difficult questions. So yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you.

Russel Lolacher: That’s what the Patreon is for is where I bash guests after the

Clark Glassford: You have to wait podcast for the actual podcast.. All

Russel Lolacher: Thanks buddy.

Clark Glassford: Thanks, Russ. Bye.


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