Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

With interviewing I think it's a bit different. At least in my mind it is. As someone who has interviewed people over the years, I don't give feedback because of the way nearly all human beings operate. Specifically, if I were to tell someone, for example, that they came off as abrasive or based on the things they said in the interview it sounded like they were a bit too controlling or possibly micromanaged previous employees and projects, most people will take that feedback and simply try to mask that in an interview rather than actually trying to change their core personality. Meaning the changes are just for the sake of appearance and then you get a nasty surprise when they start working for you and only then do you find out who you actually hired. I'd much rather not give feedback for this reason.

Some of the biggest surprises and worst hires I've seen is people who are extremely slick in interviews. My mother has similar stories from working for a major financial institution for 35 years. She had consistently told me growing up over the years that half the time the best educated folks were all super slick in interviews and stellar on paper and then lazy as hell on the job.

Risk of having a statement misconstrued or taken as a much bigger deal than it is is why people (who want to actually land a job) are so fake in interviews to begin with. It ends up mostly being a test of whether you can put on your "interview face" without letting it slip (any slip must be the tip of some awful iceberg, surely!) for the desired amount of time. Which is why the "slick" folks who aren't good get through while the non-slick but good person who slipped up and let something genuine and not-at-all-a-big-deal-actually get through is lumped in with the "abrasive" folks (any hint of something is taken—not entirely unreasonably, to be clear!—as proof of a problem) and doesn't get an offer.

The actually-good end up having to do precisely the covering-up you mention, because genuine and entirely fine attitudes and behaviors are, in interviewers' imaginations, often magnified to their worst possible extremes. It's very valuable information for a good employee to have that they need to cover up or avoid certain things in interviews that aren't actually a problem, because they do need to do that, and they may not realize how things that they think aren't a big deal and in fact are not are coming across in an interview context.

I write this as someone who is, I gather from feedback, pretty decent at that part of interviewing. Doesn't make it less gross-feeling and stressful.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact