Interviewee Who Lied On Resume About Microsoft Proficiency Excels At Wasting Time

, , , , , | Working | November 11, 2018

(I am a sales director at a manufacturing company, hiring for a position directly under me that does data entry and prepares quotes to send to customers. The position requires daily use of Outlook, Excel, and our basic data-entry system. I am currently in the interview with a woman whose stunning resume boasts several administrative office positions and high-level Microsoft office skills; in fact, based on her resume, she seems a little overqualified for the position.)

Me: “This all looks really great. So, this job entails sending quotes out to customers, and because of the products we deal with, these quotes need to be accurate, consistent, and done in a timely manner. We get 30 to 40 requests a day that need to be entered into our system, tracked, and responded to. It requires daily use of Microsoft Excel to create the quotes, and Microsoft Outlook to send the quotes and converse with customers. It requires a lot of time management, organization, prioritizing, data entry, and high-level attention to detail. How would you rate your skills in these areas?

Interviewee: “Oh, excellent! All my past jobs have been administrative, and pretty much all I’ve done is work with Excel and Outlook.”

Me: “And how would you rate your organization and prioritizing skills?”

Interviewee: “Fantastic. I really love a fast-paced job that keeps me busy, and I’m almost OCD when it comes to details and making sure everything is correct.”

Me: “That sounds great. What kind of manager do you like to work for? Do you like a manager that gives you in-depth detail on how to perform your duties, or do you prefer to make the job your own and tailor it to what works for you?”

Interviewee: “I prefer to make it my own. Once I know what to do, I like to find what works best for me and do it that way, so long as it gets done correctly.”

(I’m secretly very pleased at that; I HATE to micro-manage.)

Me: “Wonderful! I just have a final follow-up question. Let’s say that you have a task to do that requires you need get a cell in Excel to do something specific, but you’re not sure how to get the formula right. What would be your process for solving that problem?”

Interviewee: “I’d probably check YouTube, or Google, and try and figure it out. If I can’t, I might ask someone else, but you can find how to do almost anything on YouTube.”

(I’m silently cheering the answer; I love self-sufficiency.)

Me: “Well, that’s great. I think I have everything I need. Any questions for me?”

(I end up hiring her based on her fantastic resume and her saying she has all the skills I need. She starts work the following Monday, and I spend the day training her, going through the process. Then, I sit back and let her do one quote herself.)

Me: “Here is an email like all the others requesting a quote. Go ahead and download the files and set it up in the system.”

([Interviewee] clicks, “Download,” struggles to find the file despite it being right in the downloads folder, then struggles to unzip the file.)

Me: *trying to remain calm* “Okay, go ahead and generate the Excel quote, make the changes I showed you, and save it the way I showed you.”

(She struggles to find and open the downloaded Excel file, struggles to hide the columns not needed on the quote, struggles to widen a column so the quote text isn’t cut off, struggles to save the file as a PDF, and then proceeds to struggle to find the email in Outlook, where she doesn’t even know how to reply to an email.)

Me: “So… your resume said you were highly skilled with Microsoft Office, including Excel and Outlook. You also said that in all your previous jobs you used these programs and did this same kind of work.”

Interviewee: “Yes, yes. I’m usually better than this; I’m just nervous with you watching over my shoulder.”

Me: *not buying it* “I understand. Go ahead back to your desk and do this next one, and send me the PDF of the quote to review when it’s ready.”

(This process should take at the most twenty minutes. I can do it in less than two, but I give the new person a fair chance. An hour later…)

Me: “I am just checking up on you. How are you doing with that quote?”

(I notice she has her cell phone propped up so she can watch some kind of video while she works.)

Interviewee: “Oh, I’m just stuck on this. I can’t figure out how to enter the information here.”

(She is in our database where she needs to be to enter the customer’s information, the very first step of the process. She hasn’t clicked, “Edit,” to make the fields editable. Apparently, she has spent an hour clicking on the greyed-out boxes, not sure why she isn’t able to type in them.)

Me: “You need to click the big, green ‘Edit’ button up there at the top.”

Interviewee: “Ohhh. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to get the files from the email.”

Me: “It’s that big, red link that says, ‘Click here to download project files.’”

Interviewee: “Ohhh… Fuh.”

Me: “Okay… Send me the PDF when you’re done.”

(It was another hour before she finally came to me and said she couldn’t figure out the next step, uploading the project files to our server. This literally just involves unzipping the file, and then dragging and dropping them into the server. I had to let her go. I felt bad, but I don’t have time to teach computer basics before teaching the actual job. It’s also not my fault she lied on her resume and in her interview about her skills.)

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