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The Interview Process

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

This is the second part of the posting on company interviews.

I think this part of the company formation and simulation might have the most individual impact on each student in my class. For most of my students, this will be their first time going through a hiring process where they have to compete for a job. The student will come in with a fear of the unknown and this can play with even the most confident persons' mind. As most of our students are venturing into the unknown when it comes to interviews and a job they know nothing about, anxiety is high. My interviews will run over a couple of weeks to have everyone hired in the company for my class of 25-35 students. I let my kids know if they do not get their first job they can interview for any of the other positions moving forward

Starting Interviews

I first start with the nine leadership positions of my companies, beginning with chief officers (hiring two positions from the pool CEO and COO) followed in the following order; CFO, VP of Sales (these are in my option the 4 most important positions in my companies). VP of Marketing, VP of Human Resources, VP of Communications, VP of Art, VP of Digital Media will follow in suit. I will typically dedicate one day to the chief officers and the CFO and then double up (two positions per day) for the rest of the interviewing schedule. This is a week of interviewing to fill the leadership team for the company. I have the luxury of having two interview spaces near my classroom and can have two interview rooms running at the same time. I will have a preset schedule for interviews and having defined days and times each student know when they are to dress up and be prepared for the position they want. Like I said before, I do not like to choose who gets the job, but when the panel is deliberating, I make myself available for them to use me a reference of the applicant and ask me questions about the applicant's history, personality traits, and personality as I know them a bit better than the panel.

Filling the Leadership team

After the Chief Officers are hired I have them become part of the interview panel moving forward and they are actively involved in hiring their leadership team. The students that move to the other side of the table and help select their team. To a person, they find this very interesting and very valuable to see what happens from the interviewer's perspective and they gain invaluable experience from this process that helps them be outstanding interview candidates as they move through their work career. Quite often, I will have several kids vying for the top positions and those that do not get hired will have the opportunity to interview for any of the other leadership positions. I do not require them to redo their application packet but many times they will update their cover letter and resume to address the new position they are applying for. This in itself, shows a bit about the applicant and the commitment to the company. Each day we will have two interview panels going. The CEO will be in one interview panel hiring the leadership positions for the departments they oversee. (Sales, Marketing, Art & Digital Media) The COO will be in another panel hiring leadership positions for the departments they oversee. (Accounting, HR, Art & Communications) at the end of that first week, the company leadership team will be filled.

Departmental Interviews

Most of the class are too scared, too shy, or lack the confidence to apply for a leadership position, so their interviews for departmental associate positions will follow the following week. Each department is limited to 2-4 associates, as too many people in one department will lead to support staff not having enough work and idle time, which in turn creates a culture of laziness and lack of production. I aim at having my departments struggle to complete their tasks by the target due dates, so there is a level of stress to always get things done. At this point, I start training the Vice President of Human Resources to assist in the interview process. They will prep the panels, collect and prepare application packets, schedule and escort applicants to their interviews and hand back the interview rubrics so the applicant can get feedback on how they did. During this process, I encourage the leadership team to recruit applicants to interview for their department. Associate applicants might go on 1-4 interviews over this week. At this point in the interview process, we conduct interviews all in-house. The panel will usually consist of the chief officer and the department leader. It is the job of the department leader to generate a ranking list of applicants that they will hold until the following Monday when the company staffing will be finalized.

Staffing the Company

Each of the remaining un-hired staff fill out a Staffing Preference form and turn it into the VP of HR. These forms will be sorted by Top Choice. The applicants are told that the leadership team will do their best to place them in the highest-ranking on their form, but there are no guarantees other than they will be hired and placed into a department. The team, (along with my help) will finalize the number of staff to work in each department. I will talk to them about having their friends work for them and how that can put social pressure and unintentional fairness issues that can cause drama in the company office environment. Also, some people just can not work well together due to personality styles. It is best to keep them out of the same department. Sales and accounting tend to be the biggest departments for my companies with 3-4 staff. Most others will 1-2 spots to fill. I use a Google sheet which can be copied from here. To fill out as people are added to the departments. We usually draw for the order of selection and whoever gets #1 will pick a person. If one of the other leaders wants that person, they will put in a bid and rationale of why they need that person and sometimes will give up later picks to get that person. Based on the ranking of the applicant on their form and leadership discussion. The leadership team will vote on who gets that applicant. This process will continue until all applicants have been placed. Following the staffing meeting, the leadership team will address the company and name the students that will be working in their department for the year.

Openings during the Year

It is inventible that positions will open up during the year, kids move, get transferred out of the class, step down, or need to be terminated (if they refuse to step down). When this happens, the HR department takes the lead. They create a job posting, fly the position, and set up interviews. Typically, we do not require an application packet for internal hiring. The leadership team will typically all be in the panel if they are filling a leadership position and the department lead and VP of HR if it is just a support position. Following the interview, the replacement will be announced and will begin in their new role immediately. Often, this can cause a chain reaction of openings throughout the company as positions are filled and vacated. Leaders that step down or are forced to resign will be placed in on special assignment until they can be placed in a department that is not associated with their previous position.

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