One particularly bitterly cold day, I was headed to a date I wasn't that excited about. I suddenly asked myself, Is there a way to verify the basics about a guy before I waste my time on a potentially boring shitty date with someone who might turn out to be a weirdo?
Enter, The Pre-Interview.
I've used pre-interviews to screen candidates at work, and also to get jobs myself. They are excellent tools for quickly screening unworthy candidates.
For those of you who have never interviewed or been interviewed using a prescreen, typically myself and another manager would take turns talking to the candidate on the phone or videochat. Usually no more than 10 - 15 minutes. We would ask basic questions and then reconvene after the interview to rank them against other candidates. We would talk about strengths/weaknesses and come up with a few questions we would ask the candidate if we were to invite them in for a face-to-face interview.
Overtime, I have learned that pre-interviews are absolutely crucial to hiring the right candidate, and it has to do with fallibility of human nature.
Doing a phone or skype interview creates enough emotional distance for you to be objective in your evaluation. This becomes harder with face-to-face interviews.
Believe it or not, even very seasoned managers sometimes truly struggle with objectivity when it comes to hiring in face-to-face interviews. I've actually had managers hire people based on emotion only for that person to be a terrible employee that gives them absolute hell everyday.
You would also not believe the kinds of things people reveal in face-to-face interviews. Sometimes it's as morbid as Sick family members, kids, etc. Things that would really tug on the heartstrings and make everyone but a robot want to root for a candidate to win. On the other hand, Some people have sparkling and fun personalities that make it easy to gloss over all their flaws.
Problem was, no matter how much you like or want to help someone, it was obvious in the interview they were totally unqualified for the job as written. Sometimes they couldn't answer basic technical specifications of the job or displayed troubling lack of awareness about the appropriateness of certain topics that would later be a problem.
It's harder to reject candidates after you've heard their life story, hopes, and dreams. It just is.
The value of the pre-interview is cutting to the facts without all the other things to distract you.
The components of a pre-interview are as follows:
1. Skype or Facetime before going on a formal date
Everyone hates to show up to a date only to see a person who looks nothing like their pictures or gives you a weird creepy vibe and having to make an excuse to leave. Skype and Facetime sets this process to easy mode. You look at each other, hear each others' voice, etc and you'll be able to tell within a few minutes if this is a man you would be interested in seeing further based on physical attraction.
(Of course, if you out here catfishing knowing full well you don't look like your pictures then skip this part because you're going to want to keep the element of surprise going, but I wouldn't recommend it in general.)
2. Limit the conversation to 20 minutes or less.
This conversation should be to verify the basics - where he lives, what he does, where he works, confirm that he's single, etc, and ask what he's looking for.
If he attempts to take over the conversation, steer it back to where you want it to go. If he continues to be evasive or pushy, then you know to throw that fish back in the water, he's playing games, doesn't respect boundaries, or doesn't have his shit together.
Talk long enough to get a general vibe for him, but not long enough to get too deep.
Love bombers know that time spent = emotional investment which is why they usually try to monopolize you upfront. Don't allow them to do this.
You do not want to talk long enough to give yourself time to emotionally invest before he takes you on a formal date.
Be aware of these Red flags/Full stops:
Answers every question with a question
Attempts to neg or tease you right off the bat
Steers the conversation to be overly sexual
Evasive in answering basic questions
Pushy or aggressive in any way when you set a boundary
If he starts any conversation with some general negativity about women or sarcasm
Any of the behaviors above should be an immediate drop. If he can't keep it together for a 20 minute interview then he's totally fugazi, sis.
If there's anything you want to know further make a mental or physical note to ask him on your full date. Give yourself time to think him over properly and thoroughly consider if you actually want a second date.
3. Dictate very clearly the parameters in which you are willing to leave your house to see him
The general principle here is
Never leave your house for free for man who’s not your boyfriend
This is your time to set the standard to which you expect to be treated. Do not leave your house for any of the following:
NO NETFLIX & CHILL
NO CAR DATES
NO COFFEE DATES
NO HOUSE DATES
There is no such thing as "let's just have a lowkey date and see where it goes". You must set the standard early. You cannot go back and attempt to raise the standard later on.
To help him out, tell him the kinds of things you like, where you want to go, anything you saw that caught your interest, etc.
It's his job to make that happen for you if you want to show up. Why should you waste your time on a boring ass date? Find something you genuinely want to do and make these dudes pay for it. Even if the date doesn't go well, at least you got to try something you wanted to.
If he scoffs at any of your suggestions, drop him. He's cheap, a time waster, just here for easy pussy, etc. This is supposed to be his time to impress you with his creativity, thoughtfulness, class, etc.
(I will write another part detailing why this is and under what conditions you should accept dates, in part 3)
So to recap:
Doing pre-interviews allows you to talk to 3-4 guys in an hour to verify their attractiveness, screen for red flags, and set the parameters and expectations as to which you're willing to meet them while maintaining enough emotional distance to be objective. It's also much safer!