are courtesy interviews a waste of time?

A reader writes:

I wanted to get your take on courtesy interviews. In my situation, they are done for any internal person who applies for a position who does not meet minimum qualifications. I think these would be a colossal waste of time. I think the hiring manager should do these candidates a favor and tell them they are not qualified for the position and leave it at that. HR is telling the hiring manager that they have to grant these interviews to avoid union grievances. That sounds like a lame excuse to me. As I may soon be in the position of being the hiring manager, is this an issue worth fighting?

Yes, fight it.

Interviewing someone who doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications as a “courtesy” — with no intentional of hiring them — is rude, condescending, and a waste of time on both sides. You’re putting someone through the time and anxiety of preparing for the interview and getting their hopes up, when you know all along that they have no chance. That’s the opposite of courtesy.

It’s one thing to have a policy of interviewing all qualified internal candidates — but unqualified ones too? Your company should respect employees enough to believe that they can handle the truth that they don’t meet the qualifications.

That HR department sucks. They’re picking the path of least resistance, with no regard for what it means for people’s time or the morale of your staff.

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