Summary: I've told job candidate "I love you as a candidate, but we can't offer job right away". The candidate expressed reservation about working with me, because I had used the word 'love' with him. Was it unprofessional of me?
I'm highly experienced Software Development Manager, I've conducted well in excess of 100 candidate interviews over the years, as either lead interviewer, co interviewer or panelist. To be honest I lost count a long time ago, so we'll use 100 as a rough guide.
We're currently recruiting for a mid to senior software developer. During my most recent interview I was very tired, highly stressed and being pressed by my colleague to interview the candidate as soon as possible, as my colleague, who has no development experience, had worked with the candidate in the past and thought he was exceptional.
I follow a set interview structure for all candidates and at about 10 minutes I give them a short coding challenge and drop off the call. When we returned to review the coding challenge, I noticed that the candidate hadn't followed the instructions and had failed the challenge. I was quite harsh on him, to the point of being a little rude. I gave him 5 minutes to fix the mistakes and dropped off the call again.
In the meantime, my colleague and I discussed my responses and I knew I had gone too far. When we returned to the call I immediately apologized and explained that I was tired and a little stressed and that I was wrong to take it out on the candidate.
The interview was winding down and by this time I had internally agreed with my colleague that this person was a good fit for the role. I said the following.
Mate we love you and would love to have you on board, unfortunately I can't offer the position to you right away as we're having some trouble with the approval process. As soon as we can we'll get back to you to make an offer.
My positions were and are still awaiting final approval, some 2 months after creating the job requisitions.
I got feedback from my colleague the next day that the candidate expressed reservation about working with me, because I had used the word 'love' with him.
Was it as inappropriate as the candidate and my colleague made out?
We work in a diverse organization and now I'm concerned that he may be a little homophobic and not suitable based on cultural fit.
I follow a fairly standard format, personal introductions, introduction to company, benefits of working for company, current remote work arrangements, then ask the candidate to introduce themselves. The call is over zoom and at about 10 minutes we ask the candidate to do a quick coding challenge.
I give them the FizzBuzz test. Over the years this has served a reliable way to identify software developers who aren't very good computer programmers. Any mid to senior level developer should be able to solve this problem in 10 minutes. 99% do without too much trouble, often they make a mistake first time around, that's ok because we always give them another 5 minutes to fix it.
This developer failed it first time round not a serious mistake but I walked him through the error he made and asked him to fix it.