Skip to content Skip to navigation

Bum's Rush

April 2, 2012
| Reprints







I was talking to a good friend the other day, and he told me about a meeting he was in where he felt like he was getting the “Bum’s Rush”. While I’d heard the term before, I must admit that it’s been a while!

A quick Google search turned up the following definition:

bum's rush

n. Slang

1. forcible ejection, as from a gathering

2. rapid dismissal, as of an idea

I thought about the term, in particular how it relates to the way each of us handles that interview where we quickly know the candidate sitting in front of us is likely not going much further in the search we're conducting, but now are forced to deal with the "right way” to end the interview while still giving the candidate their deserved measure of dignity. One school of thought is to let the interview play out and give the candidate a chance to turns things around, while others like to cut and run, i.e. end things immediately. What are your thoughts?

Clearly I want to respect the process and make sure each candidate has a chance to tell their story. At the same time, I never want to give anyone a false sense of security by letting them think this interview could lead to something bigger and better – like an offer! I think the interviewer should assess the candidate's skill set and other assets not just for the position they are interviewing for, but also for other potential openings that the organization has open or will have open downstream. On the other hand, if the answer is 'not now – not ever', I think the interviewer should politely end the interview stating that they are not the right fit for the role. This allows the candidate to retain a sense of dignity without giving them false hope, and lets you finish up as soon you reach the conclusion that it’s time to blow the whistle on the interview.

The one precious commodity we never get back is time. I, for one, want to maximize each minute of each hour of every day. While I don’t want to give any other human the Bum’s Rush, I also don’t want to sell them sunshine and give them any glimmer of hope that things are going in the right direction once I'm certain it’s time to pull the plug.

Just my opinion...