Bizarre Business Interview Techniques

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Have you ever been to an interview where it felt like your interviewer was reading questions from a how-to book? Some book about how to strategically corner the candidates and make them sweat? Some might have gotten more professional but still the employers are forgetting one significant fact: The candidates might quite possibly have seen those books too! What I mean is, sometimes the interviewers are so lost in playing the good cop/bad cop game or using the oh- so- cliché “treat them mean, keep them keen” strategy that they forget that candidates can play along too.

Some might try to push your buttons so hard to test your endurance. It’s a tough industry (it doesn’t matter which industry you want to be a part of: every employer thinks he/she is working in the hardest one), right? If you can’t take 30 minutes of stress, what use are you to them? But come on, they should not underestimate the intelligence of the audience. Most of the time, you can smell the tactics from a mile away and you choose one of the two paths: 1)You play along and prove you have balls of steel (metaphorically speaking of course) or 2) Judging by the technique that so lacks originality, you decide that you don’t want to work for them anyway. Of course there are some who can get caught off guard, which is exactly why these games still exist. But seriously, they are not as efficient or scary as they are believed to be. Let’s take a look at these questions taken from real life cases.

The interviewers are two career women, both partners of the law firm, interviewing a female lawyer intern to-be. One of the questions asks the girl where she sees herself 5 years from now. Easy question. Easy to come up with a smart, promising answer. But then this question comes:

– “What if you decide you want to have babies and quit the practice? or you want to cut back hours? What then?”

Now, this question is stupid for one simple reason. The candidate will lie. If she doesn’t want babies, she will say so. Even if she is thinking about it, she will say no. No woman in her right mind will admit to considering having babies in the 5 years to come. They want to job and they want it now. It’s not even certain they will (want to) stay in that firm for that long anyway. So they will lie. So if the interviewer can’t anticipate the lie, they should really not be interviewing at all. If they are not able to guess the answer, they should just not ask. Either way, it is a waste of time for both parties.

This one is priceless. It happened to me. The co-founder of a small PR company wanted me to pledge my loyalty to the firm. She wanted me to assure her that I was to stay with the company for a long time. Now this question is hilarious for two reasons: For one, obviously I can’t know how long I want to stay at a company I haven’t even started to work for yet. And two, this woman used to work for another company but she left after 2 years to start her own. So, she didn’t stick at one place and she’s expecting me to?

If you have stuff to add, please do. We might feel frustrated at the time of the interview, but afterwards it just turns into a funny anecdote we love to laugh at.

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