The method we use to interview candidates wastes company money and the time of everyone involved. Fly them across the country, parade them through every division office you can think of, and try to catch a glimpse of what their work style might be like. We are seriously fooling ourselves if we think a few
well-designed standard questions will narrow down the candidate pool for skill level and for fit.
Dancers and actors try out for their parts, and as Chris Conzen suggested, “If you were hiring a chef, you’d have them cook.” So the next time you invite candidates to campus, why not put them to work?
The Job, a CBS reality show, gives job-seekers a chance to “win” positions at prestigious companies while competing in a series of elimination challenges. Some people will say this show is exploiting the unemployed, but if you ask Jeff Lail or me, it’s the most logical job interview we’ve ever seen. Candidates are expected to answer trivia-style questions about the company, thrown into on-the-job tasks, and are forced to recall the names of each person with whom they worked.
In the last episode, the interviewer asked, “Why don’t I remember you?” Ouch. Sure it’s ego-bruising, but she had a point. If we’re going to ask questions, I think they’ve gotta be tough.
Even better than tough questions, the next candidate you invite to campus, throw them into the mix. Gauge how warm and accommodating they are– ask them to work the orientation check-in table. Have the candidate assist a student with her resume. Challenge them to facilitate a quick team-building activity during RA training. High stakes, low stakes, mix it up. But just ask yourself: Do I want them to tell me they can do the job or show me?