I generally do not prepare in advance when conducting interviews – I seem to have a good instinct when we shake hands as to the type of person they might be. Years of observing people and their behaviours have given me rich data to work with. And interviews are probably the only scenario where it is expected that one fill silence with prepared speeches and ridiculous exaggerations of one’s talents and skills. It’s like you have gotten stuck at the party with the really annoying person, in a very tiny space, and you are desperately trying to leave but simply cannot get away. And they happen to be in this rather cramped space with their mother – to extol all their god-like virtues and grand achievements at the various church social clubs, hospitals and charity work for the poor. For this reason, I like to side step the mother completely and get right to the point. I have found over the years that it is best not to ask the traditional “so, tell me a little about yourself” question. I much prefer to use the urban myth interview question of “if you could be any animal in the kingdom, which would you be?” Way better results.
People will always fall into one of two categories. The first is the wide-eyed, “I can’t believe you just asked me that”, colour-draining-from-the-face type of response that clearly was not anticipated nor prepared for. Stammering generally occurs. I am often curious at this point “Hmmm, how will they get out of that one…I wonder….”. Unfortunately for me, this category of reaction generally ends the interview in a rather painful and anti-climatic manner.
The second category is the knee-jerk reaction truth. And that is really the answer that I am looking for in an interview. Dog = happy and loyal sometimes to a fault. Cat = lazy and obsessively clean, perhaps snobby. Ostrich = humourous and does not take things too seriously – potential lawsuit. By using this method, I have just cut months of wistful waiting and expensive training costs to figure out this person outside the traditional manner. Who needs the safety of a probationary period now? Shake hands and move on. Did I mention I can be cold and highly efficient?
Perhaps I generalize with this method. Perhaps I make decisions based on false assumptions. But let’s face it, one needs to communicate and make an impression of their personality, work ethic and ability to complete tasks to a complete stranger almost instantly. Sigh… here comes that two-minute elevator pitch again. Really, I do not swoon that easily. Thanks internet for making me jaded.
Oh, and by the way, here is another little secret…I am always a horse 🙂