The Ruminator

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Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Xtreme Employment - The New Reality TV

Potentially frightening article in the Sydney Morning Herald about interviewers in today’s competitive job market resorting to “extreme” selection methods.

Great, like job interviews aren’t already traumatic enough.

Maybe I watch too much television, but the idea of extreme (or should that be Xtreme) selection methods brought to mind something like ‘Survivor’. Short-listed candidates are dumped in the wilderness and must provide for themselves, pass a series of grueling tests, and form strategic alliances. Makes sense - you could test leadership, teamwork, initiative, creative thinking, working under pressure, negotiation skills, and whether or not people would look good at the office pool party.

Actually what the article was really referring to was the use of a new breed of "KQs" or "killer questions" designed to disorientate applicants. These also address the fact that it is usually not that hard to figure out what interviewers want to hear. Asking KQs makes people think on their feet, and tests how they react under pressure. According to a survey quoted in the article, 90 percent of employers pose a killer question in interviews.

The article also helpfully provided five killer questions asked at interviews:
1. Would you ever lie to get a job?
Absolutely not. On the other hand I could be lying about that to get this job.
2. What were you hoping we wouldn't ask you?
Well, that question for a start. And anything concerning the chronological gap on my resume, which refers to the time I spent in jail in a small South American country.
3. Name five members of the cabinet.
Well, there’s Posh, Baby, Sporty, Scary, and that other one. No, wait . . .
4. Tell me a joke.
A naked woman walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm and a 12 foot salami under the other . . .
5. If you were the prime minister, which issues would you tackle?
Prime Minister? That’s Supreme Leader to you! Bwa ha ha ha! Wait, did I just say that out loud?

Traumatic job interview stories welcome.


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