Re: Advice for Job Seekers

Subject: Re: Advice for Job Seekers
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 15:21:49 -0400

Lydia Wong wrote

> One of our favorite questions to ask interviewees is "what are the three
> best and the three worst traits of your former managers?"

I am disturbed by question of this sort being used in interviews. (I don't
mean to pick in this example or on Lydia in particular, my compliant is
against the whole genre of such questions. "What is your greatest weakness?"
is a classic of the genre. Their use is very widespread.)

The idea behind such questions seems to be to force the candidate into an
uncomfortable situation where they must either say something they would not
normally say, or point blank refuse to answer the question. The object, I
suppose, is that by forcing the candidate into this uncomfortable position,
by putting them under pressure, we will somehow trick them into revealing
some truth which they are trying to hide.

This seems to me to be founded in the ambush style of journalism pioneered
by Malcolm Muggeridge and David Frost and practiced today by the every
member of the parliamentary (or congressional) press corps and by Barbara
Walters in her unending quest to make celebrities cry in public.

Do we learn more about people by forcing them into emotional distress and
observing the results? Are we governed best by politicians who give long and
grave consideration to the issues, or by those who are best at surviving a
sound-byte ambush.

Should a job interview be conducted as a contest between interviewer and
candidate in which the interviewer tries to force the candidate into
Freudian slips and the candidate tries to avoid them? I don't think so.

I much prefer the behavioral approach to interviewing in which the candidate
is asked to relate a specific incident from their past in which they solved
a particular kind or problem or worked in a particular kind of environment.
I find this style tells you far more than the trick-question approach and is
much more fair to the candidate.

Previous by Author: Re: "Parallelize"
Next by Author: Re: Advice for Job Seekers
Previous by Thread: RE: Advice for Job Seekers
Next by Thread: Re: Advice for Job Seekers

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads