Dear Claudia,

If this didn’t happen to me I would never have believed it. Last week I went on an interview at a Fortune 500 company which really needs to remain nameless. I met with some young bimbo recruiter who was all broken up about the death of Michael Jackson, and spent our entire interview talking about it! Can you fathom this??? The company and the economy are being smacked around and all this person wanted to discuss were my thoughts on this person’s death? Not even a question about the economy or something job related. When did it become fashionable in recruiting to discuss people whose character is questionable? Is this the new what-shape-should-a-manhole-cover-be or if-you-were-a-dog-what-kind-would-you-be question for candidates?

I’m sure the look on my face told her what a moron I thought she was because she cut the interview short – I guess she "sensed" that I didn't feel the same way she did about his death. Is this state of the art in recruiting? What would you have done?

Not a Fan


Dear Not a Fan,

Well that must have been a surreal experience…I debriefed a candidate once who said he spent the entire interview exchanging MLB player stats with the Hiring Manager (a contest of who knew the most useless information, as it had nothing whatsoever to do with the job at hand). He aced the interview and got the job (apparently none of the other candidates knew baseball from Batman) – so what’s the moral of the story? Chemistry plays a bigger role in the interview than we like to admit (oh no, are we talking about bias again? I thought we killed that subject last week…).

It is yet another fascinating aspect of human nature that celebrities take up so much collective mindshare; because of this it’s no surprise that the untimely death of a cultural icon can take on larger-than-life proportions for many. If you’re curious, there’s some really interesting research discussed here that examines the personality types that are drawn toward more intense celebrity worship, and their more negative shared attributes (ranging from depression and anxiety to poorer general health, higher stress levels, and lower life satisfaction). Things that make you say, “Hmmmm….”

All of this is background information for processing your own interview last week. It’s possible that this recruiter is a whack-job whose employment may cause you to think twice about wanting to work for this company. But it’s also possible that you stepped into her life during a moment of intense personal reaction to the death of someone she admired, and if she’d had some time to process her feelings offline she might have behaved more professionally in the interview. Who knows? In retrospect she may be really embarrassed, but think of it this way too: just as you got a front row seat to her reaction, she also got a front row seat to yours – and your obvious contempt for her emotional distress probably didn’t help your cause for employment. She may be wondering if you’ll treat everyone with a different perspective as if they are morons too.

If I had been in your shoes, I would have attempted to reschedule the interview. If you’re still interested in the job, you might consider reaching out to the recruiter again to see if a do-over is possible; if not, chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.


**

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I was replying to a comment that Steve made to me. Didn't mean to offend you, but there is really no other way to reply to another, other than in this way. So you too relax! All is well in honest banter. I'm not holding you accountable for the question, nor personalizing my "thoughts" towards you. Okay!

Thanks!

Claudia Faust said:
Peter my friend, give us a break. The economy is slow. People submit questions, I answer them, and then the "couch" (as Recruiting Animal calls it) add their comments. Call it cheap entertainment...you can always check the little box at the bottom to stop following the thread. Sheesh!

If you don't like the quality of the questions, its ok to submit one of your own (hehehe)... :))

Peter Ceccarelli said:
This type of stuff does not come up that often. So we're discussing it why??????
Ok, I'm back in my box again. :)) No offense taken, btw - as you said, just a bit of honest banter.

Peter Ceccarelli said:
I was replying to a comment that Steve made to me. Didn't mean to offend you, but there is really no other way to reply to another, other than in this way. So you too relax! All is well in honest banter. I'm not holding you accountable for the question, nor personalizing my "thoughts" towards you. Okay!

Thanks!

Claudia Faust said:
Peter my friend, give us a break. The economy is slow. People submit questions, I answer them, and then the "couch" (as Recruiting Animal calls it) add their comments. Call it cheap entertainment...you can always check the little box at the bottom to stop following the thread. Sheesh!

If you don't like the quality of the questions, its ok to submit one of your own (hehehe)... :))

Peter Ceccarelli said:
This type of stuff does not come up that often. So we're discussing it why??????
Nuts is a figure of speech. I could have said it's raining "heavy", "a lot", etc., I guess it's a West Coast sort of thing. I realize you're not taking "nuts" literally, but wanted to clarify for the sake of clarifying.

Steve Levy said:
Peter...nuts? lmao re:Christie's-ttys

Peter Ceccarelli said:
And your point is what? I really don't get where you're going with this!

I'm done with this topic. My point was this particular segment, regardless of the candidate or the recruiter was of NO value. This type of stuff does not come up that often. So we're discussing it why????????

Ciao! Understand it's raining like nuts in New York the past month. Sorry about that!

Steve Levy said:
Stephanie and Peter-

12 succeeded, how many are having a breakdown? What is sad and funny is that the news outlets have been able to push the economy off the front page. Thankfully the Financial Times has gone back to business!

This reaction comes from the same do-do generation that has downloaded more MJ songs in the past 24 hours than in the past 11 years.

What I believe an underlying point here is that relatively new recruiters - ok, older recruiters too - will come to the interview their own idea as to how to assess people's abilities. I suppose these folks recruit because they love people. So stop pushing the "blame"' on the candidate - recruiting is a two way street with equal culpability on both sides.

Not everyone can be a superstar; some people - candidates and recruiters - really are potential future winners of Darwin Awards.

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