What is the purpose of the job interview? The interviewer wants to know if the prospect is right for the job. The employer gives money and benefits for time and devotion; while the prospect wants the money and benefits. The interviewer hopes to ask the right questions; the prospect hopes to give the right answers.
This reminds me of a great Saturday Night Live routine called Subliminal Man. Subliminal Man spoke in undertones. In a clear stentorian voice he stated what was expected, then in a quiet staccato voice he said what he really thought. Would it be nice if this is the way job interviews worked?
Let’s see how Subliminal Man does in a typical interview. First assume that the job interview is being conducted by a twenty-something svelte attractive former cheerleader, possibly an imported-wine drinker.
Our optimistic job candidate, with beer gut, has been somewhat happily unemployed for the past two years. His presence at this interview can best be explained by the insistence of his full-time working wife and his recurring back ache from sleeping on the couch. Our Bud man has a decided preference for hunting, fishing and watching football.
Good morning Mr. Johnson.
Oh, sorry, Mr. Johnston.
Oh no problem, it happens all the time. (Subliminal Man kicks in—“What a twit”)
What attracted you to our company, Mr. Johnston?
I saw your ad in the newspaper. (“Actually my wife cut out your ad and put it on my tackle box”)
How much experience have you had driving a semi with a triplex transmission?
Five years, yeah was five years. Now that I think about it, it could have been six. (“None whatsoever, what the hell is a triplex?”)
Did you enjoy over-the-road driving?
You bet, ten-four back at you.
You obviously know your way around trucking.
Thanks (“Yeah, my kid has a little red one, what a dork”)
What are your salary requirements?
I understand that this type of job pays around 45 thousand per year. (“Three paychecks and I got that bass boat sweetie”)
Do you see this as a long term commitment?
Absolutely (“At least until duck season”)
Do you have any questions for me?
When would I start if I got the job? (“What are you doing Saturday night, my wife will be working”)
We should be making a decision within two weeks.
Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you. (“Great, two more weeks on the couch, take your time you wine-sipping twit”)
As you may have guessed, I tend to consider the job interview a somewhat inexact science. That’s why I recommend the Workplace Attitude Test in addition to the interview plus a background check. See http://www.workplaceattitudes.com/.