Job seekers meet increasingly bizarre interviewers

London, January 29:

Never mind the ‘where do you see yourself five years from now?’ approach, modern recruitment techniques seem to be influenced more by Jackass than by traditional HR principles. Whether it’s asking candidates to sing songs and gurn — despite both activities being conspicuously absent from the job description — or group interviewees being asked to perform the haka, employers are increasingly engaged in a battle of the bizarre.

Jonathan Dobkin, director of employment agency Connections, has more than 20 years of experience dealing with recruiters. “After a while there’s no doubt that interviewing people does get boring, so some recruiters try to spice things up,” he says. “There is probably an element that the interviewers have a bit of a laugh about it and maybe have a bet at the beginning of the day to see how many candidates they can get to go along with it and see what they can get away with.”

While it’s depressing for job-hunters to have their future livelihood in the hands of japesters, it should not come as a surprise. A clear indication of the increasing craziness of recruiters can be found in the ever-stranger ways that employers try to appeal to candidates. Adverts in papers and stalls at recruitment fairs are no longer enough — employers want to grab people’s imaginations.

Advertising agency TBWA interviewed 160 graduates in a Pop Idol-style challenge where candidates had to deliver a three-minute plea for employment before learning whether they were hired or fired. T-Mobile has started to run speed-dating style recruitment events where candidates have to impress bosses, and king of the search, Google, had a stand at the 40th Anniversary Star Trek Convention looking for potential candidates.

According to Tom Hadley, of the UK’s Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), these wacky approaches are only to be expected. “It’s a jobseeker’s market at the moment. We do a monthly report which shows that demand for staff in many sectors has increased significantly for the last three years, so there’s massive demand out there. There are so many messages flying around that you have to work harder to make sure yours gets across, so we are seeing more innovation.”

All of which makes it even stranger that when employers have finally got a pool of potential employees, they get really odd. “I know one company who operate in a call-centre environment,” says Jonathan Dobkin. “They want to know that you are capable of talking concisely, so they ask everybody going for telesales roles to impersonate Trevor McDonald.

“I’ve also heard of a company who have taken the next step from simple psychometric testing — and plug all of their candidates into a lie detector. I think they do it to find out about any lies on CVs.”

How to be efficient

LONDON: The secret is simple - make a list and do the hardest thing first. Now comes the hard part: doing it Now is the time for efficiency; February is almost upon us and it’s make things happen andwith a bit of luck you’ll be told you can knock off early. So, what’s the secret of becoming a workplace dynamo? The first rule of efficient working is simple: make a list. It might not sound the kind of revolutionary idea. It might even seem like the kind of thing your grandma would tell you to do. But give it a chance. Sometimes the old stuff really works. At the very least, you’ll be able to get rid of all those scrawled Post-it notes, overdue Outlook reminders and nagging suspicions in the back of your mind about things you’ve been meaning to do since September. — The Guardian