Articles From the Team
Unconventional interview techniques – designed to put you off?
Typically, a majority of interviews follow the same format: handshake, introductions (you and them), technical and competency-based questions, a chat about the role/position, and then an open opportunity for the candidate to ask any of their personal questions.
However, more recently, I’ve heard of some slightly ‘unconventional’ interview techniques that venture away from the traditional structure.
These ‘off-piste’ methods aren’t designed to put you off or make you look stupid. They’re used to assess your thought process, your approach and your problem-solving ability.
When my friends and I were applying for a place at University, some of us had to attend a formal interview before being offered a place. Walking into the interview room, the panel invited my friend to ‘take a seat’. There were no chairs in the room other than those the interviewers were sat on. What do you do?! Sit on the floor? Continue to stand? Ask if you can pop outside and get a chair from reception? There is no right or wrong answer. Sitting on the table may even cross your mind, although I’d say that’s a bad move!
“You’re my cup of tea”
I even read something online recently: apparently, a cup of tea can be the deciding factor as to whether you’re successful at a job interview or not! A hiring manager at a business in London has a bold strategy: he decides on a candidate based purely on a cup of tea. It’s not so much the cup of tea that makes or breaks it but what the candidate does with it.
The interviewer takes the candidate via the kitchen on the way to the interview and makes them a drink to take with them to the meeting room. After conducting the interview, he then watches what the candidate does with their empty mug upon leaving the room. If they leave it there, the answer is no. If they offer to take the mug back to the kitchen to wash it up, then it’s yes. Seems a little extreme, but I can see his point. You want a potential team member to be a true team player: tidying up after themselves; not expecting others to tidy up after them. It’s subtle but can speak volumes about someone’s character.
I think the above is reasonable. However, in doing my research for this blog, I’ve read some crazy – bordering ludicrous – ‘stunts’ that businesses have pulled during their interviews. Here’s the best one. A CEO would lead the candidate into the interview room, start the interview as normal and then ‘collapse’ (!) on the floor to see how the candidate reacted! Extreme! Others would set the fire alarm off; ask the candidate to take part in a hockey game, or even ask them to join them at the gym for a workout! (That would be me out of the game straight away!)
So, the message here is to be prepared. You don’t need to take a first aid course in anticipation of the interviewer faking a heart attack on the floor, but do think about your actions beyond the traditional. Be thoughtful, mindful, and considerate. They’re looking at more than you think.