Playing Well With Others

Posted in Big Thought, People, Pulpit by Harsha on November 8, 2007

Imagine you’re waiting in the lobby area of a company that builds playgrounds and you find yourself in in a faux-playground with play stuff lying around. Would you pick try to use the slide or sit on the merry-go-round? Interesting way to understand a person. If it were me, I’d probably just look around and smirk.

Oops, I won’t be getting that job.

Apparently, a non-profit called KaBoom does this to check out how interviewees would react. Though I probably won’t make it, I think this technique is pretty solid.

Another company called LindBlad Expeditions doesn’t do the idiotic trick-and-pony show that employers usually do, by showing their prospective employeess a super scary DVD that has quote “two shots of a crew member cleaning toilets. A dishwasher talks about washing 5,000 dishes in one day”. Now there is a sure-fire way of figuring out if you (as a prospective employee) have the chops and guts and desperation (aka ambition) to put yourself through the grinder.

These are some examples on the Associated Press article on CNN. All this is done to figure out if you are a “team player”. Can you get along with other people who are working at the company you want to work at. Do you play well with others; how are your interpersonal skills. See, technical skills are teachable. I can learn how to create Pivot Tables in Excel if I have to, it is easy. What is harder, is how I present these tables to others, how I talk with my cohorts and explain the data to them. THAT is the real deal. You’re sick of hearing this, aren’t you?

Keep this in mind the next time you step into an interview. Keep this in mind next time you subscribe to status quo in interviewing techniques. If you work for a large company, then good luck to you. If you’re a small business person, then really, really spend time thinking about this issue. It is tougher than you think. I have always felt that interviews are nothing more than a total waste of time and don’t let any consultant tell you otherwise. You can ask ALL the dodgy questions you can think of and yet hire a sociopath. I know someone who did.

I believe that behavioral interviewing is the best way to find out if a person is worth their words in reality. Put them to the test. Make them do the job as is, under the pressure, under the gun. If they are that interested in your position, then they’d commit to the process. True, you may leave out some good people out in the wild but what you’re looking for is a passionate person. And this is a good way to put the pedal to the metal, to put your money where you mouth is.

On the flip side, what if you’re one of those “good” people and do a job for a job’s sake and are not particularly passionate about the job or any company’s job for that matter? You can use this tactic to figure out if the prospective employer has it’s head screwed on the right way. The article states, quote: “In the mating dance of job interviews, employers traditionally put their best feet forward, too, trumpeting their wonderful benefits packages while leaving out the bit about working late, eating cold pizza”. So if this company makes you do the job as part of the interview process, they are probably TOO intense for you. They probably do have a ton of cold pizza eaten by their employees at midnight.

At the end of the day, it is about and only about a fit. Try putting a round peg in a square hole to see how hard it is to fit into a place or a clique where you just don’t feel like you belong.

Here is the AP article on CNN.

Tagged with: , , ,

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] you to my blog have all been about working with people you hate! I’ve written quite a bit about this topic, and it is something that will never go away. I don’t think it is a by-product of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: