Interviewing Comedy

Sometimes you just have to laugh…

Nearing the end of a long interview I was convinced I had a certain underwhelming candidate pegged until he mentioned that upon completing our meeting he would be heading down the street to give a talk at a MENSA gathering. I was immediately unsettled as I tried to reconcile this Stephen Hawking bit of data with my impressions of the candidate from the interview. A few days later I was listening to one of the candidate’s references describe him in a manner consistent with my initial lackluster assessment. When I asked about the MENSA comment, the reference was puzzled. After pondering the question for a minute he started to laugh. He explained that the candidate was in fact not speaking at the local high IQ chapter but rather the neighborhood ‘Men’s AA’. The candidate (full marks for candor I suppose) had simply pronounced his destination incorrectly. Now everything made sense.

Also recently, a candidate showed up for a courtesy meeting, shook my hand, and then suggested that rather than proceed with a traditional interview, he would make a presentation. Before I could protest, the candidate pulled out an iPad and launched a PowerPoint presentation titled “Meet Mike” which laid out in great detail, the life and times of third-person Mike. Slide by slide, Mike went through the defining moments of his upbringing, his family, schooling and work career. Under ‘Interesting facts about Mike’ I learned that Mike is an Aries, an ENTJ, a Jack Welch enthusiast, and a wine connoisseur. Under the heading “Management by Mike” I learned about his philosophy of leadership, including his Top 10 Tips of Management. Mike also attached partial quotes from past 360 feedback reviews one of which summed it all up with, “What a guy!!!”. And at the bottom of each and every single slide were Mike’s deep thoughts, philosophical ruminations if you like, such as ‘life’s too short to short-shift your management bench” all aimed at providing insight into various aspects of the man, and myth. At the end of it all, he asked if I had any questions. What was there to ask or say for that matter?

About the Author

Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.

Contact Robert by email at [email protected] or call (1) 416-365-9494 EXT 777

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