I was once invited to interview for a job in a pet food conglomerate. I found myself in a room facing three people behind a desk – it was instant antipathy. After a few moderately inane questions up came the Pulitzer: ‘What is it that specially interests you about pet food?’ I thought for a moment before I answered.
“I share your enthusiasm. In fact, I have a very special dog food recipe. May I?”
Indulgent smiles: I had them on my side, I thought. They stayed on my side right through my description of mixtures of rice and gravy, right up to the point, in fact, where they realized I was giving them a recipe for cooking a dog. The interview finished shortly after.
Interviews: they haven’t evolved, they’ve devolved. We are bombarded with ‘things we should say’ and ‘no-no’s’ when we are asked ‘key questions’. We are told how to ‘power dress’ – how to walk, the tone of voice we should use…..
“Individuals? Good God, we don’t want those! Talent, yes, as long as it’s not too precocious, but team members, that’s who we want: team members!” I could not help the mental image – the last phase of the interview in which she would produce a piece of leaf from behind her desk:
“Show me how you would carry this….”