Do Interviews Work?

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

4 April 2019

When it comes to hiring new employees, the current times seem pretty dire. Resumes are copied and pasted from the internet, skills are exaggerated, and interviews are just as reliable as a first date. Have you ever gone on a first date and thought it was magical — and then figured out a few months later the person sitting across from you was a narcissistic tool? Can a first impression ever be enough?

I recently read a post on LinkedIn that entertained the idea of having interviews at the grocery store. I’d be interested in setting up that mock environment to see if it could work. Imagine: instead of submitting a resume on Indeed with your confident and boastful cover letter, you were given a time, date, and location to apply in person …

You pull up to the seemingly plain office building. But when you walk in, there are actual aisles filled with food, and you’re handed a grocery list. This has to be a trick. You were applying for a position as a program coordinator. But being a good sport, you continue with the adventure.

You see people running through the store as fast as they can. They’re cutting others off and trying to get to the end of their lists and the checkout as fast as they can. This doesn’t seem like the right tactic to you, but watching them trip while jogging in their loafers is humorous. You also see people standing in the middle of the aisle, taking up both lanes, just staring at the top shelf wondering how they’ll reach the cereal that was specified on their list. And yet others are clearly texting their friends about how funny a situation this is. There may have even been a few selfies taken and posted to Snapchat.

You decide to make this trip like any other. Since you’re a team player by nature, you help the short woman in the cereal aisle and then get to work checking off your list. You make sure to wave and smile at everyone who makes eye contact. And you even get to crack a few jokes at checkout.

Perhaps we should have interviews become an experience. Let’s put our potential employees in an everyday situation and see how they react. It’ll likely become pretty clear who’ll fit into your company’s culture. You’ll learn how they act in public situations, instead of merely sitting behind a screen and a keyboard or across the desk from you, begging for a paycheck.

There’s some new meaning for the phrase, get real.