Extreme interviewing tactics being used by some employers


Today’s fiercely competitive job market means job seekers need to bring all they’ve got to every interview. As someone who has interviewed hundreds of people, I want to share my perspective on what makes for a good interview.

I have a bias for applicants who are genuine above all else. Remember, an employer hires a person, not a robot. When I was doing the hiring for my chain of travel agencies, I always aimed to get the interviewee talking so I could learn what type of individual I was dealing with.

Recently, I saw a story in The Baltimore Sun about the weirdo ambush kind of interviews people are facing right now in looking for work.

For example, some employers will bring in a number of people to an interview and try to see how people assert themselves and cooperate with others. They’re trying to get sense of what kind of team player you are and whether you’re a leader or a wallflower.

There’s even a term for the off-beat interview style in human resources — ‘extreme interviewing.’

Different companies have different versions of extreme interviewing. The most unusual interviews are normally with the technology-based firms.

For example, Google will ask you, “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?” according to the book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

For my money, here are some simple things you can do if you’re out there looking for work:

  • Preparation is key. Read the press coverage on a company and read the company’s annual report.
  • Show up dressed well. Dress for the culture of the company.
  • Don’t spout off to show how brilliant you are.
  • Proofread your resume carefully before submitting it anywhere. Review your resume reading backwards to look on a granular word-based level. And save your money on the special parchment paper — it’s not necessary.
  • Know that most jobs are found not by looking online, but through a referral or direct contact. Networking is the best approach. People like to hire someone they already have a sense of, not a total stranger. So get out there and meet people!

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