Friday, November 30, 2007

Isn't Having Fun Enough Reason Alone?

Sam said...

Is there ever a time simply having fun is reason enough? Only today an article on executive laugh classes featured. Why not just have some fun?

Sam posed this a couple of topics back. One of the reasons you could justify a more creative approach to interviewing is interviewer burnout. I've been in organisations where individual staff have groaned at the prospect of doing yet another interview round and going through similar styles of questions with yet another batch of applicants.

The usual cautions would remain of course. To me the activity should still inform you about the applicants in some manner but certainly all should enjoy.

The only caveat I could think of would be in the unique situation where a corporation, faced with choosing between two applicants, decided to hire them both but thought to have a little fun on what would have been the last interview round.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I:CreativeRecruit - 2: Capability and Potential Empathy

Company 'Y' is an engineering and design firm. The CEO felt there was a divide between his design and technical team and his administrative staff. Following a retirement of a senior manager in admin the CEO decided to fill the place with a personality that was able to readily connect with the designers and tech staff and yet had strong admin skills.

In an early round the candidates were asked to complete a simple task. They had to put together a kit chair that was still in pieces in it's pack.

On the surface, it may look like the candidates who put their chairs together the fastest would naturally move to the next round. In this case (and without giving all the game away) that wasn't necessarily the case at all. ;)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Warnings and Issues

I think it responsible to review some of the potential pitfalls and problematics of creative interview processes.

This newspaper piece, Job Interviews Going Too Far?, illustrates:,23636,22763087-5012424,00.html

It is clear that some managers or business owners are developing ideas with good intentions however, with poor insight and lack of attendance to contemporary equity legislative requirements, their creations are, at times, insulting and demeaning.

In my view it is not reasonable to ask a male or female job applicant to strip down to their underwear unless the job position they are applying for calls for that. I think the following sort of rationale inadequate: "I wanted to see who were truly ok with themselves".

Applicants deserve dignity apart from anything else.

As you consider the creative interview technique you are thinking of using, have a checklist you run through as you analyse your proposal. Check potentials for sexism, ageism, discrimination, bias, ignorance of mobility issues and so on. Check OH&S issues. Some workplace activities require closed toed shoes for example. Some religions preclude a female holding on to an unknown male. Consider these.

You also need to be able to arrive at potential last minute adaptions of creative activities for individual circumstances.

I also believe it fair to ask short listed applicants to wear certain types of clothes e.g. pants and not a skirt or dress as a preference, on the basis that activities may transpire. This is your time to intelligently work through any issues with your candidates.

In Justin Hemmes case, (see article), with his desire to create a strong fantasy atmosphere at his hotel, I think his decision to run the theatre appropriate however a similar less complex selection process could have been created and may have been more appropriate in terms of reflecting the real world of Ivy.

I believe Justin could be also be served by having a mix of theatre trained and hospitality trained staff. Perhaps that is what he wound up with!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I:CreativeRecruit - 1: Reflect Problems in the Field

A straightforward exercise to begin with:

You are down to three people for a job that largely involves them using a ride-on mower to maintain lawn areas around a large technology park.

You know that one of the primary annoyances in the job is the array of garbage that inevitably finds its way onto the lawns. Plastic and paper bags, bits of fruit and sandwich, drink and water bottles, juice cartons and so on.

You ensure a specific lawn area is lightly littered with a typical array and without saying anything about this you set each of the three short listed applicants to mow that area. You remain at distance and unseen but able to observe and take notes.

Applicant 1: They pick each and every item up before mowing. Some might have hopped onto the mower and tried to pick up as they go around (a potential OH&S issue) but this person picked them all up in one go, dropping them into one bin and then set about mowing. That job was done competently.

Applicant 2: They pick up all the plastic, glass and cartons, they throw the fruit and sandwich pieces into the back of the gardens and then they mow over the paper. There is a fine tan look to small sections of the lawn where this has been done. Competent at mowing.

Applicant 3: They see the garbage and come back and ask if you have recycling bins. They set about picking the items up. Sorting them appropriately and mowing. Competent at mowing.

So, all good at mowing, so on this element they are even. Now look at the 3 sets of behaviours. In this case Applicants 2 and 3 got through to the final round.

The point of this exercise, in part, is to illustrate that not all creative recruitment processes need be theatrical or circus like or full of bells and whistles. Sometimes those are appropriate but horses for courses. Also of course that including real job issues can creatively reveal various traits and commitments of your applicants.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Know what you want

I really must start this blog by urging all employers to really know what it is you want and seek in your new employee(s). Whilst it can be useful to have flexible notions about the employment position, you really must enter the process of seeking new staff with a core list of qualities, knowledge and competencies you seek.

The three again: qualities, knowledge and competencies

Consider kneading the position a little once you are down to your top 2 or 3 applicants. Consider how each of the applicants may value add to your original position intention.

Then get particularly creative in how you select between your top two.