Job interviews - for most of us the very thought sends a shiver up our spine. We all have our dreaded fears when it comes to going through the process meeting your hopeful employer for the first time. Many questions run through our mind before we even make the awkward first-time handshake. How smart should you dress? How much research should you do before attending the interview? Slip on shoes or laced shoes? All of these are tough questions, well, excluding the final one; slip-on shoes are just a general no, no in any situation. So yes, job interviews are not a pleasant experience that few people actually enjoy.
However the process of an interview for some professions has went under somewhat of a transformation over the past few years - away with the shackles of the traditional interview with its suits, formalities and stuffiness: now it's all about group interviews with quirky tasks. These types of interviews are designed to get the best out of all applicants in a fun and creative way - or so I've been told anyway. There's no better example of how a group interview operates than the story of a young Adam Bacon, who had to perform a dance to a Daft Punk with his fellow interviewees - to make matters worse, it wasn't even Get Lucky. Bacon claimed that this was, "humiliating" and "showed a lack of professionalism".
As someone who has had their fair share of job interviews this got me thinking what experiences I have had. When attending an interview for a well-known DIY superstore, I had make up a sales pitch to sell bird seed and I'd like to add I was pretty good at it too. One very memorable task at a clothes store was to find an outfit that Olly Murs would wear - now apart from only vaguely knowing who this celebrity is, I was pretty certain that he wouldn't be walking into this particular store. My fellow interviewees were somewhat disgusted when I picked up a blue jumper, with the only response being, "Urgh, Olly would never wear that". The final memorable interview task I had to endure was creating a baby shower plan for William and Kate from the in-store magazine of an up-market food retailer. This task was a real *treat*, it combined my two passions in life: Royals and Pritt Stick. All three of these interviews had a common theme; they were group interviews.
The tasks given have very little to do with the jobs being offered by the employer. Most of the time applicants are treated like children with the potential of a job being dangled above them like a set of keys. Furthermore a lot of these styles of interviews are for the least paid jobs on the market and applicants now have to perform in order to stand out from the crowd, while the employer looks on with a clipboard and pen to make notes about who is performing well.
Bacon is absolutely correct, these processes are nothing more than humiliating but disguised as 'fun'. Of course I'm not suggesting that every job interview should be a grueling panel Q&A session for thirty minutes but employers should look to set tasks that are actually linked with the advertised vacancy. The majority of group interviews only really work for those 'quirky' and 'loud' characters and not everyone is like that. From my experience there would often be a scramble to say something within the first 30 seconds of the group task because if this was not done then you could say goodbye to getting selected for the job. These interviews don't take into account an individual's attributes and strengths.
With more and more applicants for jobs there must be a shake-up of the way in which the process is carried out. No applicant should have to perform a dance to in order to potentially get a job that pays little more than £3.68 per hour - it's nothing short of patronising. So to all employers out there, put down the Pritt Sticks and turn off the Daft Punk cd and start to properly assess potential employees because no boss wants to like David Brent, surely?