Is Auditioning the New Interviewing?


No. No, no, no, no. Dear God No.

This was my initial reaction to the question emblazoned across the front of People Management magazine. Is auditioning the new interviewing? As if an interview wasn’t bad enough anyway, someone decided to add into the mix a requirement to prove, on the spot, some kind of “talent” (I use the word lightly).

Yes, I do get it. It’s the job of employees at TGI Fridays to be kooky and zany. You don’t find many Person Specifications that require experience in crafting a three foot hat out of balloons or penning a birthday rap based on someone’s first name. I guess pretty much anyone can wait tables (no offence) but that extra something that makes the TGI experience stand out isn’t going to shine through a normal interview process. So basically they designed an something which is more of a simulation of what a day in the TGI workplace might actually be like.

My first thought was that they could have just waiting outside a “Britain’s Got Talent” audition and handed a bunch of contracts to the rejects. Then I started to wonder. Does a traditional HR recruitment process seem just as weird from the outside looking in?

Think about it.

Stage 1. Your CV is sucked into the vortex of a black hole recruitment portal. That makes it sound a thousand percent more exciting than it really is. Nobody really knows what happens once it’s in there. I’m imagining magnifying glasses, red marker pens and a large shredding machine. Weird sounding email address? Too little experience? Too much experience? Rejected.

Stage 2. If you’re immodest enough to have sold your soul at stage 1, you may be lucky to make it through to the next test. This normally takes place in a room with factors like the temperature, number of people on the panel and the distance between you and the panel set at a slightly uncomfortable level. Examples of questions include “what are the biggest challenges facing our company” and “tell us about yourself” (me? I’m great). Extra points for ticking all the boxes of standard and expected answers yet also throwing in a curve ball that the panel have never heard of, but sounds impressive.

Stage 3. If the recruiter is feeling particularly ambitious and “forward thinking” they might decide to put applicants through an “assessment centre”. Please sit in a room and act normal for 45 minutes in a completely unrealistic and totally simulated situation. Try and maintain a discussion and reach an outcome with a group of competitor candidates who you would rather stab in the back at every opportunity. A skill which will serve you well in your career at organisation X. Ten minutes are reserved before lunch to explain to the millennials what an “in-tray” is.

Now whose recruitment process is crazy?

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