Hire Me. Hire Me Not.
By Bob Goldman
Your boss is an idiot. The entire executive team is composed of morons.
How do we know this?
They hired you, didn't they?
Think of it this way -- if your company's management wasn't so incompetent, you would never have gotten past the front door.
What if these nitwits ever wise up? What if they figure out who to hire? Even worse, what if they figure out who to fire?
Let's face it -- you'd be flying out that front door with your priceless desktop collection of "Star Wars" action figures flying right behind you.
All of which explains why I was so upset when I read a recent Adam Bryant article in The New York Times titled, "How to Hire the Right Person."
Bryant, who writes a weekly "Corner Office" column, claims to have discussed the subject of hiring with "500 leaders." This seems unlikely to me, unless he is writing his column from a whacky shack. (I don't think this is the case, since I don't hear anyone else typing.)
Still, it is worth your time to learn the tricks of successful hiring, just in case your management starts bringing in a bunch of competent people to supervise you, a tragic turn of events which will surely lead to you having to find another position -- stat!
"Avoid the Standard Job Interview" is Bryant's first prescriptive. "Be creative," he suggests. I'm not sure what is meant by being creative in this context, but if the interviewer dresses up in a chicken costume, a good candidate is likely to head for the hills. You, of course, would feel right at home in this situation. You'd know you'd be working at a company filled with whackadoodles just like yourself. And, as a bonus, you'd always have fresh eggs!
"Get Away From Your Desk" is another recommendation. "Stay in the building and show the candidates around your company, and maybe introduce them to some colleagues," Bryant writes. Patty Stonesifer, who ran the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, agrees. "I'll stop and introduce them to a half-dozen people, and see if it's just a handshake or whether there's some curiosity and interest."
You can play this two ways. If you go the handshake route, make sure you bring along a giant-size bottle of Purell and douse your hands, face and underarms before and after every shake. Alternately, you can show your softer side and greet each person with a bone-crusher of a hug. Follow this up with a personal comment like, "You look wonderful; you must give me the name of your plastic surgeon," or "you look so familiar; didn't I see you on Ashley Madison?"
Another "leave your desk" move is for the hiring manager to take the potential employee out for a meal. As Bryant explains, "for many leaders, this is the most important part of the interview process."
Certainly, it will be the most important part of the process for you. You get a free meal! But sharing a meal is actually a good opportunity to impress a potential employer.
To show that you are comfortable with a leadership position, berate the server for making you wait too long before taking your order, or arriving too quickly and not giving you time to carefully cogitate on whether you want your caviar served with toast points or Ritz Crackers.
And be sure to order a colorful drink, like a Corpse Reviver No. 2, and make it a double, to show that you will be fun passenger on the company jet.
Finally, load any uneaten rolls into your pockets, and since you will surely clean your plate, make sure the remains of your companion's meal are wrapped in a tin-foil swan and given to you. This shows you are thrifty.
Asking "curveball questions" is the final hiring tip we can discuss here.
"What kind of animal would you be? And why?" is one such curveball. Managers hiring for sales positions like to hear their candidates are predators, like tigers or lions. If you're going to be working in close-knit teams, a more social animal is required, like a termite or a mole rat. If you're not sure what the proffered job will demand, or if your interviewing for an upper management position, answer that you would be a vulture, plucking the dead, rotting flesh off of the mangled bodies of everyone in the company you will destroy as you claw your way to the top.
That always works.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.