“Stress” interviews: hiring by humiliation

Job interviews are rarely a pleasant experience but the one Olivia Bland recently endured appears to have been particularly hideous. The 22-year-old graduate says she was left in tears at the bus stop after a two-hour grilling by Craig Dean, the boss of a tech company in Oldham where she had hoped to become a communications assistant. In a letter to the company turning down a job offer, which she posted on Twitter, Bland complained that Dean had called her an “underachiever”, torn apart her written application, asked personal questions and even criticised her music taste as he scrolled through her Spotify account. The interview, she wrote, felt like “being sat in a room” with her “abusive ex”.

One point of view:  Interviews are meant to be “robust and challenging”, to reveal the best candidates. Bland deserves credit for bravely speaking out, but her response will have reinforced the view of many that “the default position for privileged middle-class millennials is to paint themselves as victims who would rather turn to social media than wake up to a real world that’s often stressful and unfair”.

Another point of view:  Experts are divided about the effectiveness of the “stress interview” concept.  Some believe that deliberately unsettling candidates can reap useful insights into how individuals cope with pressure and approach problems. “But virtually all agree that using any level of derision and humiliation is unacceptable and outdated.”    (drawn from:  Peter Rubinsten, BBC News; James Moore, The Independent; Amanda Platell, Daily Mail; and The Week 13 Feb 2018).

My reaction:  At one time I had 120 employees.  Half of running a business is motivating the employees; the other half is keeping the customers.  Neither can be done by bullying, because the above account is just that- bullying.  An interviewee comes before you nervous to start with.  Upset them and you yourself have blown the interview.  Aside from that you want the new staff member to look forward to joining, and setting to with enthusiasm.  No, the Epicurean employer treats his/her staff with respect.  Making a success is a team effort.

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