Are You a Junior Shrink Interviewer?

Posted on: November 27, 2012

Today I was helping a young lady with her job search.  We discussed the typical things – Resume, Job Search and Interview Strategies.   She told me about an interview she recently attended wherein the interviewer asked her “If you could be a fruit, what type of fruit would you be”.   Hmm, I’m surprised these questions are still being asked in interviews.  I immediately asked her if the interviewer disclosed herself as a doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) – she said no – but could not confirm that the interviewer did not hold this distinguished designation.    Then I asked her if the interview was with Apple – I mean maybe the interviewer was looking for “apple” as a good faith answer – a little interview humour?  However, the company was not Apple.

Ok so here I go – up on my soap box.  What in the world does “fruit” have to do with getting a job as a customer service rep?  I’d like to see that job description – really how do you incorporate “fruit” into the job requirements?  Let’s see – “Must love all fruits” or “Only fruit lovers will be considered” Or “Must be able to deal with all kinds of fruits” – I mean really!!!!

Unless the interviewer is a bona fide psychologist or psychiatrist and knows how to decipher the answer then he/she has no business asking the question.   These types of questions asked by inexperienced interviewers almost always lead to subjective and bias decisions without any measureable evidence to back up the decision.   Think about it – my response might be “a peach” – when I’m asked “why a peach”  I say” because I like peaches” – little do I know that the interviewer dislikes peaches –  or maybe he/she is allergic to peaches – there’s one subjective strike against me.

If you are asking junior shrink questions in the interview try replacing it with a behavioural interview question?  It is much better to identify the skills and competencies required to perform the job and develop behavioural/performance based questions to help you evaluate each candidate consistently – so much more objective.  Remember, poor hiring decisions are very costly; and questions about what type of fruit, colour or dog a person prefers will end up costing your company in more ways than one

Lee Koren is a Human Resource Professional with extensive international experience.  She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Lee possesses over 25 years of experience in selection and recruitment.  She has recruited and hired thousands of resources for large global corporations.  Born and raised in Toronto, Lee spent a large portion of her career in Dallas, Texas where she enhanced her knowledge and expertise in behavioural interviewing.   She has facilitated behavioural interviewing workshops worldwide for corporate leaders.  Lee’s passion and talent is “selection” which inspired her to develop and deliver a variety of workshops.   Lee uses a common sense approach in sharing her vast knowledge.  


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