Bselected

Version 2 – Are you a Junior Shrink Interviewer?

Posted on: January 26, 2015

I wrote the article below in 2012 and it is just as true today as it was then. It never ceases to amaze me when I read articles about interviewers who think it is cool to ask “junior shrink” questions. I wonder if anyone at their company is tracking results of these types of questions and subsequent hires. We all know how expense just one bad hire can be to a company. In fact, the higher the position the more expense the cost which is why a structured performance based interview is a far better strategy. Enjoy

Are you a Junior Shrink Interviewer? By Lee Koren, PHR

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 “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 this type of question. These 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 “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.

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