The Interview Game

The Interview Game

Ever felt kicked in the gut when you realized that the suits across the desk had no intention of actually hiring you? Early in my career I suspected this was a common practice, later in my career I knew it. Being manipulated isn’t my favourite way to spend time but understanding the game can give you advantage if; you resist the urge to run amok, analyse the scenario and soak up as much information as possible. Faux interviews are part of life just like garbage and, like dumpster diving, digging through the unpleasantness can lead to unexpected rewards.

To react to a provocation with verbal or physical violence is seldom the right move; the object of provocative behaviour is to produce this reaction. It’s better to think about the situation as a whole and determine why they’ve chosen to use that particular tactic. In the world of faux interviews the interviewer may be; indulging in passive aggressive behaviour, using you to fulfil a quota or have you in mind for some other purpose than the advertised position. Passive aggressive game playing is a personal weakness. Wasting resources to fulfil unwritten quotas is an organizational weakness. If someone has you in mind for something else and is using their assigned role to push that agenda that’s both a personal and an organizational weakness. If you can get the end of an interview with these weaknesses noted you are far further ahead than if you wind up being dragged out kicking and screaming.

If you walk out calmly after a faux interview you will also have the chance to soak up information about the organization. Are people screaming and running around? Who’s standing in the corridor talking about sports and who’s on the phone with a customer? Who has time to keep their work areas neat and who doesn’t? Who’s handing out work and who’s taking it? At a later date you may be in a real interview, maybe in an office, maybe in a bus shelter, maybe standing in line for a hotdog and something gained from that walk may tip the balance. Maybe not as well, but at least you are spared the indignity, bruises and legal consequences of other endings.

Doing a faux interview is a mistake but it’s not your mistake. For you it’s a chance to practice your interview skills, find out about a particular person in detail and about an organization in general. Get what you can and take it down the line.

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