Posted by: gathondu | 2004/11/11

interviewing techniques to find out possible psychos

After watching The Apprentice, it struck me how little cv's actually reveal about the suitability of an applicant for a particular job. take Sam, he's a complete psycho, the last person I'd want working for me. and yet his CV must have looked pretty good for him to be considered a potential president for one of Mr Trump's companies. I'm sure they interviewed lots of people before they arrived at the final group of people who would feature in the show. And still his 'insanity' escaped detection. He's probably an interviewer's dream, has done his homework so knows how and when to suck up, good academic record and he wants to please. Is there any way you'd find out about such a person's psycho tendencies before you make the unfortunate mistake of hiring him.

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Interesting points, gathondu. Maybe part of the puzzle in programmes like this, is that they deliberately choose some loopy and irritating candidates so as to stir up some drama during the shows --- if they were all just brilliant and perfectly behaved, it might be less interesting ! Funny thing, too, Mark Burnett who produces the show, says they interviewed 50,000 applicants. Trump says 250,000 which would be impossible to manage.
Sam sounds fishy to me, and I suspect he got booted from his last real job or two ( the info they provide us with isn't clear about why many of these guys actually left the jobs they were in and had the time to take part --- though watch my space, as I've got a load of extra material on all of them, to be added to my atricles on The Apprentice soon ). I get a feeling that the Newsletter company Sam says he runs, was set up with Mom and Dad's money, because nobody else would hire little Sammy !
As you say, those sort of guys can interview brilliantly, IF you ask only the routine questions, for which they've prepared marvellous answers. I find it helps to (a) ask unusual, even outrageous questions, and see what they can do with them, and (b) look for areas in the CV where they seem to be evasive or cloudy, or where something they say in the interview doesn't match what they said in the CV.
If you're really sneaky, sometimes it can be very productive to watch and listen to them in the waiting room, even if you sit among them as if you're the last candidate on the interview list. You can learn a lot !
Sometimes if you ask the right question, they answer directly and without thinking. I never forget when I worked in Canada, I was interviewing candidates for medical School, and they were fascinating people who'd done all sorts of things before this. One said he'd been working for a construction company, doing testing on the materials they used, like cement, to check that these met safety standards.
Thinking I'd check his ethical ideas, I said :" Just an imaginary question, but what would you have done if they had asked you to fake the results --- to misrepresent substandard and dangerous material as actually safe and OK ?"
Cheerfully, he said; "Right ! Actually, that's exactly what they DID do !" "And what did you do ? " "Exactly what they asked --- I gave them what they wanted, and got a great bonus that year !". And he didn't seem bothered about it.
I had only one last question : "And was your compnay involved in any way in the construction of this building we're sitting in ?" Fortunately, the answer to that one was "No". Oh, and I refused to have him admitted to medical school.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mona | 2004/11/12

Ahhh, now you've made me blush! Thanx!

Reply to Mona
Posted by: Oi | 2004/11/11

Whoa, Mona.
Great advice!!
What a stunner, I'm sure LOTS of people can use this gem of wisdom. I'm impressed.

Reply to Oi
Posted by: Kernel | 2004/11/11

Yes - most big companies make use of psychometric tests. You would be amazed to see what they can find out about your character and profile from interpreting the results and how accurate it is.

Reply to Kernel
Posted by: Mona | 2004/11/11

Sounds just like my ex husband!!!!

When interviewing:
Ask reasons for leaving previsous positions. Beware of reasons that doesnt make sense, or "sour grapes" reasons. Check references.
Take note of the date a person was employed, and gaps in between that are unaccounted for.
Ask questions like "Can you give me an example of a situation / confrontation you had with client / collegue, how did you react? What was the outcome?"
"Can you give me an example of when you lost your temper, how did you react? What was the outcome?"

Suppose it will help a bit.....

Reply to Mona

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