Home‎ > ‎General Articles‎ > ‎

Interview techniques

"Past (X) is a strong indicator of of future (X)"  

x = Performance?     No that doesn't work (see article at bottom of page) 
x = behaviour?         Behaviour at 4 an indicator of behaviour at 44 perhaps?  

What is meant by past and future?  What is meant by 'strong'? What is meant by indicator? 
Note there is no quantification in case it does not work - a bit like Astrology. 

Recently, Currys, the electrical retailer gained terrible publicity, when a set of management trainee applicants at their interview were asked to dance to some music. The HR people sat there laughing at the applicants humiliation. This was duly reported, much to the embarrassment of the company, who were forced to issue a public apology and a promise to modify their interviewing techniques.    

Its all Rubbish !

Over the last ten years, it seems that increasingly organisations have been "sold" a lot of Psychology based techniques and assessments for selecting staff. 

Its complete non-sense since it is not based upon any scientific or validated principles. Psychology is a Pseudo science (though they desperately pretend it is not) at about the same level as astrology and is studied by those of low ability who are unable to do a hard subject like Maths, Physics or Engineering.

Some Examples

1)   Some years ago I went to offer my highly skilled abilities and practical capabilities to the VSO organisation. A volunteer organisation in which you offer your time for free for service overseas. 

I had to attend an assessment day in which attendees were given silly exercises like: here are some old newspapers, cut them up to to make scrap pads. You have 2 minutes to discuss what you are going to do and then ten minutes to make pads. 

Around the room there were young girls with clip boards observing us. We spent the whole day doing things like this and then at the end we were asked "What have you learned today?" I replied "Not a F***ing thing, its been a complete waste of my time"! 

This was not the right answer, and I was denied the chance of working for free

2) I was called to go for an interview at the Sellafield Nuclear site. I was told I had to attend an assessment centre to take tests. I was sent an example. 

It was like a comprehension test that you would give a primary school child : " Bill and Mary went for a walk and climbed the hill.  Mary picked some flowers. On they way down, Bill slipped and broke his crown. i) What did Bill and Mary do? ii) What happened to Bill on the way home? ... etc. 

I wrote back and told them I passed my primary school exam years ago and would not be attending. 

3) Recently someone I know had to go for a lectureship interview. 

This person, an Electrical Engineer with a PhD and 30 years experience as an engineer, lecturer and researcher, with many papers published, likewise had to do selection tests, including a "maths test". 

The level of the questions were as follows: a) find 10% of 35  b) A man goes into shop and spends £5.80, how much change will he get from a ten pound note. 

4)  Recently I gave my CV to a friend working on contract  at Ultra Electronics. He passed it on to managers, thus shorting out Agencies and HR. 

Immediately they wanted to interview me having read my CV. Next, I was contacted by an "HR assistant" to arrange a time etc. Then next day I received an email saying I had to log on to a web site to take a test, and on the morning of the interview I would have to take a Psychometric test. 

The external Canadian Psyco-babble company involved was McQuaid of Toronto. I replied saying I would not be attending and do not take psyco tests.  

Another lost opportunity. My friend told me that the Managers concerned were very disappointed. see letter below.
5) Just recently I applied for a job as a "driver and resort assistant", there are many advertised on the "Natives" web site, for many different companies, in a ski resort over the winter season.  

I was invited for an interview by one company - probably because the usual kids they employ at extremely low rates, are too expensive to insure to drive their vehicles. Also I have plenty of experience driving in winter conditions abroad.

However, I was very wary, and emailed them to say I would not do CBI,  role playing, written assessments, or any testing. They called me to play things down and reassure me, so against my better judgement I attended.  

We were divided into groups on tables and had to introduce ourselves. We were then given a scored set of questions - in my case about driving rules in Europe. Finally we had "tasks" to do - in my case I had to talk for two minutes on something I felt passionate about ?? So I spoke about my past flying hobby - I thought it the least controversial.

A week later I was told I had failed the interview. Apparently:

i) I should not have left the table later in the proceedings as a young 18 year old (the last one of the group) was talking about himself as piece of rope! - to have a chat to the other candidates being sociable. Others on the table had also done so. ii) When asked why I was applying for the job, I replied as a source of income. ?? Perhaps they expected me to work for free?

Now can anyone tell me: 

i) how this is a detriment to being a good driver with 40 years experience in the USA, Italy, Holland Germany, and who as a mature person would have no problem at rising at 6 am (unlike younger people)

ii) how replying that my reason was to earn a living and not just go there for the skiing

iii) what in hells name has talking for two minutes on something I feel passionate about, got to do with being a conscientious driver with a pleasant personality? 

The people interviewing us were young people full of tattoos. In my opinion, tattoos and body piercings are deliberate disfigurement, possibly due to self harming, delayed adolescence or mental instability. There are many scientific papers published on this topic [1] [2]. But I stress this is my personal opinion. The people involved had obviously been indoctrinated with their interview techniques. Many companies insist now on no tattoos and body piercings for their staff. However some would say possibly people with these disfigurements are cheap to hire.

Still it was interesting and has now further confirmed the nonsense involved in these protocols. This shall certainly be the last one I attend and I will amend my CV's accordingly.

Mature and experienced people I have spoken to, who were educated in an era of high standards, agree with me.   

[1] Anderson, M. & Sansone, R.A. (2003). Tattooing as a means of acute affect regulation. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 10, 316-318.

[2] Adolescent and Young Adult Tattooing, Piercing, and Scarification
Cora C. Breuner, David A. Levine,
September 2017 From the American Academy of Paediatrics Clinical Report
Philip Robinson,
6 Dec 2013, 07:59
Philip Robinson,
12 Jan 2012, 03:28