Another Thursday in August, another Office rerun. Rather than revisit “The Inner Circle” — ably covered by my Colorado colleague Matt Rita on May 6 — I thought I’d visit The Office website for some ideas. I came across a multiple-choice quiz designed to determine whether you have what it takes to be the boss of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre’s Scranton branch. Check it out, and take it for yourself.
The quiz is, of course, replete with humorous answers you can choose, to questions that you might actually hear (or pose) during an actual interview (well, some of them at least). One of my favorites is in response to the question about how to best handle interpersonal conflicts within the office: “One word: Thunderdome.” Kudos to the creators of the quiz, as the response you get at the end does seem to vary based on the types of answers you provide. (I took the quiz a couple of times just to check.)
As silly as it is, the quiz got me thinking about the interview process, and how difficult it is, for all concerned, to really find out whether a particular candidate for a particular position at a particular company will be a good fit. Both the candidate and the firm are putting their best face on, and it’s hard to successfully delve into potential shortcomings during the process. What can you do? Well, don’t rely on the stock questions (or answers), like the ones in the quiz. Try to get the other person talking, even if it is about something not directly related to the position, to break the ice; then bring the conversation back to the job and its requirements. To that end, ask open-ended questions, perhaps based on something in the “activities and interests” section of the candidate’s resume (if you’re doing the hiring) or something from the firm’s website or the interviewer’s office (if you’re the one seeking the job). It’s tough out there right now, with both parties wanting to find a match that works. And, at the end of the day, if you’re torn between two candidates, I have one word for you: Thunderdome.