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Hip and Cool or Dangerous and Illegal?

September 9, 2014

I recently came across an article in Inc. Magazine that highlighted the efforts of a rapidly growing software company to create a “cool” and attractive culture. In fact, the company is indeed doing some pretty cool things to make employees feel happy and empowered.

They are committed to flexible work hours and encouraged to work from home at least once per month. Employees also get unlimited time off after the first year! The company even keeps a cold keg of beer on tap for happy hours, and provides free cab rides home if necessary. Wow, sign me up! On top of all that they use their own technology to create apps to:

  • Set work and life goals
  • Suggest goals for the company
  • Generate culture related interview questions

Wait a minute, huh? What type of culture related interview questions? I decided to click on a few links and see for myself and here are some of the examples:Choosing_the_Right_Person

  • So, John, what’s your story?
  • What makes you weird?
  • What’s your spirit animal?
  • What’s your superpower?
  • Who is your role model and why?

I have to say that I scratched my head a bit on these questions. How do they relate to any job that may be of interest to me? Except saving the world of course. The more I thought about it, I realized that they don't really relate to any job! That’s not the only problem though. Interviewers in this company are using an app that encourages them to ask different questions to different candidates and that becomes a legal problem. An interview, in and of itself, is a test. Any test used in the selection of employees is bound by the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), if they are a federal contractor.

From a legal and predictive standpoint, all companies should consider the following best practices:

  • Utilize a structured interview guide with standard scoring
  • Ask every candidate the same questions
  • Utilize behaviorally based questions (after all, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior)
  • Train hiring managers in behaviorally based interviewing

Now that I thought about those questions from “the app” a little bit more. I think I do have an answer. Here’s my story…

When I was in high school I was a bit of a science nerd. I could barely look at a girl let alone speak to one. I was considered very weird though because I was able to look at girls through the lens of a camera. That all changed one day when I was bitten by a spider, my spirit animal. What I didn’t know is that it was radioactive and gave me my superpowers!  I am now able to climb walls and have super strength. I also have this crazy heightened sense of awareness that makes me very sensitive to sounds and movement. At first I used these powers a bit carelessly, but thanks to my Uncle (and role Model) Ben Parker, I now use them with great discretion and only for good. He taught me that with great powers come great responsibility! 

So, do I get the job?

Importance of Training Interviewers

John Mirtich John Mirtich is a Senior Consultant and Business Development Manager based in the Cleveland office of PSI. After joining PSI, he honed his I/O skills by implementing entry-level selection systems, designing leadership development programs and managing the executive assessment process.