How Do They Handle Unpredictability?

Tough job interview

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Day-to-day business life can often be very hectic. We’d like to have things orderly and predictable, but it’s just not always going to be that way.

The famous heavyweight boxer, Mike Tyson, once said, “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.”

Well, business life tends to punch us in the mouth every so often. Some of us can handle that very well, others not so much.

So, let’s find out how a candidate might deal with uncertainty or unpredictability or even getting punched in the mouth.

Start the Interview 30 Minutes Late

Then ask the applicant why he’s 30 minutes late?

Okay, I even winced a bit writing that, but you’ll get an immediate idea of how your applicant handles opposition or a challenge.

Will the applicant buckle and, to keep the peace, say, “Oh, sorry for being late.”

Or will he hold to his notion that he was on time and you’re late.

Will he get flustered, even a bit upset?

Whatever happens, you’ve thrown a curve his way and you’re getting a first hand look at how he handles it.

Ask Her the Same Question Over and Over

Again, I’m wincing (come on, I am human), but this is another example of deliberately trying to fluster our applicant.

Here’s an example:

You ask Carol to tell you about her last employment. Carol gives you a good report on that. You move on to a few other parts of the interview and then ask, “Okay, Carol, why don’t you tell me about your last employment?”

Again, you discuss other aspects of the job interview and then, “Carol, tell me about your last employment.”

Now, that’s the third time asking about her last employment. The second time, she probably thinks that you forgot that you already asked or perhaps you want to know more about that time period, but a third time? What gives?

Do we dare and go for a fourth time?

I’ll leave it to you, but you get the idea. We’re challenging Carol’s poise, and we want to see how she responds.

Will she keep her cool and answer professionally?

Or will we see something less than professional.

Challenge Her Answers

This is probably one of the toughest hiring tips I’ve written. By now, I’m sure you understand why.

We’ll stay with Carol on this.

Carol tells you that she’s very skilled at handling a management position. She feels she has excellent leadership qualities.

Your response could be:

“I don’t think that’s true.”

And then say nothing. Wait until Carol responds.

She’ll likely ask you why you feel that way.

You could say, “Well, I just don’t sense you’re telling me the truth.”

I won’t begin to tell you what may happen next, but be prepared for just about anything.

And of course, be sure to keep your cool all the way through this kind of interview.

Life in the business world can move along smoothly until a customer comes up to us and calls us a liar or demands their money back right now, right now or yells at us in front of five other customers.

Or a supplier tells us they can’t deliver that item you urgently needed this morning until you pay your bill and you know the bill is fully paid. The supplier has got to hang up now and attend his daughter’s wedding, so you won’t be able to supply the evidence that the bill is paid until after the wedding and the reception! Way too late for you.

When these circumstances punch us in the mouth, we’ve got to have staff who can calmly and effectively do what’s needed.

If you’re hiring for a position that requires considerable poise in the face of daily challenges, you might consider this tip during the hiring interview. It will likely not be a boring interview.



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About Stan Dubin