What we shouldn't be asking Hunt and Johnson
PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 June 2019
As Conservative Party members decide who will be the next Prime Minister, we look at the perils of the job interview.
There are job adverts... and then there are job adverts.
In the light of a notable vacancy that has recently come up, I am reminded of the film musical of Mary Poppins. Not, I hasten to add, because there is any similarity between the two remaining candidates for the Conservative Party leadership (also Prime Minister) and Mary Poppins but because the needs of those who will make the decision on who gets the job may not be the same as those who are affected by the incumbent.
In the case of Jane and Michael Banks, their requirements in a new nanny (having seen off a number of previous nannies) were not the same as their father's. He was looking for someone who could exert discipline whereas his children, as detailed in a song were after someone quite different:
If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts; play games, all sorts
You must be kind, you must be witty; very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats; sing songs, bring sweets
As job ads go, it is fairly specific and it turned out well for the entire Banks' family. Mary Poppins was firm but fair and, of course, quite magical.
The job of Prime Minister/Conservative Party leader is a serious role - of course it is and no one is quite sure how seriously it is being taken.
If you want this choice position, have a strong leave disposition
Rosy views, less tax, no games, hard facts
You must swing right, you must be Tory, tell a good, convincing story
Take us to Brexit, get us out; no deal, no doubt.
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Job interviews can be harrowing, especially when the entire population is watching you go through the recruitment process.
In my case, the worst interview was when, at the end of a half-hour interrogation, I said a confident "thank you" and walked out of the room... leaving my handbag behind. I had to scuttle back and apologise. I didn't get the job, needless to say.
Then there are the interviews where you get asked ridiculous questions (not about domestic rows) and asked to do strange things (apart from answer questions using relevant facts). Here are some nightmare job interviews people have faced, according to responses on Reddit. I would hope the Conservative Party members will not be taking inspiration from any of the below when questioning Messrs Hunt and Johnson.
- One person was inteviewed for the post of receptionist at a tattoo shop. "Showed up in a full suit while the interviewer was in (denim shorts) and a tank top. We sat on big inflatable exercise balls in a small room and he asked me... random questions I wasn't prepared for (such as) 'What's your spirit animal?' 'Tell me the dirtiest joke you know?'
It seems the candidates for Conservative leader have already run the gauntlet of unsuitable seating - the bar stools in the BBC forum. Fortunately they did not tell jokes... I think.
- "Interviewer asked if I was a 'Type A personality.' I said yes having no idea what a 'Type A' personality was. He asked me to describe why I was a 'Type A' personality. Fumbled through my answer and he replied, 'You don't have a Type A personality' and got up and walked out."
- This person was interviewed for a waitressing job by the café owner. "We sat down and I started talking about my previous waitressing experience, when he stopped me and asked what my favourite animal was. I paused and said 'I like pigs.'... 'And what is your favorite color?' '...Blue.'" This was the end of the interview.
One interviewer quoted on recruitingdaily.com related the time she asked a candidate: WHat makes you unique?" To which the male applicant replied: "I have a hairy chest."
Questions highlighted as not useful to ask in an interview, according to fitsmallbusiness.com include:
"If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?"
"What would your worst enemy say about you?" (I think we already know this in the case of Hunt and Johnson!)
"Describe how to wash a car." (This was asked in an interview for an engineering post.)
"If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?"
Then there are the job ads that cause a double-take.
"A volunteer is wanted to work as a scarecrow in a field near Didcot (weekends only). No previous experience is needed as full training will be given. Must be able to stand up for several hours without a break, and have no fear of birds. No time wasters please."
"Wanted: Grape Stompers. Must Have Good Balance and Large Feet. Skinny Folk need not apply.