Lights! Camera! Questions! Welcome to quite possibly the world’s most eccentric job interview ever. In what can be likened to a David Blaine stunt, one recruiter ramped up the pressure on candidates by interviewing prospective new employees in a glass box in the middle of the Rockefeller Center, New York.
Head of Executive Search firm ABS Staffing Ariel Schur, interviewed her potential employees amongst crowds of bewildered onlookers, who were able to hear every word of the exchange over speakers. The process was also filmed live for CNBC’s new reality show The Job Interview which examines the stressful nature of job interviews.
Although far from the most conventional setting for a job interview, the candidates managed to handle the pressure very well. One interviewee, Lauren Sham, said of the experience: ‘I had people bang on the door and throwing cashews at the window! I just ignored it.’
‘It was technically not a job interview, but an interview with a New York City-based company in 1997 to discuss a potential joint venture/acquisition. For the meeting, our team flew out to meet the CEO of the NYC company, along with some of his top brass. As it went along, the CEO of the NYC company grew increasingly more passionate and began pacing around the room and excitedly writing on his whiteboard. After about 30 minutes of pacing, the CEO just took off his trousers and conducted the rest of the meeting in his boxer shorts. He never said anything about it, nor did anyone on his team, as he just continued to pace around the office in his underwear and answer questions. Eventually, he got called out of the office and we asked his second-in-command why he took his trousers off. The second-in-command just shrugged and said that the CEO’s trousers make a “schoop-schoop” noise when he walks and it drives him crazy, so he has to take them off after awhile.’ Stan Hanks
The earth moved
‘In the 1980s, I interviewed at a 300-employee Silicon Valley company run by a CEO with a military background. During our interview in his office, a rather severe earthquake began, but the CEO never acknowledged it. All the other employees evacuated the building, leaving just the two of us in the office with books flying off bookcases, lights flickering, the whole nine yards. The CEO never flinched. So, neither did I. A half-hour later the shaking stopped, the people came back into the office and our interview ended, with neither of us ever mentioning that we just sat through a seismic event. A few days later, the CEO offered me the job. I have to think part of it was because of my ability to handle pressure.’ Leo Ballentine
‘The first interview was strange; hours long, never looked at my resume, and ended with a meal at a Mexican restaurant and drinks. But, it ended cordially enough. The second interview was the truly weird one. He picked me up in a sports car with a cooler full of beers. Drove me to some random hill hours away in another state to hike. Halfway into the hike, he found a heart-shaped rock, gave it to me, looked over the horizon and told me “this all could be mine.” Not just the job, but his hand in marriage – after a reasonable dating period, of course. I said I’d think about it. The next day he called me and asked me what I thought. I told him it wasn’t the right opportunity. “For the job or the relationship?” he asked. “Both,” I said. Last time I ever talked with him.’ Leitha Matz
The mother of all meetings
‘In 2008, I had to hire a large team of analysts quickly, so I conducted a fair share of interviews in a short period of time. The one that stuck out though was the one where the candidate barely said a word. Instead, her mother did all the talking. The candidate showed up to the meeting with her mother. I figured the mother was just going to sit in the lobby, but she demanded to be part of the interview. We went into my office and, instead of me asking the candidate questions, it quickly turned into the candidate’s mother making demands. Like demanding two rooms whenever the candidate was to travel, so she could go too. Or for the company to let the candidate come in late on Mondays, so she could go to religious classes on Sunday. After 30 minutes, I concluded the meeting and thanked the two for their time. Only then did I hear the candidate speak – she thanked me for the time – and the two left, never to be heard from again.’ Bennett McEwan