Recently there has been a lot of press given to unique interview tactics such as Barstool Sports CEO, Erika Nardini, texting candidates outstide of standard business hours to see how fast they respond or Vena Solutions CEO, Don Mal, asking if you’d leave your family at Disneyland to do something that was really important for the company. These questions have sparked tons of debates and have candidates panicking about the right responses to these tactics. What do these questions mean? What are the right answers? Are there right answers? Well, that depends.
Why are interviewers choosing these sort of tactics? First, it’s important to remember that these tactics are out of ordinary or they wouldn’t be making the news. Most employers are not dreaming up tactics to scare you or trick you in to stumbling during the interview so relax. Yes, now that these tactics are getting attention some employers will start to use them but it won’t be anywhere near the majority of employers. However, it’s important to be prepared for these and other out of the norm interviews when you experience them.
How you respond depends on a variety of things including the industry you’re in, your chosen profession in that industry, and your personal circumstances. Industries such as IT, healthcare, government, communications, and public relations often require immediate action from employees as someone’s life or the life of the organization might be in danger without immediate response. If you’re a heart surgeon and say you won’t leave Disneyland to help save a patient’s life, that’s likely an interview killer. If you’re a public relations manager who refuses to monitor social media and respond to customer concerns outside of your 8-5 work day, you can likely kiss the offer goodbye. However if you’re not in an industry that requires immediate action, these tactics could be considered unrealistic and can certainly be a sign of employers who have unrealistic expectations.
Your personal circumstances will also play a large role in how you respond to interview tactics such as these. Do you have a personal relationship that prioritizes work first? If so, this type of an employer could be a great fit for you. If prioritizing the care of an elderly parent or young child comes first in this phase of your life, this type of employer is not going to be a great fit. Perhaps you’re without any personal attachments and thrive in a high demand work environment. If so, these employers will be perfect. The key is to be honest with yourself and with your employer. You can only do that if you’ve had an honest conversation with those important to you and are clear about your own personal boundaries.
Remember that interview tactics such as these not only test the candidates, they test the employers too. Tactics like these are a great way to help you determine if this employer is someone shares your values and priorities. There are no right or wrong answers and we should be slow to judge both interviewers and interviewees. Instead, see this as an exceptional chance to evaluate whether this opportunity is right for you.