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Sell Me This Pen...

The sweet spot of interviewing is between being boring and stupid.

Take the old sales interview exercise, "Sell me this pen."  Has there ever been an exercise that is more ignorant?  I know what you're going to say - "Kris, it's really all about probing for needs, selling features and asking for the close."

You're a moron.  Unless you're a subscriber to the blog, then you're simply misinformed. Sell me this pen

Let's flip it around.  Have you ever heard anyone that was interviewing an HR Manager candidate bring someone on the HR team in and say, "Fire this person"?

No? Because it doesn't work.  There's too much context you don't have to fire the person in front of you.  Now I can judge you on style, acting ability and moxie related to how you fired the fake employee, but it's really just acting. It doesn't tell me squat about how you'll perform in real life.

"Sell me this pen" is the stupid side of interviewing.  Trickery. 

Of course, I still give the "sell me this pen" crowd credit for mixing it up.  It's stupid, but not boring. And god knows there are many boring interviewers out there for sure.  

Play it straight. Don't take chances. 

What's the middle ground?  If you want to get into simulations, do a simulation.  Get an inbox exercise going where someone has to create work product for you and present it. Pay them for their time.  Give them 2-3 hours to produce work product that's meaningful, then have them present.

That's the sweet spot between boring and stupid when it comes to your selection process.




Totally agree. I once interviewed with this guy who was famous for his idiotic questions. "If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?" Ugh.

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