You’re Hired! Or… Why I’ll Never Be Hired

Job interviews are the worst; while they are a place of potential prospering, they end up turning into a sort of audition, where you better have your lines ready. I’ve heard people be asked questions like: “when is one time you went above and beyond at work?” and “what does integrity mean to you?”. Both of these are questions anyone would want know about a potential employee, but asking them seems to highlight a different skill entirely.

I assume that employers looking for new employees through a list of applicants must find the balance between a good-looking résumé and a good interview. A résumé shows the experiences that you’ve had, building a portrait of your capabilities, and giving references to people who can account that you are indeed a good employee. This is of course an easily manipulated experience–anybody can look good on paper. To combat this, interviews are conducted in order to see if the face actually matches what is on the paper, attempting to figure out just who this person is and whether they are suited for the job.

These interviews at times seem biased towards a certain type of person, one that does is not necessarily more capable of performing the tasks required of the job. The interviewer asks questions that are largely unknown to the interviewee (I suppose the “what’s your biggest strength/biggest weakness” are a given) from which they then must improvise an answer to convince the other they are worthy of the job. The thing that this actually feels most akin to is a performance–here’s me at my most energetic and smiley, trying to seem like I can give a good definition of integrity because apparently this is integral to my get hired (see what I did there?).

I know that for me personally, this is not a place where I excel. I’m not good at trying to convince others that I’m worthy of something. I need like five minutes to prepare what I’m going to say before I actually say it and when I do say it, it will only end up being like one minute (when we do group prayers at church, I have to plan ahead every single thing I’m going to say, because I can’t come up with it on the fly). There is a disadvantage going into interviews when you don’t naturally speak or converse well.

Susan Cain has a TED Talk based on her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking, in it she advocates for a world that adapts to people’s strengths rather than forcing a certain mold onto all people. The larger systems are designed to benefit certain kinds of people, while others are left by the wayside. My personal experience has seemed to be that charm is a necessary ingredient to success, at least when it comes to job acquisition.

I do suppose that it is difficult to determine good questions to ask when it comes to hiring somebody. Certain questions will be able to suss out past experiences the potential employee has had doing that kind of work and this is surely helpful. Others will show what kind of a person they are, their desires and personality inclinations. Yet open ended questions naturally fall back to the charm of the person and their ability to say something coherent.

Obviously some interviews and hiring processes do quite a lot to weed out people and to find a perfect fit for their job. Multiple interviews probably help to paint a larger picture of a person and references help to give an outsider perspective. There are jobs that need people to be personable and outgoing, so of course this should be a part of that process. People should also probably be able to state what skills they have to fit specific positions. In any case, résumés and interviews feel like an insufficient way of measuring a person’s hiring worth–I’m sure some people have complex processes that determine people that would fit well in their company, but at this point the application process continues to feel like an extrovert’s paradise.

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