A few days ago, my phone rang. On the other end was someone who wanted to interview me for a job for which I had applied. She wanted to interview me right then and there over the phone. Easy enough.
A few days later, I received a second call. I had made it to the second round of interviews. Would I come in a for a group interview? Not so easy, but sure.
On Friday, I arrived at my appointed interview time only to see the unexpected. I expected to find what I've found at other job interviews. I expected a committee of dour-faced academic-types to be waiting to make my next hour miserable. I expected that each committee member would ask me a question and then look as though he/she was experiencing tremendous gas pains as I answered.
No so at this latest interview.
Their definition of group interview was to interview all six job candidates at once. Together. In the same room. We all looked each other over. Exchanged astonished grimaces. And awaited our group interview.
The rules of engagement were this:
On the table before each of us, was a paper with 5 questions. One of the two interviewers read the first question, the second interviewer started her stopwatch, and we - as a group - had 10 minutes to answer the question orally.
You read that right. Six people, each one hoping to impress, had to group answer very complex questions in 10 minutes.
The first question was read. We were given a minute to think, and then an interviewer said, "START!"
Everyone sat there in silence looking confusing, dumbfounded, and highly annoyed, so I started to talk. Yeah for me!!
By the second question, our 10 minutes ran out before one man even had a chance to attempt to join the conversation. One interviewer did have enough grace to allow him to speak anyway.
It was a crazy interview.
And I liked it very much. I liked how nervous others were. I liked being able to piggyback on comments the others made. I liked how we all took cues from each other such as refering to the other interviewees by name and trying to mention our work experience while not chewing up too much of the group time.
But that part of timing the answers and calling, "Time!"? Please.
When I am in charge of the world, that's one of the first things I'm going to fix!