Press & Media

A New “Mean Mind” Game for Job Interview


Where do you usually conduct your job interview? In a cafe or office?

How do you usually do the interview? By following the conventional activities such as introduction, question and answer, then conclusion, or initiating the interview with a game?

Have you heard about ‘mean mind’ game for job interview?

Karla L. Miller in The Seattle Times article showed a new way on how to do an interview. This game was first proposed by Walt Bettinger, president & CEO at Charles Schwab. Bettinger cited that he did the game to have authentic, transparent, and vulnerable interview process. However, Bettinger claimed that he only used the game twice in 35 years.  

The technique of this new game is to take candidate for a lunch or breakfast, while recruiter ask waiters to serve interviewee in a mess up order. This, intentionally, can help recruiter see candidate’s true nature on how they handle unpleasant situation. Miller said that Bettinger “would privately set up the ‘mistake’ in advance with the restaurant manager as a way to test ‘how (candidates) deal with adversity. Are they upset, are they frustrated or are they understanding?”

See also: Simple Reasons Why Candidates Reject Your Job Offers

However, this new interview game gets negative response from many individuals. Some say that this is a power-trippy game about enlisting a server and a job seeker in a mind game they did not sign up for. The situation could be easy to handle if it is not harmful. However, candidates who has allergies to certain food will surely find it difficult to respond to sabotaged meals, argued one respondent.

Moreover, this interview technique can somehow be harmful for either candidate or company. For example, if candidates find out about the set up situation, they might spread it mouth to mouth about how the recruiter conducts the pre-employment. This, somehow, can give bad reputation to company. So, it is more like anecdote than advice for recruiter, said Miller.

If you truly want to see candidate’s true character, looking at their references is enough. Miller also suggested that you can bring candidate to meet some of your colleagues during interview to see how he or she react to new people. Usually, by introducing candidate to a more diverse group, you can identify their characteristics. Does he give respect? Does he do well in the discussion? What is his response during the introduction? What about his gesture? These kind of questions can lead you to a conclusion on your candidate’s true character.

To conclude, this interview game might be unacceptable for some individuals. Therefore, you should consider whether to apply it to your next candidate or not. Additionally, if you really want to know candidates’ true colour, you can apply Miller suggestion or put the hired candidates in an internship as a trial. Yet, if you are still keen to try the game, you can set a “lunch meeting, on rainy Saturday, at a children’s themed restaurant,” Miller suggested. Do you still dare to try?

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