As the economy teeters back from it’s near seven-year dance of riding on a single rail companies are once again starting to hire. And with so many eager participants to no longer be underemployed, HR departments are barely treading water above a deluge of applications. This perfect storm has given birth to the unhallowed beastie of employment-seeking, the kraken of job-getting: the group interview.
In the wide and awkward world of acutely uncomfortable moments that is attaining employment, there is almost no greater circus of discomfort than the group interview. A small rabble of people somehow desperate enough to trade more of their time for the opportunity to get an opportunity for employment. In the age of reality television it would seem more appropriate for the interviewer to just hand out a couple of roses for whoever made it through round one. It wouldn’t be so depressing if the welfare of so many people didn’t hang in the balance.
If you somehow find yourself unwittingly in one of these shooting galleries keep a few things in mind to not only land the job, but save your sanity:
- Don’t ever go without some chemical already in your system. Imagine having to jump into a pack of dogs all springing on a bit of meat at the same time, but now exchange the potential for bodily injury for ruining self-respect. It’s too much to handle completely sober. Caffeine, Adderall, alcohol, MDMA, LSD, etc. All can potentially help you both enjoy your ridiculous experience and give you a ready-made excuses if lady luck happens to lie with someone else (or that person is already laying with the HR manager). Be reasonable, one puff of an illicit herb to help you calm down and be humorously aloof is one thing, dropping serious ludes is another. Don’t be an idiot; you don’t want to be the person who’s ended up at the group interview because of his behavior.
- Find your competition, take her down. Dismissive eye-rolls and sardonic scoffs will accomplish this. Wait until the lopsided and unnatural pressure of a group interview eventually get to her, then make eye-contact with the HR person with a look that says “is this girl serious right now?” Promove: sit and make encouraging and positive nonverbals to her when she’s really into something that sounds dumb and let her hoist herself by her own petard. Bonus points if you end up making your competition have a panic attack mid-interview.
- Don’t say anything stupid. Come with one or two good solid statements full of buzzwords already in your holster. When it comes time for you to answer something, make sure those answers are short and sweet, and loaded with whatever jargon is occurring most on Business Insider. “I think customer service is about creating unique brand experiences that satisfies a customer’s goals within the corporate mission.” Give yourself a gold star if the HR person nods enthusiastically when you drop a meaningless term like “brand goals,” “market expansion,” or “multi-channel.”
- Don’t be honest, that’ll just be shooting yourself in the foot. Tell the interviewer what she wants to hear. “I can definitely see myself going the extra mile for this job position,” is a fine answer without the truthful “That’s why I’m putting up with bullshit like this,” after it.
- Make everyone laugh. Unless the HR person is a sociopath then literally no one wants to be there. Jokes to omit: dead baby.
- Don’t think about how demeaning it is. Just like walking a tightrope between two buildings, looking down at what you’re doing is just going to make you go mad; like staring into the void. Keep your eyes up at the other side of this absurd scenario and you’ll be alright, and this’ll become a memory just like the time you contacted that escort service on your last business trip; simply a crazy thing you did once when you were desperate.
- Don’t fart. Ever.
So there you have it. You’ve successfully spent an hour of your life participating in theater of the absurd. One camera in the room and it’d have been a TLC series. Hopefully you’ve had a few laughs and preserved your self esteem. Now please, go to the nearest public house and get something strong to help you laugh it off.