No no, no no, no no, no no, no no, no no – there’s no limit!

It seems that employers are thinking up wackier and wackier selection activities. The BBC recently reported that Currys made candidates dance in front of a group of people. The Mail Online wrote about LG in Chile who supposedly mocked up a window that was actually a TV. It then filmed the candidates’ reactions when a meteor could be seen out of the ‘window’ destroying the city. HR Grapevine also wrote about how Heineken created an ‘insane experience’ when interviewees had to deal with the interviewer collapsing, a fire alarm and a man threatening to jump off the roof!

I myself have experienced the weirder side of recruitment when on arrival at an assessment day we were told we had a couple of minutes to prepare to sing our favourite song in front of the other candidates! My mind went blank and the only song I could remember the words to was a Britney Spears song, which I didn’t think was appropriate in generating a professional image! Luckily we were put out of our misery and told that we didn’t actually have to sing – it was just a test to see who would rise to the challenge.

So why do companies do this kind of thing?

Employers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to test the skills and personal attributes of applicants. Some feel that these challenges weed out the weaker candidates by seeing how people react in difficult circumstances. Some however, believe that these types of activities are cruel to candidates and go well above acceptable limits. The Mail Online reports that Currys has since apologised for making its candidates dance and is not using this activity any longer.

What can you do if faced with a situation like this?

  • Try to stay calm on the outside (even if you aren’t on the inside!).
  • Think about what the company might be trying to assess, based on the requirements of the job, and think about how you can show those attributes.
  • Then just give it your best shot! Remember everyone will be in the same boat.

The other thing to remember is that an interview or assessment centre is a two-way process.

They are for you to find out if you would like the company, as well as for the company to assess your suitability for a role. A company’s recruitment procedures will give you an idea about the company culture. If it’s a culture you don’t think would suit you, then you don’t have to take the job. I was offered the job where we were asked to sing at the assessment centre, but having spent a day seeing how the company worked, I realised the job was not for me and I politely declined their offer.

So you can always say no no, no no, no no…


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