Bring movie popcorn to your next job interview because it’s getting crazy in the world of employment.
There is an art to resume writing and interviewing, but there is also a lot of gameplay in getting a job. You first have to beat the ATS and get in the door. Once you land an interview, you have to jump through hoops in face-to-face games.
In writing resumes for clients, I’ve heard amazing and insane stories about hiring managers. There are some strange developments in the interview process. Applicants now have to be prepared for the most challenging interviews from guessing their own salary to detailing their worst qualities.
If you’re applying for jobs and getting called for interviews, be prepared for the best and the worst in hiring managers.
Top 12 Hiring Manager Movie Types
- Snow White and the Seven Salaries: The hiring manager who makes you guess at the company’s budget for the salary. “What is your salary history and how much do you want to be paid?” This is becoming the norm in the interview process. If you suggest an amount too low, you will be underpaid and possibly won’t be able to pay your bills. If you suggest an amount too high, you won’t get the job. Aim to apply to businesses that have an actual budget already set for the position. So when you walk through the door, you know the salary range up front. Remember: asking about your salary history is illegal in Massachusetts and soon other states may adopt similar legislation.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: The hiring manager bad-mouths the workplace, the owner, and the employees during the first interview. Run.
- Rear Window: Several candidates are looking over your shoulder because the hiring manager has five candidates waiting together in the lobby for the same job. Why? The hiring manager does not value your time or the job you’re going to be doing. The pay is going to be low and respect for your work even lower. Run.
- Pulp Fiction: There is no real job offer, but the hiring manager needs ideas how to do his/her own job. How would you handle x, y, and z? How would you handle our marketing? How do you currently make a profit? I need your feedback on our website and financials. Don’t give away too much information in the interview. If they really want to know how to do their job, they should hire you. Run.
- It’s a Wonderful Life: The hiring manager tells you how perfect the workplace is with life/work balance but Glassdoor tells a very different story from anonymous employees. Do your homework on Glassdoor before applying for any job. There is a degree of dysfunction in every workplace. Be prepared for less than a wonderful life.
- Schindler’s List: The hiring manager exposes the firing process, a high turnover rate, and mentions something concerning the ethnicity of a current employee in the interview. Run.
- Jaws: When a hiring manager tells you too much about the drama in his/her own personal life including divorce, don’t fall into the trap of exposing your own private life. You’re asked to list your worst qualities – twice. It’s a trick that will cost you the job and any personal information will be used against you in the workplace. Run.
- Sunset Boulevard: The hiring manager asks your age and talks about ageism in the workplace. Two years ago, a major film studio’s hiring manager asked me my age and advised me that they don’t hire anyone over the age of 38 to work on the studio lot. Really? Ageism is real . . . and it’s illegal for a hiring manager to quiz you about your age or talk about a certain age as a requirement to be hired. Be prepared to have your age insulted by someone younger than you or older than you. Run.
- Trouble in Paradise: The hiring manager says the job requirements are very specific but after you start the job, you learn you’re now replacing multiple part-time employees and doing the job of ten to save the company money. Run.
- All About Eve: The hiring manager warns you that the entire job is about playing politics and a moody owner who screams at employees. You’re warned not to take it personally but to play along. Everyone is at peace only when the owner is out of town. Run.
- A Touch of Evil: The hiring manager first has you sign a non-disclosure statement about their business practices before being interviewed. Red-flag warning! What does the business have to hide? Run.
- Duck Soup: The hiring manager introduces you to some other employees during your interview and the process is filled with laughter and smiles. They might be zany characters, but at least the environment looks like fun.
If you’re applying for a job, the best interview involves a clear salary range, detailed job responsibilities, strong communication, and a peaceful work environment.