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Tech Planet, of Menlo Park, CA, uses weekly lunches and "wacky follow-up sessions" as substitutes for first-round job interviews. During the informal meals, potential employees are expected to mingle, and they are then reviewed by the Tech Planet employees they meet at the luncheons. One Tech Planet employee asks candidates to ride a unicycle in her office to see if "they'll bond with the corporate culture or not." Toward the end of the screening process, the surviving group of interviewees has to solve brainteasers, and then openly evaluate their fellow candidates' strengths and weaknesses.

The group should arrive at answers regarding the following set of questions:

The Interview Process

Every organization has their own approach for interviewing candidates. Each organization has its own style and needs. A splendid resume does not mean that this candidate will be a good employee or that the needs of the organization will be met. Wrong hires are often the result of problems with the job interview process.

1. What issues with screening might this form of interviewing elicit?

This type of screening elicits various behaviors and personalities such as reliability, stability, bad temper, shyness, honest and risk takers, which the organization is seeking to weed out during this wacky interview process.

2. Is this form of candidate selection likely to increase or decrease diversity at Tech Planet?

This form of candidate selection is likely to decrease diversity at Tech Planet. I think the candidates will try to copy each other. If the employees of Tech Planet use the same criteria for selecting every candidate the candidates are likely to give flattering evaluations of other candidates with the hope to receive flattering evaluations also.

3. Does this methodology raise concerns about reliability and validity? If so, how?

This methodology does not raise concerns about reliability and validity because Tech Planet is seeking distinctive types of candidates and these wacky interview sessions will weed them out. Tech Planet is trying to select the right candidates to get the job done. This process is totally wacky in my book but the more time spent on recruiting and interviewing hopefully the less turnover the company will experience

4. What do you think would be a better methodology at Tech Planet and why?

A better methodology would be to screen employees based on the qualifications criteria of the job. I personally would not have been pleased if they were to ask me to ride a unicycle without some sort of justification. I cannot see where these hokey pokey antics produces the best candidate for a specific job due to the fact that it does not weigh in job knowledge or performance. It only brings to the surface certain characteristic traits these individuals may possess.

I also believe we need to select a more diverse group of employees. The way I see it, all selected candidates will possess the same traits based on these screening. If managed effectively diversity can broaden Tech Planet organizational capability.

Although I have never experienced this type of screening, my co-worker informed me that she went on an interview where she had to go in front of a panel. While she stood in front of the panel she couldn’t believe how cold and abrupt the members were as they asked her questions that were totally unrelated to the job she was apply for. Apparently at the end of the interview she was told it was a test to see how she would perform under pressure.

In conclusion, the interviewers are basically trying to assume what the candidate's job performance will be based on his/her answers to questions about past behaviors.

From United States,
Bob Gately

US employers that allow their employees to ask questions unrelated to the job are putttng themselves at risk.
From United States, Chelsea
Rajat Joshi

Hi Trinikez,

Liked your problem and would love share my thoughts on the recruiting policy of Tech Planet.

A: It's too early or initial period is limited for the potential employees to grasp these exercises in the right spirit!..may be a great candidate may feel uneasy to ride on unicycle hence the company may lose the opportunity to hire him.

A: This doesn't focus on competencies like ability to respond to opportunities, flexibility or adaptability. Bad temper or shyness should not be criteria for rejecting the candidates.

[This form of candidate selection is likely to decrease diversity at Tech Planet. I think the candidates will try to copy each other. If the employees of Tech Planet use the same criteria for selecting every candidate the candidates are likely to give flattering evaluations of other candidates with the hope to receive flattering evaluations also.[/quote]

A: Yes, you are right!! Diversity is very essential for companies as they bring different perspectives to the problem and Diversity is essential for Creativity in Organizations.

Creativity in organizations leads to Innovations or ideas which is the lifeline of the organization in today's fast changing world.

Intellectual diversity is the biggest challenge - it is about having different people sitting at the same table,looking at the problem differently. It is a proven fact that diverse groups that consistently generate the significant breakthrough ideas.

3. A: Less turnover doesn't mean the performance of the company would spiral upwards!!...check if you can correlate the past data of attrition rate vis-a-vis performance of the company or new projects or new initiatives.That should give some food for the thought. More time is spent by the employees - yes and it should be measured & quantified.

4. A: Allow me tell you about the IT firm in India which recruits engineers on the Competency of the creativity & learnability. The reason being that IT Knowledge is changing at a rapid rate and you need people who can learn new things at a faster rate than the rest..what would you do if the engineer is a slow learner or not willing to learn new skills!..


A: Absolutely right!!

A: Past behaviours are the indicators for future expected performance.


I conduct workshops on Business Creativity and Innovations in B-Schools and always endeavour to meet different innovative people. Recently i met an Israeli IT Engineer and he spoke about how innovative the Israelis were in the software product space. When i asked him how much it had to do with their education system, he said it was their mandatory training stint in Israeli Army that sparked the Innovation. First it struck me as rather odd especially army is hardly ever seen as anything but regimental. But it's true!!

Hope this is of some help to you.



From India, Pune
Bob Gately

It is amazing what employers will allow their employees do when they don’t know how to assess for job fit.
From United States, Chelsea
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