The Strictly Come Dancing season is upon us in the UK, and it is time for the carefully selected few to bare their souls (and a few male chests) on the dance floor. Dance is such an expressive medium and with an audience of millions secretly hoping for the inevitable slip or wardrobe malfunction, there is nowhere to hide. The first few weeks are often the most interesting as the celebs are still literally finding their feet, and although they are trying their best, beginners’ blunders amusingly abound. However, no matter how horrendous the stumbles, they have to “keep dancing.”
So, with glitter abounding every Saturday night, I turn to the recruitment angle…
Just as it takes two to tango, so it takes two to interview. Too many organisations fall into some major interview traps: either they grill candidates, denying them the space to perform and showcase a variety of skills and experiences and stifle them with a barrage of one-sided questions. Or, they expect the interviewee to perform their set piece, but fail to reveal any of the company’s star moves… each dance partner must perform, be tested technically but also have ever-sought-after chemistry.
The interviewer is the professional dance partner. It is their job to guide the interviewee through the process, challenging them to demonstrate their experience in the best light, but also allowing them the space to express themselves. If the professional dancer is too prescriptive, it will be their dance, not their partner’s dance. On the other hand, if they give their partner the whole dance floor to express themselves, the interview risks losing focus. An unstructured interview is a bit like silent disco with each dancer tuned into their own soundtrack – a ludicrous or maybe even painful spectacle!
A dance is a fine line between freedom and control. It allows you to push your physical and emotional limits but then dictates that you should never cross those limits. The interviewer has the responsibility of creating the right environment for an interview to replicate this feeling. The interviewee should be bursting to show the interviewer what they are worth, but they must be given a framework within which to weave their magic. They should be tested by searching questions, but not to the extent that they will be tripped over. They also need to enjoy the dance – all too often, the interviewer forgets that they too have to perform and impress the interviewee with their “moves”. An interviewer should never be so arrogant as to think that they don’t have to sell the opportunity.
Dancing is the ultimate test of compatibility, and when you dance with someone for the first time, you either feel that spark or you don’t. The best interviews are a give and take of “sparks”. Securing the right role can take four or five different dances with different partners and in different settings.
Everyone must keep on dancing and soon there’ll be that perfect 10!