Common Place Atrocities


Borb Hankes, Dean of Conquest and Staff Writer

Nothing turns people into dogs like a group interview.

With no excess hubris I can say I have applied to a few jobs in my life. It’s a mechanical, familiar process, pandering to your best guess at what the hiring manager believes their superiors are looking for based on the latest issue of Forbes. You fine-tune your resume, dress nicely, comb your hair and off you go, casting your lot amongst the multitudes of other interviewees trying just as hard to reach the same bland image of a soulless but hardworking employee-to-be. Eligibility is the name of the game and you want it tattooed on your heart if you’re going to make it into today’s high-pressure workforce.

But group interviews, infused with the impulsivity of mob mentality, transcend the tedium of standard hiring practices. They belong to an elite echelon of horror— usually reserved for terrorism, boot camp, and lobotomies— that tear from its subjects their individuality and capacity to think. Group interviews are especially despicable, however, in that they deceive interviewees into believing that they ought to subject themselves to it.

I’m not over exaggerating. A group of people being judged on their conversation suddenly becomes cutthroat. You can take ten intelligent and capable go-getters and ask them to talk casually about their visions of the future, and they will, without fail, babble incoherently about words like inclusivity, critical thinking, and problem-solving for hours on end. These are important concepts, of course – but a rational individual would allow themselves to be guided by these ideals instead of naming them constantly. For instance, you would never want to hear:


I’m experienced in problem-solving. I used my critical thinking to work cooperatively with my inclusivity teammates on the production floor.

It drives me nuts.

And the way they talk, it’s abhorrent. They bite off the ends of each other’s sentences to inject their own outstandingly impressive resumes. Every person in the room needs to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are heading the discussion. They need to be in charge to show that they are capable of being in charge. After every inane comment, they’ll put in a “Ooh yeah, that’s a good idea!” or “Great, yeah, awesome! Anyone else want to weigh in?” Their idea of leadership is co-opting helpful comments and keeping inferiors happily complacent. They don’t think for a second that that is exactly the environment in which they are attempting to be subordinates.

And that is what bothers me most. These people applying are smart, even capable. They’re part of the hardest working, most tech savvy generation in history. If we worked together we could transform the world into something beautiful and absurd and so much more effective and ingenious than the stainless-steel hell that we are dying to get into. We could be turning people into gods and the world into a friendlier place. Instead, we’re turning people into work dogs. And I want to know why.