Interviews - why do we have them?

Article by Bill Parslow

A few weeks, or was it months ago I wrote a piece on training GMs - and I said (sorry to repeat myself)

Obviously when you recruit a GM you’re looking for someone personable, adaptable, able to think in the moment and improvise and so on - essentially the qualities needed to run a large company with the acting and improvisational skills of the combined cast of Who’s Line Is It Anyway and the technical ability of a Formula One mechanic.

In fact if you want a starter course in hiring have a look at my free e-course HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE FOR YOUR ESCAPE ROOM. It's designed to help people who don't have a lot of experience in recruiting, going from adverts to appointments. And quite a lot on interviews!

So back to hiring the the best person possible. That seems a fair goal for your interview doesn’t it? So how do you go about it? One of the things that interviewees often fail to realise is the person interviewing them is even more nervous and inexperienced at this whole game than they are. There are all sorts of other dynamics going on so let’s try and isolate some of them and see what can be done.

First of all it’s perfectly natural to be nervous even if you are the interviewer. What you are doing (see first paragraph) is a highly unnatural and difficult thing - you want to see past what people are actually saying to what they really mean. In twenty minutes or so you want to judge whether this person can work successfully with and for you for, perhaps, years. It’s a tall order.

But we have to get on with it, so what happens normally you spend half an hour the day before (mentally congratulating yourself on this advance planning) putting together a list of questions which you kind of feel you’d like to ask. There’s lots of fairly good advice to be got from just doing an internet search for interviewing skills. They often cover all the sensible ground, but they don’t really get into the sheer weirdness of having another person slap bang in front of you, trying to impress you.

But we keep on doing it! Despite the fact that interviewing isn’t actually a very good way of selecting the right people. In a lot of ways it’s a very collusive process where someone desperately tries to get you to like them and you, as interviewer, if you are hoodwinked to the right degree, decide you like them, so you’ll appoint them.

Essentially that’s what happens - people who are good at interviews, who can build rapport, get the jobs. Unfortunately that’s not always a great indicator of them being a good fit for the job.

I’ve just been writing an e-course on hiring good staff for Escape Rooms so it’s concentrated my mind on what you actually need to do. The interview - yes it’s a necessary evil, but before you should always audition people. If you’re looking for GM then make them roleplay the whole caboodle from greeting people to taking the photograph at the end. At the very least you’ve got something to discuss in the interview!
And if you’re the interviewee? - then build rapport - it’s the thing that gets you in. Did I ever tell about how blagged my way into a job as a painting and decorating and plumbing instructor by reading it all up in the Reader’s Digest Book of Home Decorating? Well that is another story. Or maybe be more : innovative:

The free e-course HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE FOR YOUR ESCAPE ROOM is just a click away. (This is an experiment in marketing and I am very interested to see if you are interested in the course and more like it).

Bill Parslow

Author photo for Bill Parslow

Bill Parslow is an escape room GM, writer and storyteller. Being a game master/game show host ticked a number of his boxes and he still rather enjoys it.

Bill is Tom's dad (the Founder of Buzzshot) and it was his experience working in a local Escape Room that led to Tom developing the Buzzshot software.