Joco Diversions

Tip for those hoping to hire the best candidates: Take them to an amusement park

Looking for the perfect candidate? See how they react when waiting in line for a roller coaster, like the Mamba at Worlds of Fun
Looking for the perfect candidate? See how they react when waiting in line for a roller coaster, like the Mamba at Worlds of Fun File photo

Hiring the right person for a job is one of life’s harder decisions. I’ve had a boss describe it to me as getting married after one date. Truthfully, it’s not even a date. It’s more like getting hitched after a 10-minute conversation at a Starbucks.

Fortunately for human resource departments everywhere, I have come up with a superior method for finding the right person for whatever job you may need filled. I formulated this new breed of, let’s call it employee matching, while waiting in line for roller coaster over spring break. Not to brag or anything, but it might be my best idea ever (which is saying a lot because I pretty much love all my ideas).

Here’s how my employee matching would work. Let’s say you’re looking for a marketing manager and you’ve narrowed it down to four candidates. To see who would ultimately be the best one to hire all you need to do is take all four potential employees to a crowded theme park for a couple of hours because here’s the deal: How you act while waiting in line for a churro tells a lot about you.

Before you enter the theme park with your job candidates you’ve already got a plethora of data about their personality solely based on what they deem as appropriate park attire. Anyone who shows up in flip-flops should be automatically jettisoned from the applicant pool.

Flip-flops as a choice for walking miles on asphalt while your bare toes and upper foot mingle with the bacterial cast-offs of humanity shows a brazen disregard for health, safety and speaks to a lack of respect for hygiene and practicality. The person you want to hire shows up in tennis shoes and has a backpack loaded with antibacterial hand gel, 70 SPF sunscreen and bandage blister pads. This is the employee who would be prepared for any work emergency and probably knows CPR.

The mere act of entering the theme park is another opportunity to profile a potential hire. The person who has already downloaded the park app on their phone and has preselected attractions to avoid wasting hours standing in line is someone who shows initiative and is a self-starter.

You don’t want to hire the dullard who has done zero planning, even if he or she is wearing closed toe shoes, because this is the person who will schedule multiple meetings to discuss the same thing repeatedly, when sending one email would have gotten the job done.

Once you get inside the park, noticing what rides your job candidates choose to enjoy is a window into their soul. A person who loves roller coasters that go backward and have loops shows a thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie who won’t freak out over a quick deadline. A candidate who takes a pass on being turned upside down demonstrates a need for control and a cautious nature which might be just the thing you’re looking for.

Waiting in a long line for a ride is a given at any theme park and how your potential employee handles that wait is telling. Does your candidate whip out a phone and stare down at it the entire time, or is the time taken up by chatting up fellow line buddies? Your organization might need the outgoing and curious chit chatter or this maybe a red flag that here’s the person who will float from cubicle to cubicle wasting everyone’s time with a recitation about how their day is going.

I’m telling you – ditch the traditional job interview. If you want to hire the best person for a job get on a roller coaster.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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