When Alan Bacon learned he had a job interview with a franchise of Currys, he didn’t think publicly jamming to Daft Punk would be a required skill. He was wrong.
The UK electronics retailer is apologizing after one of its stores apparently broke job applicants up into teams and had them to engage in a dance off as part of a team building exercise. “I think everyone initially thought it was a joke,” Bacon, who was not ultimately offered a job, told the BBC, “but they were serious.”
And while the activity might have been meant to build group unity, it appears the task was more successful at humiliating applicants who had spent the week preparing themselves for a serious interview. “I just felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable” said Bacon. “I ended up dancing to ‘Around the World’ by Daft Punk, doing rubbish robotics in my suit in front of a group of strangers. I told my dad it was like a scene out of The Office. I would have walked out but I need a job.”
A spokesman for Currys has said the impromptu dance performance is not part of their official recruitment guidelines, and they are inviting all applicants another interview — this time likely without the musical component. The company also told the BBC that it was investigating those who orchestrated the recruitment session. Bacon, for his part, had seen enough. He declined a second interview
Currys’ interview process might seem strange, but according to one expert, it’s part of a larger effort by companies looking to make their recruitment policies “more innovative.” Alexander Kjerulf, owner of the blog Chief Happiness Officer, writes about one recruitment strategy he found where recruiters played Jenga with the applicant to break through their practiced veneer and uncover their true character. In another example, Kjerulf mentions how a company softball game revealed that a prospective hire was “competitive to the point of being manic.” Had the company not brought the applicant outside the interview room, his actual personality wouldn’t have been known until it was too late.
Like all good ideas, this concept can be taken too far, and Currys is unlikely to try a similar stunt in the future. However, there are likely other offices also looking innovate in the hiring department, so perhaps job applicants should start practicing their soft shoe just in case.