Once upon a time, I used to be a recruiter. I was exposed to some scary sales interviews and semi-interrogation techniques. Seeing a production of The Grönholm Method at Menier Chocolate Factory, which ended a few weeks ago, brought back some unforgettable memories. Jordi Galceran’s apprentice-style play has been seen in more than 60 countries. Director BT McNicholl has four lead candidates (three men and one woman) show aggression and confusion on a dog-eat-dog stage with some unpleasant and uncomfortable scenes. Watching them engage, interact and mock one another gives the audience a tiny glimpse of the nasty side of capitalism and corporate life. Excellent stage performers, Jonathan Cake, Laura Pitt-Pulford, John Gordon Sinclair and Greg McHugh, kept the audience on their toes with dark humour and unexpected (and shameless) commentary into the mindset of deadly ambitious sales professionals.

From seeing The Grönholm Method, I was reminded of three things I picked up as a recruiter to be aware of in real group interviews.

  • Don’t cry in front of your interviewers

The workplace is your job: not your home. At a job interview, you are there to impress a potential employer, not show off your vulnerable side when there’s a crisis in the office. However, if you really need to cry, leave those tears for outside of the interview room (e.g. bathroom) or try your best to hold back until you get home. That means, no matter what, don’t cry if someone calls you names or insults you with poisonous words. Perhaps, just smile back. (It’s better than punching them in the face.)

  • If you have to keep your phone on loud during an interview, you shouldn’t be there at all.

Not only is it disrespectful and bad interview etiquette to have your phone on loud during an interview, it is also distracting to you. Just as you wouldn’t be interrupted if your phone was off, allow yourself the opportunity to focus for the entire duration of the interview. With saying that, however, there are far more important things in life, such as spending time with loved ones, than being in an interview room. Interview slots can be rescheduled. All you need to do is ask. So, if you know a close one is dying in a hospital, you really shouldn’t be having a job interview, should you?

  • Keep your cards close to your chest and don’t trust anyone.

All of the other candidates want the same job you’re going for. Like most work-related situations, one should aim to be professional and civilised yet mindful of what information is worth sharing. After all, no one comes to an interview to make friends with the other candidates in the room. Also, if either your interviewer or fellow candidate shares something personal to you, don’t believe everything they say. They could be using your information for their personal gain.

The Grönholm Method was showing at Menier Chocolate Factory, London Bridge from 10 May – 7 July, 2018. More information about the show and Menier Chocolate Factory can be found here.

(I purchased my own ticket to review this show.)

[Header image: Actors: Greg McHugh, John Gordon Sinclair, Laura Pitt-Pulford and Jonathan Cake in photograph by Manuel Harlan.]