We came across a fun suggestion for hiring professionals over at HR Morning that was just too good to pass up. According to Jennifer Walzer, CEO of Backup My Info!, a humorous (and weirdly effective) way to screen candidates at the start of the hiring process is surprisingly simple:
Ask them to submit a joke.
It's devilishly brilliant, and is sure to inject a little humor into your workday while helping you figure out who's a good fit for your company and who isn't. The request is less about gauging your applicants' sense of humor and more about understanding their senses of appropriateness, as well as whether or not they follow directions. Here's how.
If someone sends in an offensive or off-color joke, stop and think carefully-- whether or not it's funny, this is still a big red flag. Think about what the applicant is revealing about his or her sense of appropriateness-- what if this individual told an off-color or offensive joke to a coworker or a client? This can indicate a lack of sensitivity or awareness of appropriate behavior, and can show that this applicant will cause trouble if hired on. Remove him or her from the pool immediately.
Other applicants may not even include a joke. Though this may indicate a reserved nature, it also still shows that they were unwilling-- or unable-- to follow directions or pay attention to details. Evaluate these candidates carefully, and consider the merits of excluding them from the candidate pool.
All in all, including a joke is a quick, great way to screen candidates for appropriateness without firing up the digital interview software or picking up the phone. You'll know right off the bat if a candidate who's great on paper is actually a wildly inappropriate hire-- and, in the process, you'll get a few chuckles. Really, there's nothing to lose.