The Disney question…

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Imagine the scenario: You’re at an interview, things are going well, you’ve answered well and then this bombshell drops…

Interviewer (potential boss): “Would you be willing to leave your family at Disneyland to do something that was really important for the company?”

You: “….err”

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It’s a curve-ball you didn’t really expect, totally out of leftfield and you’ve got to come up with the answer which could cement your next career move.

Believe it or not, this very question is one which Don Mal, chief executive of software firm Vena Solutions, poses to every candidate he interviews. If they say “no” he doesn’t hire them, no further questions asked.

It poses something of a dilemma though; should this question ever be asked and if it is, is it really fair for the person at the end of the question?

Mal’s reason for asking the Disney Question is because he was asked to do a similar task for the company he worked for by his then-boss. He left his wife and kids for two days, came back after the deal was signed and everything – he claims – was fine.

He says the question has little to do with loyalty and more to do with work ethic.

While you cannot question everyone’s work ethics, it is up to the individual at the end of the day – surely there is no right or wrong answer to the Disney question?

For the majority of businesses, holiday time is pretty much sacred but others do place clauses in their recruitment contracts which state you could be contacted while away.

The Disney Question re-emphasises the need to have something more than a stand-alone interview when recruiting new staff. A question which backs a candidate into a corner might not – and in our experience, is not – always the way to recruit.

It also poses more questions for the recruitment process: Are stand-alone interviews a thing of the past? Isn’t it better to set the candidate tasks to show how they operate, rather than face-to-face with questions which could throw them? Or see how they cope in certain situations?

An open-minded approach to recruitment is needed, where both the employer and the employee-to-be are comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be with the process!)

Depending on the recruitment process, questions like the Disney one should be carefully thought out because, at the end of the day, Don might have dismissed some potential stars of the future.

Guess we’ll never know!