"If you were a golf club, what number would you be?"  "A golf club?  Sorry?" said the very irritated, confused and unimpressed mid level executive to the Goldman Sachs Managing Director sitting opposite him.  "I can't understand why you would ask such a question in an interview"  He stood up and said I would like to leave now, reached across the table, shook the managing directors hand and left.  It gets worse!  He then went home and wrote a letter to the chairman of Goldman complaining at being asked such a question.  This is a true story told to me by a very accomplished Goldmans' executive who saw the funny side of it but who also acknowledged ten years ago what Google has recently stated there is no correlation between brain teaser type questions and hiring the best performers.

The number 1 reason no one will ever hire you is:

If you don’t know the system you wont make it through.

System, what system I hear you cry, no one ever told me there was a system when I was at university or in my last job or even when I went through the 75 interviews to get my last 3 jobs. They told me about interview techniques, they told me how to write my resume, they told me how to dress to impress but surely that’s all a good person needs these days to get hired.

Whether you are college graduate, a mid level manager or someone who is on the last stage of their careers it is critical to understand how hiring really works.  Call it what you want (I prefer the term hiring process), all companies have some system by which they hire and in the bigger scheme of things there is a process by which companies work with other companies (such as recruitment firms, assessment services, reference checking etc.) to hire.  In these posts I will be covering some of the not so obvious parts of the process that you will need to learn about in order for you to get hired into the right job, stay for the right amount of time, manage your career profile so that the best companies find you, negotiate to get the right level of compensation, maximize the use of social media, change industry sectors when the time is right and get six months holiday twice a year….ok so I can’t tell you how to get that amount of vacation but I can tell you what the right answer to being asked unvalidated questions such as  "If you were a golf club what number would …..”

Read the follow up post to this called "What a stupid question"