How do I convince my boss that it is not a good idea to interview people on costume day?

Last year we were desperately trying to hire a someone, and no one thought that calling them into interview on the costume day was a problem. Two of the people interviewing were in full, ridiculous costume. The person never returned our calls after. When I pointed this out, I was told the costumes let them know “what a fun office we are”, which is problematic because:
a. We were going to expect that person to work very hard initially to catch up, so we needed a serious, motivated person.
b. We’re not a fun office. We’re the opposite of fun– we’re overly political, nitpicking, backbiting, gossiping jerks, and that’s just my boss.



Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment can attest to the fact that it is impossible to convince your boss of anything. The only idea that a boss can adopt is one that he has thought of himself. Short of stabbing him in the heart with a wooden stake, there is little that can be done to change his mind if he thinks costume day is a good idea. Don’t give up hope though. If you can’t use carefully constructed ideas to sway him, maybe some full blown demonstrations are what you need instead.

First, you are going to need to hire some actors. (If you can’t find any actors, then perhaps just grab some local theatre students. Those guys will do anything if you can explain their scene motivation to them). Since this is ultimately going to be of benefit to the company, I suggest paying them out of the petty cash. You can claim it as Process Restructuring Planning And Developing Costs. Now, you have to make sure that these are the first few interviews set up for the day. The real interviews can come later on. Or not. I really have very little invested in this idea. I’m just spitballing.

Now, and this is the most important aspect of this plan, there is one direction that must be given to your team of theatrical accomplices: they must continuously believe that the boss is actually who he (or she) is dressed up as. Let’s say your boss is dressed up as a pirate. Make sure that your candidates are confused and keep thinking that perhaps they are actually on a boat or need to keep citing previous experience working aboard ships.

If your boss is dressed up as a surgeon, have them be sure to point out that they love watching Grey’s Anatomy and think that they have picked up the gist of it, citing any medical terms that they might be able to quickly call to mind. If your boss is dressed as a convict, make sure the interviewee tackles him while dialing the police on his cell phone. I think you can start to see where I am going with this.

The point of all this—hold on, just thought of another one; your boss is dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster and your interview plant rallies the townsfolk and arms them with torches and pitchforks so as to drive him and his misunderstood existence from the office where he only seeks to be left alone and ponder the meaning of his creation. Actually…scratch that last one. Now that I think about it, it just sounds like too much work. Perhaps just hit him in the face with a shovel. It’s a good go-to move for any monster.

The key to this whole exercise is planting within your boss’ mind the belief that he is truly a master of disguise. He has to come to the conclusion that, should he choose to continue to dress himself up, there is a 100% chance that he will be utterly convincing and drive the interview to crazy levels of distraction.

This sounds much tougher than it actually is. All bosses believe that they are incapable of anything less than being a master of all that they do. I once worked in an office (that I made up for the purpose of this anecdote) where the boss had only taken two karate lessons before making sure everyone on the team knew of his impressive martial arts skills. There wasn’t a piece of Styrofoam in that building that he hadn’t chopped in half with his hand.

After a round of morning interviews your plan will have accomplished two things:

1.       Your boss will realize the folly of scheduling an interview on a day when costumes and assumed identities are involved.
2.       Your boss will realize that he is the undisputed costume champion of the world.

If that doesn’t work, a rag and chloroform should keep your boss out of the way until interviews are over and done with.

This week, we’ve been answering MeetingBoy’s Halloween questions. Find our other answers here:

Question 1: How can I avoid having my job performance judged by how good I am at Halloween costumes? 

Question 2: How do I get my co-workers to wear appropriate Halloween costumes to work? 

And be sure to read MeetingBoy’s Halloween Post right here!






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