Despite quick communications to the wrongly laid off employee,
we learned he had immediately walked directly to our competitor,
who promptly offered him a raise and a comparable position that
started the next day.
The final insult? The firm had not yet “gotten around” to sending
the non-compete agreements to those working on the research and
development project, nor had they provided any details regarding
confidentiality expectations. At that time, there was little the company
could do to minimize the impact of this error and it suffered
significantly as a result.
THIRD PRIZE: GETTING IN CHARACTER
A few years ago, I interviewed an individual for a contract position
requiring advanced computer skills.
In addition to possessing other standard software skills, the applicant
had a degree in animation. The interview included standard
questions, like, “Why are you interested in this position?” The applicant
indicated that she was a good fit because she was focused
and creative. As an example of her creativity, she provided detailed
information of a computer game she had created and explained
how she developed the main character based on her own personality
What followed were more standard interview questions, like,
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
The applicant answered all of my questions from the perspective
of the lead character in her video game, and made reference to the
storyline of the video game to elaborate on her answers.
For example, when I asked her to provide examples where her
contributions were instrumental in the success of a project, she
responded how her character need to get consensus with other
characters to develop a strategy to fight a common enemy in
the game. Apparently, these characters joining the game were not
always well known to her (the main character) and she had to understand
how to navigate alliances and motives.
Although she would be able to provide better answers, she attributed
much of her skills to lessons learned in developing and
playing her game. She shared with me that her fellow gamers and
the characters they assumed had varied interests, personalities and
work styles just like people in the real world.
I had to gently guide her with leading questions to get her to
respond as herself, including telling me about her work on a “real
world” team and how she worked successfully with others on a
Only with this type of coaching was she able to relate any of her
responses to her previous roles in the real world.
Mississauga, ON ■
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