Kids as Headhunters: Putting the Curiosity in Recruitment

by Katie E. Rodgers
Helbling & Associates' kids of team member
No, we didn’t have children calling candidates on the phone. BUT we did learn what they would say if they had the opportunity. Turns out, it’s a lot.
The curiosity of children reminds us as search consultants that most of us are in this position because we carried that genuine curiosity with us throughout our adult life. So, despite the hectic office life of a search firm, we decided to engage in “Take Your Child to Work Day.” Boy, are we glad we did. 
Skipping past the Peace, Love and Little Donuts breakfast jamboree (it’s a Pittsburgh thing) to the question you’re dying to know the answer to: what are the types of interview questions children would ask if they were faced with hiring?
For context, the children are all between the ages of 8 and 12 and they are shining examples of kids of recruiters; so, the questions may not surprise you. We used two job titles to make things interesting – a veterinarian and a teacher. Read as these kids go in depth and in scope:
In general: 
  • What are you good at? 
  • What are you not good at?
  • How many things have you written?
  • Tell me about your past jobs you had.
  • How well did you do in school?
  • Do you have experience working with money?
For teachers:
  • Are you really good at reading?
  • Are you an easy grader or a hard grader?
  • Are you good at organizing activities?
  • Would we do cool science projects?
  • Are you good at math?
For veterinarians:
  • Are you good with animals?
  • Did you go to school for pets?
  • Can you talk to animals?
  • Do you have experience with wild animals?
Cultural Fit/Behavioral Enforcement
In general:
  • Do you work well with others?
  • Are you organized?
  • Do you like jokes?
  • Tell me your best joke.
  • How long would you want to work with me?
  • Are you honest?
  • Do you like the quiet?
  • Did you vote?
For teachers:
  • Can you handle bad children?
  • What would you do if you were up against a bully?
  • Would you give us more recess if we were good?
  • Do you give candy to good kids?
  • Do you do timeout?
For veterinarians:
  • Would you scream if it bites you?
  • Are you good with crazy animals?
  • Are you OK with the sight of blood?
  • Do you give treats when drawing blood?
  • What did you dress up as for Halloween?
  • Do you have any siblings?
  • Do you clean?
  • Are you clean?
  • Are you lazy without coffee?
  • How much coffee do you drink a day?
  • Are you rich?
  • Do you have any talents?
At this point, the kids were itching to interview the recruiters and staff so we split off into groups. Half of the office applied to be a veterinarian and the other half a teacher. To sum it all up, the mock interviews were tough! Our children are ruthless! Some of their comments were:
“No paid vacation, we pay for the days you’re here!”
“Or, wait, we pay less for vacation.”
“This job is full time only - 5 days a week, I think.”
“Not sure about compensation, you get enough.”
“We’ll let you know if you were chosen within the next 15 minutes.”
“I think you’re better as an assistant.”
“She was hired because she had the better attitude.”
I know, right? I think we may have to start another firm just for these young ladies and gents! But, in all seriousness, yesterday was a great bonding experience and, as a firm, we shared a lot of laughs with the children. We also learned a valuable lesson that some of what children value in people/friends/potential coworkers are the same values we share as adults. Some things don’t change, and the curiosity that motivates us to find out whether a person shares the same values as us pertains to our friendships, company culture, and service we provide our clients. 
On behalf of all of us at Helbling, we hope you enjoyed a great Take Your Kid to Work Day!