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Jamie Lawrence


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Currys interview candidate ‘made to dance’ to Daft Punk


A university graduate said he was left ‘humiliated’ after being asked to dance to a Daft Punk song during a job interview at electronics store Currys.

Alan Bacon, 21, said he spent a week preparing for the interview, but instead of being asked to showcase his skills, he ended up performing robot dance moves “like a scene of The Office.”

Currys has apologised. The retailer also said the dance segment of the interview had been a mistake and wasn’t part of the official recruitment process.

Mr Bacon said he had been finding job hunting “extremely hard” due to the number of people looking for work.

Prior to the interview, Bacon said he would have five minutes to tell interviewers about his hobbies.

He said he was left “incredulous” when the group of interviewees was split into two, each of which had to make up a dance.

He added: “I just felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable. I ended up dancing to Around the World by Daft Punk, doing rubbish robotics in my suit in front of a group of strangers.

“I told my dad it was like a scene out of The Office. I would have walked out but I need a job.

“Another middle aged guy looked really upset as he danced to a rap song.

“I’ve been to quite a few job interviews and have never had to do anything like it before. To be honest, it was hard to be taken seriously after it.”

A Currys spokesman said: “Regrettably, the store in question did not follow our official recruitment processes on this specific occasion.

“We are currently investigating those members of the store who held the recruitment session.

“We are very sorry to those interviewees impacted on this occasion and would like to invite them back to attend an official interview where they will be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate how they can contribute to our business.”

Despite the apology, Mr Bacon has declined the offer of a subsequent interview.

10 Responses

  1. Daft Recruitment

    This is our comment (polite version) at the end ofa short article:

    We are in favour of being innovative and trying to make the recruitment process fun as well as being challenging but it needs to be done properly rather than taking an approach that bears more similarity to the BBC's Apprentice show. Apart from the potential for discrimination claims, specifically from disabled people, the employer put themselves at two further risks:

    • They may have been trying to evaluate teamwork and creative problem solving but creative dancing and lack of inhibition were probably not part of the person specification. The recruiters may have enjoyed themselves but did they really apply objective criteria to their recruitment decisions?  It is unlikely that dance style is a useful measure of customer service skills.
    • They look like a bunch of daft clowns and are less likely to have people applying for work or wishing to spend their money in their stores.





  2. To dance or not to dance

    As long as the interviewer shows the interviewee how to dance by performing first, then I don't see any harm to it.

  3. Mad, no. Differently sane, perhaps.

    I've seen interview techniques that involved being asked to solve complex mathematical equations, write a Drabble, build a model out of Lego with a partner, make a paper aeroplane, do a crossword against the clock, unscramble anagrams, untangle a bundle of badly knotted cables, and perform role-plays of great detail and complexity.

    In so many cases, it wasn't about the destination, but the journey.  How did they prepare for the task, how did they approach it, how did they test the limits?  Success was often optional, and in some cases, not possible.  (The Lego test is normally to see how someone works with a partner.  It has a variant where a piece is missing, but it's one you don't use until near the end of the build – this shows that you didn't do a parts check before starting, which means you didn't read the instructions properly.)

    All of the techniques were designed to break people out of standard interview mode, make them think on their feet, and actually engage the skills they'd made so much of on their CV.

    Sometimes you're not looking for a qualification.  Sometimes you're not looking for experience.  Sometimes you're looking for a mindset, an attitude, a set of problem-solving mental stances that don't fit neatly into the boxes on an application form.  We had one instance where we asked an interviewee the generic question about "Can you tell us something about an achievement you're proud of?".  Where most people would relate tales of projects completed, marathons ran, etc., this chap reached into his bag and brought out a 12 lb marrow he'd grown.  He went on to regale us with how, when and where it was grown, and the various problems he'd overcome in the process.  He's still here, and he's one of our top programmers.  Yet the questions and answers that got him the job were nothing to do with code structures, or algorithms, but garden pests and fertiliser.  The fact that he'd anticipated the question, and been lugging a 12 lb marrow around in case we asked it also told us much about the sort of person he was.

    So, no, not every technique fits every situation, or every group of people.  Standard questions don't always show you the real person, they show you what they've learned to put on their CV.  Perhaps for a shop-floor salesman, asking him to dance in front of the group wasn't the correct approach, but dismissing the technique as having no validity in any context seems a little short-sighted to me.

  4. Thinking outside the box – are you mad?

    If someone knew they were going to dance at an interview, they'd apply for a job as a clown, not a hardware sales assistant. Glad to see head office employs some grown ups who apologised.


  5. Partly agree, but..

    Dancing in public is one of those things that can provoke extremely strong emotional reactions in people. I think there will be many confident, intelligent, reasonable people around, who can respond assertively to the situations you mention, but who just fall apart or struggle when it comes to dancing/singing/talking in public.

    Putting people outside their comfort zone is a good idea in order to test resilience, but the test has to be appropriate to the work environment and I don't think this one is. Yet the practicalities of putting people through a relevant, practical stressful situation are time-consuming/expensive etc, which is why behavioural questioning is so popular – a way to judge how people respond to stresses, although of course you can never tell how someone will respond unless the situation actually occurs.

  6. Thinking outside the box

    Is not necessarily a bad thing.  When you've got 200 people applying for 2 jobs, and you've cut them down to the last 20, any of whom could probably perform the role admirably, how do you make the final cut?

    If you're in a directly customer-facing role in a big chain store, you're going to face unexpected situations – irate customers, someone being ill, lost children, people asking you where the lobsters are.  So asking people to do something completely unrelated to the role might well be seen as a test of their adaptability and flexibility.  Many people can talk a great game, but, as with several of the candidates mentioned here, can't actually cope with anything that nudges them even slightly out of their comfort zone.

    These people got embarrassed and upset just because they were asked to dance?  That would tend to make me think they're not going to handle unusual situations well on the shop-floor – probably the precise reaction that the exercise was designed to provoke.  It's a shame that Currys don't seem to have the courage of their convictions on this one.

  7. Give that man a job!

    If only the recruiting team had the same level of morals and respect for dignity as Alan; I think it's great he declined the second interview.

  8. Agreed.

    But the question is – who thought this was acceptable behaviour? Did this happen because line managers at Curry's didn't take recruitment seriously enough?

  9. No wonder he said no to a second chance

    Who in their right mind would want to work for a company that employes people who think this is acceptable behaviour.

    'The Office' is a TV show, NOT real life.

    In fact, most of what is on TV is not real life.

    When will people start to realise this very basic fact

  10. Remind me not to apply for a job there.

    Currys should make those employees dance all the way to the job centre – idiots!

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

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