Squeaky Toys, Dogs and Interviews

Most of my clients would probably tell you that I have seen everything there is to see when it comes to interviewing candidates. I will tell you this just isn’t true. People in general continue to surprise me, even more so during the interview process. This past week, I encountered a “first” when interviewing a candidate. While conducting a phone interview with an applicant for a high-level position, his dog barked consistently in the background. To attempt to keep the dog quiet, the gentleman used a squeaky toy to try to distract the dog, which of course, only excited the dog more. Squeak! Squeak! Bark! Bark! “I am definitely the best fit for this role!” he yelled over the barking dog.

I am all about having dogs. I love them and support companies that allow employees to bring their dogs to work. Studies have shown that dogs help de-stress their owners and I am always an advocate for a less stressful workplace. I also believe in taking excellent care of our beloved pets by providing all the squeaky toys that they can handle.

Do I believe that dogs belong in an interview for employment? No, I do not.

An interview is a first impression. We are evaluating a candidates’ ability to focus, to think on their feet, and to listen to the questions asked. If they are busy playing with their dog during an interview, they are telling their potential employer that they are less concerned about you and more concerned with their four-legged friend. It may also be a sign they will become distracted easily. If this occurs during one of your interviews for an A-list employee, I recommend a hard pass.