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Interviews At A Mental Health Clinic

The head of AAA Mental Health Services found the clinic had more clients than the therapy staff could counsel. Following the placement of ads in the professional press and the examination of the resulting resumes, he began conducting interviews.

He explained to each candidate that the clinic needed people who were thoughtful observers. He wanted someone who sees beyond what people say, incorporating subtle clues such as body language, tone of voice, facial expression, and intuitive insight into their awareness of those they counsel.

He stressed that this was an important job requirement and asked each candidate, "For example, what have you noticed during this interview?"

The first candidate responded immediately. "You don't have any ears!"

While that observation was accurate, the interviewer found the comment too blunt and abrupt and sent the candidate on his way.

The next candidate was more circumspect, but nonetheless commented, "I'm not sure why, and I'm confident there is a good explanation for it -- that is, if I knew what it was I'm sure I'd find it acceptable...but, for some reason or other, it appears something happened to your ears. You are -- how shall I say it? -- earless."

The interviewer dismissed this candidate also -- the way the observation was made seemed too mealy mouthed and diffident.

After several more similar incidents, a candidate commented casually, "You're wearing contact lenses."

"That's remarkable," said the interviewer. "You are just the kind of person we're looking for. The job is yours."

After settling the details of employment, the interviewer came back to the issue. "By the way, how were you able to observe that I wear contact lenses? Did the angle of the light reveal their edges? Did I touch my lower eyelids tentatively? Did you see a lens case on my desk? How did you know?"

"None of those," the new employee replied. "Glasses wouldn't stay on your face. You don't have any ears."



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Copyright 1996-2006 William W. Snow



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