Okay, so you’re probably tired of viral this and viral that. But I’d be crazy not to share this one—especially when it falls so neatly into the realm of hiring.

I wanted to share this fake interview with you because I know you’ll bring a critical eye to it. The video below is the result of a job ad for “Director of Operations” that managed to secure 24 unsuspecting interviewees. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do so. I’ll wait.


**SPOILER ALERT** Do not read until you have watched the full video.


As you now probably realize, I'm posting this because of this weekend's holiday. Happy Mother's Day!

But first, my two cents: it’s a little less charming when you find out it’s an ad for a greeting card company. (And when it indirectly perpetuates the notion that child-rearing is only something that women can/should do). But I admit that I get swept into the emotional rush of it. And when you watch it again -- sort of like watching a Sixth Sense a second time -- there's a lot of nuanced humor in it. The use of the word “associate” for “kid” is brilliant.

But as real hiring managers and recruiters who conduct real interviews, let’s pick this video apart for a moment. Obviously, none of your interviews end with a "Surprise!" But overall, were the details and context surrounding the interview believable? How well did the pranksters do?

How Believable Was the Interviewer? Rudeness

Listing Duties / Not Asking Questions

Would you start by listing off an endless stream of duties—“Constantly on your feet, constantly bending over, constantly exerting yourself... 135 hours to unlimited hours a week”? Even if the duties presented were doable (unlike these), would you list them off at the beginning of the interview, or would you immediately engage in conversation with the candidate? Shouldn't we assume the candidate is already aware of the minimum requirements, having responded to the job ad and been invited to interview? Also, I find it extremely odd that at no point does he actually get around to asking the applicants any questions!


Why does he take a phone call at the beginning? “Hi, good afternoon, sorry about that,” he apologizes to the applicants, hanging up the phone just as the video interview begins. Since both parties generally have to click "accept" to begin a video call, it's strange that he couldn't wait until his call was over? Is this little act supposed to make the role of the harried, multitasking hiring manager more believable? Is rudeness more believable than politeness? Or did the pranksters want the applicants to start off feeling disconnected and disrespected so they’d be more willing to retaliate on camera against the impossible demands of the job? (And thus make for a better video?)

Condescension / Inflation of Importance

Do hiring managers tend to inflate the level of importance of a job? “It’s not just a job, it’s sort of—probably the most important job,” he says, holding back a smile. “Responsibilities and requirements are really quite extensive.” Here, he implies that the candidates have no idea what they're in for. That they may have underestimated the job. It's a way of making the company seem super important. Does this actually happen?

How Believable Were the Interviewees?

We are told that these are real applicants who believe they are in the running for a job, not actors and actresses hired for a greeting card ad. Yet, did they behave as you would have expected them to, based on the kinds of experience you've had with real interview subjects?

Incredulity / Reaction

When red flags go up, their response is to ask questions, imply that he was exaggerating, roll their eyes, furrow their brows, and look confused. Some escalated that to “No!” or “That’s crazy!” Still, unless it was edited out, none of them actually stood up, dusted themselves off and said, “No thanks, I already know this job isn’t for me.” Why waste time when you know it's the wrong fit? Have you ever had a candidate leave for that reason? Were you annoyed or did you thank them for their honesty? I suspect at some level after "the big reveal" they felt disappointed that they were taken away from their daily responsibilities, made to put on a button-up and given the hope of a job, only to be used as the butt of a prank/tearjerker. If they were, they didn't show it.

Body Language

Some of the applicants seem unprofessional, like the young woman who swivels around in her chair when saying "Hi, nice to meet you"--and this is before they feel outrage about the job. One guy fixes his hair and neglects to greet the interviewer with a smile. How common is this? After they become more and more uncomfortable, of course, their body language goes downhill, becoming more transparent--scratching at the neck, looking away uncertainly, frowning. How often are you able to tell that the applicant actually doesn't want the job? And do you end the interview early?

Aren't They Forgetting Someone?

Nobody gave Dad a shoutout? Even after giving Mom a special monologue of gratitude? Hmm. That doesn't seem real. (But again, it could have been edited out). Or maybe the company has another viral video in store for Father's Day. But actually, Budweiser already beat them to the punch with this parody.

Tags: News, Mother's Day, Director of Operations, Fake interview, A Sixth Sense