The Layover Test
In a recent conversation with a friend who works in consultancy, they described some of the modern methods of selecting candidates adopted by firms.

Among these was the layover test.  At first, I didn’t know what this meant.  As it was described to me, I realized we have a similar phrase in the UK, but we call it the pub test.  The premise is simple.  Would you be comfortable stranded with this person at an airport during a layover?  In the British sense, it means could I have a beer with this person.

When I worked in the UK Parliament, and the office was a team of 3, each person needed to pass the test.  When you’re spending large amounts of time with people and depend on them for team projects, the layover test is essential.  It also reflects their ability to talk with external stakeholders, customers, and be a public face for their organization.

Here are some tips to pass the layover test in your interview:

1. Treat everyone during the process as if they’re your interviewer

Everyone’s impression of you during the interview process matters.  Have a conversation with the receptionist in the lobby and ask about their day.  If you meet other members of staff, introduce yourself and greet them as you would a new colleague.  If you take a break during the process or have lunch, use the opportunity to the other candidates.

2. Hold conversations about more than politics or work

Those of us who work in the conservative movement live and breathe it every day.  We’re passionate about our success but we have lives outside of it. No one wants to work with an obsessive politico who doesn’t have a life outside of politics.  Talk about sports, your weekend plans, books you like, movies, etc.   Someone who can engage in interesting topics beyond work are like a breath of fresh air.

3. Smile and engage in humor

Interviews are serious, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for light humor.  Let the interviewer take the lead on this and don’t be afraid to meet humor with humor if prompted.  Smiling is infectious and makes you pleasant to be around.  Nobody wants to go to work every day with someone who drains the fun out of the office.

4. Show interest in your interviewer and thank them

Going into any interview with questions is an absolute must!  It serves two purposes; firstly, it shows a genuine interest in the company you want to work for.  Secondly, you give the interviewer a chance to share their experiences too.  Ask them what their favorite thing about working there is, what skills they’ve learned from the job, what challenges they’ve faced, etc.  Also, send a thank you note to your interviewer promptly after the meeting to show a genuine appreciation for their time.

5. Be conscious of your body language and general persona

This is a polite way of saying don’t be weird!   What that means is shower and brush your teeth the morning of your interview, don’t ask weird questions about their personal life, and respect people’s personal space.  You should be confident in your demeanor, stand up straight, look them in the eye, and smile.  If you’re worried about the ways you alienate people, ask a good friend to tell it to you straight.

Passing the layover test shouldn’t stress you out.   All you need to do is be friendly, courteous, and the person interviewers could see themselves going to the pub with.