At Microtraining Plus, a Macintosh-training company in Norwalk, Conn., prospective trainers and salespeople need more than good interviewing skills and glowing references. "We're hiring people for their ability to get up in front of six people they don't know and present material," says CEO David Knise. Like an increasing number of CEOs, he requires job applicants to demonstrate their skills in a live performance.
Candidates give Microtraining's eight-member staff an hour-long presentation on any topic other than computers. "Because we're computer people, we'd focus too much on whether what [ applicants] say is right or wrong, instead of on their ability to teach," explains Knise. Among others, reports on the solar system and the instruments in an orchestra got thumbs up; attempts to teach Italian, in-line skating, and math were deemed unsuccessful. "We see how applicants organize their thoughts, whether they've given themselves enough time to cover the material, and whether they have overall command of the classroom," says Knise. He also notes whether candidates appear to be focusing on him during their talks (more confident people don't play to him as much) and how they react to disruptive participants.