The Big Lebowski: Are You Employed, Sir?

The Dude: Employed?

The Big Lebowski: You don’t go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a


The Dude: Is this a… what day is this?

The Big Lebowski: Well, I do work sir, so if you don’t mind…

The Dude: I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this

aggression will not stand, man.

This classic scene landed in my TV via Netflix, but The Big Lebowski  is leaving the streaming service next month, so if you need to see the film again, get there.

Point is, it’s brilliant. On so many levels. But because we’re here to talk about all things employee background screening, staffing, drug testing, background-check-related; let’s discuss why this aggression will not stand in an interview. Man.

When I started researching about aggression and job interviews, news came from one end of the spectrum and it wasn’t in the job candidate’s favor.

Not entirely sure whom to side with here.

I’ve been the employer with a stack of resumes and days, sometimes weeks, of  rigorous interviewing ahead. I’ve employed staffing agencies when my company needed temporary warehouse workers to pick and pack in the style of Amazon. I get how time consuming and frustrating the entire process can be. The rewards of putting a strong team together is also worth mentioning.

Regardless, I will always remember a time lacking startups and a job market dried up by a recession. It was seriously, seriously,  hard finding a job. It led to some pretty unacceptable behavior.

Another lifetime ago, I worked in entertainment, at a production company responsible for such hits as Seinfeld, Shawshank Redemption, Miss. Congeniality. You get the picture. It was my first legit job out of college. I stayed with the company almost 3 years, which is unheard of and even discouraged amongst young professionals at the moment.

The company’s legacy carried me into many interviews years later. Some good, some were unacceptable. One was a call from casting agent demanding I hand over my contacts, prior to even meeting me.

The aggression from the other end of that phone still rattles me to this moment.

In the vein of the Dude, I’d like to demonstrate how we all can all learn a little something about energy, while remembering the job market is alive and thriving.

So pour yourself a White Russian, throw on your favorite robe, and call up your bowling buddies because it’s Friday and time to start reciting wisdom from The Big Lebowski.

“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

  — The Dude

The candidate steps in, sits down and says hello. 9 out of 10 times, they’ve done a little prep to get here. Researched the company, you even. They probably have questions based on this research.

Imagine how it feels, when you look at them with a blank stare, don’t have a clue to their name, apologize, then scramble to find their resume, clicking through your inbox.

It’s not a good look. You won’t be scoring any points here. The Dude minds.

“This is a very complicated case Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.”   — The Dude

Interviews are nerve-wracking. There’s a lot on the line, most times. And most of the information out there is telling candidates, don’t do this, don’t do that. Negativity about your last employer will be interpreted as…

I understand this logic. But how about this: creating a safe space for the candidate to express their genuine opinion on why past experiences did not sit well. You’ll learn a lot more about them this way. And the perception of a good fit will probably be more accurate, when you learn later what matters to them.

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”  — The Dude

This one is pretty straight forward, but that’s the beauty of the Lebowski psyche; it’s simple. And true.

As the interviewer, there is often an unspoken power. We have a job to offer, it includes money, you appear to need it or something else I’m offering here. Experience. For example. Not judging. I’m guilty of this, it’s natural cadence the scene often demands.

But it leads to bad behavior. Aggression, even. The opinion that things have always been done one way, or that a new perspective is not valuable, has expired.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”— The Dude

You should clearly know where this is going, but here I’m reminded of the best interview advice I received from a retail manager, familiar with the intricacies of high employee turnover. Before embarking on a round of  interviews together, she turned and told me to listen. Simple enough. She then explained that people will dig themselves into a hole if that’s where they’re going.

Got it? Okay, let’s go bowling.