Consulting jargon: Airport Test

By | April 19, 2013

DL 1512 Landed 463 Min Delay

Yes, I was delayed 7 hr and 45min on Wednesday night. My flight was scheduled for 4:45pm, and instead left at 12:30am. There were 58 people on the standby list.

During this horrific wait at O’Hare, I had the good fortune of traveling with a work colleague. We talked, worked, ate, complained, and generally kept each other from going crazy. It was like being trapped on an island for an episode of Man vs. Wild. We got so bored that we ate dinner twice: sushi at 6pm , then cheeseburgers at 9pm.

Recruiters look for “fit”. When picking new consultants, recruiters look for the basics (intellectual horse power, business acumen, academic success, polish etc), but they are also looking for fit. Fit with the company culture, fit with the team, and generally coolness. No one wants to work with overly intense, self-involved, or annoying people (especially if they are junior to you).  If they are your boss, hmm, might have to deal with that in a different post.

Airport Test:  Could I take being stuck with this person at the airport for 7 hours? 

My teammate is a good guy. We have worked together for 8+ years. He is easy going and a good person to hang out with, even at the dumb airport. He passed the airport test.

On some level, I must have passed the test too. My buddy looks over and said, “Thank goodness, you are not Sam (pseudonym). He’s usually unhappy and complaining even when the plane is on-time.”

Crazy idea: Judging from the divorce rate in the US, I wonder if the airport test is something we should make all engaged people go through. It would be a fast and less damaging way to find out if the couple has a good fit.

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2 thoughts on “Consulting jargon: Airport Test

  1. joseph.lemien@gmail.com

    I think that this is an excellent idea for a test! I often tell me friends how stressful it can be to travel (in the cheap style of backpackers) with another person precisely because you must spend so many hours everyday with the same person. But being stuck in an airport could really let you see what kind of person s/he is. Great!

    Reply
  2. Keith Lee

    Ugh. Being stuck at the airport that long is the worst. That really is a good yardstick for measuring compatibility.

    Reply

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