Given his Dark Side predilections, Darth Vader does better conducting job interviews than most people could ever hope to. As we’ll see in this post, our beloved Dark Lord of the Sith takes both his legal and his ethical responsibilities seriously.
So what can we learn from Darth Vader’s interview technique, as it applies to Luke Skywalker’s application for the role of Sith Apprentice/Galactic Employee?
First of all, during any job interview, the person conducting the interview has certain legal obligations to be aware of during the process. These obligations come in addition to other considerations, such as interview style, gathering of information about the applicant, and providing information about the job itself.
But what are some other practical considerations?
Setting the Location and Time for Job Interviews
Make sure your applicant knows when and where the interview will take place. Any details about where to park, which door to enter, and who to speak with initially should be addressed in the pre-interview communications.
Darth Vader meets all these requirements with ease. He’s aware of Luke Skywalker’s Force sensitivity and his relationship with Han Solo—a known smuggler and criminal—so Darth Vader arranges for a rather intense series of interactions with Han Solo and the burning end of an enhanced interrogation technique. Solo’s screams of pain echo through the Force and reach Luke on Dagobah, thereby providing the exact location for the upcoming job interview. Darth Vader is flexible on the precise start time, but his torture-based communique adequately conveys the need for timeliness.
Once Luke Skywalker arrives at Cloud City, he’s carefully directed to the location of the first part of the interview process at the carbon freezing chamber, where Darth Vader awaits him. This type of ease and efficiency helps set a professional tone for the conversation to come.
Consider Setting Up Working Job Interviews
These days especially, a working job interview may be the best method of ascertaining a potential employee’s skills. Far more can be learned in observing an applicant’s abilities under pressure and real-world situations than from mere questions at a conference room table.
Darth Vader’s efforts here deserve real praise. Since the essential functions of the position for Sith Apprentice involve Force sensitivity, lightsaber skills, and roiling anger and despair, Vader arranges the interview to test each of those skills in succession (and, sometimes, simultaneously).
Observe how the Dark Lord deliberately provokes the applicant in a controlled and measured manner. Vader’s breathing remains steady and calm throughout, but he pushes Luke to respond to new stimuli. First, the lightsaber clashes test Luke’s ability to adapt to a changing environment, whether on steps, in the carbon freezing chamber, in front of a curiously fragile window leading to a great void, and on a narrow walkway above a fall without end. Vader probes Luke’s strengths and weaknesses, all while offering up encouragement (“Impressive! Most impressive!”) and praise (“Obi-Wan has taught you well.”). These types of comments provide confidence to the applicant and avoids a more Forceful form of correction.
Test for Emotional Stability
A key feature of any successful employee is emotional stability as to the particular job. So ask yourself, as Vader did, what are the key emotional traits needed for this position?
Anger, fear, and hate form the solid emotional foundation for any Sith Apprentice. Ambition, lust for power, and a penchant for violence when needed are also essential.
Watch how Vader masterfully pushes the applicant mentally and physically to find out whether these features and skills even exist within Luke. In your own interview, plan out some questions or activities, such a lightsaber duel or unexpected revelation that you’re the applicant’s father, as a means of testing emotional stability.
Disclosing Conflict of Interests/Nepotism
That leads us to another key question, that of conflict of interest. Although for legal purposes we would have preferred Darth Vader to reveal up front the nature of a potential conflict of interest by the applicant’s father, we understand dramatically why he felt the need to wait.
But if there are concerns that a conflict of interest may exist, it’s always wise to run that potential conflict by your employment lawyer or supervisor, just to make sure that all involved are aware and can account for that in the ultimate decision.
Here, Darth Vader’s direct supervisor was Emperor Palpatine, and the Emperor was well-aware of the conflict of interest inherent in this interview process. Indeed, it appears that the father/son relationship was perhaps a primary motivating factor in the decision to grant the job interview in the first place.
But Here Are Some Don’t’s for Any Job Interview
However, Darth Vader did make some mistakes that may prove to be helpful teaching moments.
First, limit discussion of religion during the job interview. While Force-sensitivity is a bona fide occupational qualification of a Sith Apprentice, the discussion of religion is not. Jediism is recognized as a religious belief by the Galactic Empire, but as we all know, Force-sensitivity is governed by the midi-chlorians in your bloodstream and is thus a medical feature, not a religious one. Darth Vader’s frequent comments about Luke’s Jedi training and teachers rubs a little close to inquiry into his religious beliefs and upbringing, and raises the prospect of a religious discrimination claim in the future.
(But kudos for Darth Vader in not requesting a midi-chlorian blood test prior to a formal offer of employment being made. Clearly he’s been prepped on the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.)
Second, avoid causing injury to the applicant. Look, I get why Vader feels the need to push job interviews in that direction, but when the interview ends with the applicant unable to shake hands as you part ways, then we’ve gone a little too far. Further, now we’re into the realm of tort claims for assault and maybe even a worker’s compensation claim.
Third—no, no third issue. Those are the only two things I can think that Darth Vader may want to reconsider on future job interviews.
Conclusions and Takeaways for Future Job Interviews
We can draw truth and wisdom from nearly any situation, if we’re willing to look closely. Here, I offer up Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, as a prime example of how best to conduct job interviews under difficult conditions.
For employers, if you have any questions about your legal obligations during the job interview process, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local employment lawyer for guidance.
For employees, if the job interviewer chops off your hand, you may want to discuss your own legal options with an employment lawyer. Or not. Up to you.
After all, we can’t Force you.