An friend of mine is a pre-eminent legal scholar; as such, he often serves on review panels for prestigious fellowships, interviewing the semi-finalist and finalist candidates one-on-one as they begin the toughest part of the process. As anyone who has been in that interview chair knows, it is an intense and nerve-wracking experience. Earlier this year, my scholar friend was part of the interview panel of one of the more highly regarded fellowships of the legal world. . .and he took ZonnenBoxen® along.
He placed a few of the blocks in a variety of colors--though mostly blues--on the table between himself and the candidate’s chair ( I am told the ambient light was quite bright, so the blocks were really glowing). While he never referred to nor mentioned the ZonnenBoxen®, he observed the candidates’ reactions throughout the interviews and has subsequently shared a few of those observations with me:
• One candidate could scarcely keep his eyes off them; he often had to pull his gaze back to making the appropriate eye contact for the interview.
• Another candidate was also clearly drawn to them; she hesitatingly and repeatedly put a hand out as if to touch the blocks, but remembering the situation she was in, never quite did.
• A third candidate looked longingly at them during the interview process; after it was concluded, he touched them and asked what they were.
Whether they were touched or not, what my friend states is that in every single case, the ZonnenBoxen® had some kind of calming effect.
As an experiment, he has proposed to me that the next time he serves on such a panel, he casually allows the blocks to be touched or held---much like coffee table toys---by the candidates during the interview. His thought, of course, is that the calmer a candidate is, the more natural the interview will be.
I am grateful to my friend for this informal experiment and his observations; I look forward to his next report.