Thursday, November 13, 2008

Those Tricky Interview Questions

I had a job interview today. My daughter warned me to be prepared for tricky interview questions, so I spent last evening reading up on them. I was ready to tell my prospective employers what kind of a car I'd like to be (if I had to be a car), who my role model is, and how my friends would probably describe me. In addition, I was prepared to describe my finest accomplishment (besides my children, of course), demur when asked about my previous boss's faults, and deflect any concerns that I might be overqualified.

I got to do none of those things. The interview was straightforward. Everything related to the job, and everything made perfect sense. How disappointing!

In the process of doing my research, I ran across this list of undesirable qualities in a job applicant.

* Too self-assured
* Too aggressive
* Too domineering
* Critical of previous companies and superiors
* Non-enthusiastic
* Cold
* Badly dressed
* Non-eye contact
* Too much talking
* Being unprepared
* Being late for interviews

Let's see if we can provide some examples, shall we?

* Too self-assured
"I knew you'd give me an interview, you sucker."

* Too aggressive
"I hope you don't mind if I share your chair."

* Too domineering
"Why yes--I always wear thigh-high boots and carry a whip. Stand up when I talk to you!"

* Critical of previous companies and superiors
"My last boss? Pond scum, I tell you!"

* Non-enthusiastic
"I'm sorry. I didn't hear a word you said. I was thinking about lunch."

* Cold
"No, you may not call me Susan."

* Badly dressed
"If you were up on current fashion trends, you'd know that lots of people wear jammies to work. May I have my bunny slippers back now, please?"

* Non-eye contact
"Mmmmm . . . what?"

* Too much talking
". . . so when I realized I'd be interviewed here I called my girlfriend to see if she wanted to do some shopping afterward, but she had to go to Middletown to visit her son at college because he ran out of money—apparently he has a gambling problem, which we think he inherited from his deadbeat father, who was only active as a parent for three years before he took off with a dental hygienist--who works just down the road, by the way. Do you know Dr. Flatko?"

* Being unprepared
"Very nice to meet you, Mr. Rockwell . . . excuse me? You're not Mr. Rockwell? Oh, sorry . . . Mr. Anderson? Oops--not him either?"

* Being late for interviews
"I did it again, huh? Trust me, I always want to be on time, but stuff happens, ya know? I'm sure you've been late, right?"

Good luck to all my fellow job hunters.

10 comments:

Doma said...

Thanks for the tips, Susan! (And what not to do!)

Helen said...

I love it, especially that too much talking one. But don't envy you. What kind of job is it? I hope someday they come up with an alternative to the interview process, as long as it doesn't involve a singing or dancing audition.

Dona said...

Oops -- misspelled my own name!

Susan said...

That's okay, Doma/Dona--the more comments, the merrier! :-)

Helen, the job is an assistant at a university library. Evenings. I'd be the only employee in the building, which isn't exactly what I'd envisioned.

JH said...

Haha! I love the "too aggressive" one. Good luck on the job hunt.

crystal said...

Good luck with the job. Working in a library sounds kind of ok, especially a college library. I spent many a night there when I was a student and once got stuck for half an hour in the school library elevator :)

J Penny said...

That brightened my day - thanks! My experience as an interviewer includes those candidates who answer their mobile phones while in the middle of the interview and then whisper into them they can't talk now, go on to discuss why and then promise to phone back as soon as they are finished! They don't get invited back for a second interview! Jokes aside, it really is down to your preparation before the job interview. A good way to prepare for a job interview is to use this interview checklist and make sure you have everything covered. Interview Checklist.

Susan said...

Thanks, JP--I'll be sure to consult that list next time. It suggests bringing pen and paper to make notes. I'm surprised I didn't do that--mostly because as a reporter I always had a notebook with me (and a camera).

Indigo Bunting said...

Oh, this made me laugh. Thanks, Susan!

Adam Byrn "Adamus" Tritt said...

I do not do not do not miss job interviews.

After I retired from teaching the state of Florida and the County of Brevard insisted I had not and ordered me, yes, ORDERED me to report to a 'post' (school) for an interview. I listened to the VP for a while, answer negatively to all the things I was supposed to do, and finally stated that I was finished with the interview. it had been fun, but the fun was over.

"Mr. Tritt, I don't think you understand, you have been assigned here. We have not been interviewing you."

"Of course not. I have been interviewing you. And you don't get me. You'll need to offer your fine job to someone else. I do not wish to accept you as my employer."

I found all interviews went better with that attitude.