Saturday, March 18, 2006

TWQ: Job Interviews

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) goes into the awful world of job interviews:

What experience have you had with job interviews? Have you ever been asked a question which you just couldn't answer, or one where you would dearly love to give a sharp snappy answer?

This is my answer:

I'm hopeless at job interviews; I always seize up, and appear to have no knowledge of anything! The question that always invites a sharp answer is the inevitable "Where do you see youirself in five years?" Wouldn't we all like to say, "In your job, so that the maorale of this firm goes up."

Now it's over to you...

Just before you go..

I've been tagged by Wedge Antilles

Data didn't put the shields up, so here we go:

1: Favourite Chocolate: Belgian Truffles
2: Favourite Pizza Topping: Don't like pizza.
3: Favourite Food: Lasagnea
4: Favourite Cheese: West Country Farmhouse Mature
5: Favourite Pirate Phrase: "Hoist the Jolly Roger!"
6: Favourite Music Genre: Late '60's to early '70's.
7: Favourite Musical Artist: The Beatles
8: What are you listening to right now?: Nothing at all.
9: Favourite Movie Genre: Too varied.
10: Favourite Movie: The Hours
11: Favourite TV Show: 24
12: Favourite Console game: don't have one
13: Favourite Computer Game: Baldur's Gate (might be 'Oblivion' when it comes this week)
14: Favourite Board Game: Monopoly
15: Ever platy Dungeons & Dragons?: On the computer (see Baldur's Gate)
16: Where are the Cheetos? Use a replicator.
17: Can I have a Mountain Dew?: What's that?
18: Do you believe in a higher power?: Sure
19: How many of these quizzes have you ever taken, email or blogs, in your net-surfing career?: Too many.
20: On a scale of banana to zebra, banana being "pink polka-dotted slippers" and zebra being "WTF?", how surreal would a guy taking a shower in a tub full of brightly coloured wrenches and monochromatic cat toys be?: I'm sorry, I'll read that again.
21: Have any pets?: No
22: If yes on 21 what is the silliest thing you have seen them do?: Not a lot, since I don't have one.
23: You think Karnov should have ended this quiz 20 questions ago?: Is he the idiot who started this?
24: Ever Play 20 Questions?: Is it bigger than a breadbox? Sorry, I thought we were playing!
25: Think I get bored on my lunch breaks?: No, I get bored before my lunch break and afterwards.
26: Who would win in a fight between Mr. T, Chuck Norris, and that giant robot from that one goofy Beastie Boys Video?: I haven't seen the giant robot, but I would go for him as the other two must be getting on a bit.
27: Could you conceivably use a Terrabyte Harddisk?: Explain, please.
28: HAH! HAH! I ACTUALLY HAVE A 28th QUESTION!!1! (Unfortunately it is more of a statement.): You epitomize the concept of nerdism.
29: Paper or Plastic?: Paper can be recycled.
30: Who will you tag to take this quiz next?: Absolutely no one.


Karen said...

Well, the hardest one for me to answer is "What are your weaknesses?" Mostly because I get all geared up to say how great I am and then they want something else. So I try to say something like: "Well, my greatest weakness is doing everything too well..." which never comes out sounding right. It's just a dumb question.

Michele sent me. Have a great weekend!

Mitey Mite said...

I'm one of those who interviews well -- but then I'm in sales, so I'm supposed to be able to talk my way into anything! Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

i've actually only had three jobs since i was a teenager, so i have no experience at all with interviews. i can't even remember what my last interview was, it was well before i had my kids.


I have worked with many firms, big and small before and almost all the firms I have applied for usually have the same questions like....How much wage do you expect the company would give you? Isn't this crazy, as the interviewer knows how much they can afford. Of course, if only I could tell them enough to make me and family live comfortably, maybe they wouldn't have hired me.

Anonymous said...

I have an Irish quote on a recent post "I have never liked working. To me a job is an invastion of privacy."

Doing a job inteview is like trying to get someone we like to date us. We get sort of goofy.

It's been a while...but I usually do okay although the whole thing wears me out! I take notes before hand of what I want to remember to say. Even if I can't look at the notes it helps to have just done it.

here from michele's meet and greet.

Anonymous said...

i have got interview stories!!! as far as questions go -- people whose job it is to interview ask the same things basically -- that's ok. it's the others that don't normally interview that think they can do it well (?? egos ??). that's where my weirdest interviews come from. i've been asked pretty much all the "not supposed to be asked" questions (kids, marriage, gay, and do you mind watching my little sister and cleaning up after us?). about 25% are nightmares, 60% are ok and another 15% professional.

i also tend to get nervous -- lose my thoughts and vocabulary (they return, but usually when the interview is over!)

Chris W. said...

Colleen's Irish quote made me laugh silly!

I love job interviews, since I'm a bit of a ham when it comes to trying to impress. In fact, I usually ask some hard questions of the interviewer. Such as "If you really are considering me (2nd interview), how much of a chance is there for promotion from the position I'll be going into (even if I give 110%)... and can they even give me a roundabout figure on pay rate?

The only hard questions I've ever encountered is when you have the interviewer that likes to give an impossible problem for you to solve, simply to see how you think! I usually do ok in those.

It's actually been harder for me to be the interviewer. I'm a supervisor, and I haven't had to look for another job in seven years. I guess that's fortunate!

Rowan said...

I always end up being asked to come to work for people. Usually I end up interviewing them. Odd, huh?

Lori said...

One question I always have a hard time answering is...What can you do for this company??.....hmmmmm....WORK!!!...LOL

Have a great day!!!

Wedge Antillies said...

Speaking of interview and questions, you have just been tagged!

Anonymous said...

I hate interviews. My least favorite question is "What are your weaknesses?" Well, coming up with a good answer for that particular question is a weakness of mine.


Viamarie said...

This is my 3rd job and I am lucky not to have undergone job interviews because they were the ones who invited me to join them. I am the one doing the interviews and I don't ask the normal questions. Instead I just ask them to relate to me what they had been doing in their past employments and how they think they can apply what they have learned or experienced in our company.

utenzi said...

I've always thought my interviewing skills were pretty good, Jean-Luc, but from the fragments of feedback I've gotten over the years--I'm wrong about that. Apparently I come across poorly--at least to the 2 people who gave me feedback later on.

There's lots of questions I hate, and what are your strengths and weaknesses are two of the biggies. Asking where I hope to be 5 years from now isn't as bad for me--but in science research that's not a hard one to field.

Michele sent me, Captain.

Anonymous said...

I hate Job interviews too. That was the nice thing about doing 20 years in the Air Force, no job interviews!!!

Michele sent me over.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree with Colleen; job interviews are like asking someone to date us. We are selling ourselves to the individuals. Tricky.

kimbofo said...

I tend to be the one doing the interviewing, rather than being the interviewee these days, but rest assured I have never asked the 'what do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?' one. I have, however, asked the strength and weakness one, although I usually phrase it, 'what do you think you need to work harder at' because we can all improve in some area of our working lives and it's always a good insight into someone's character: will they answer honestly or bluff their way through. A word of warning though, never say your weakness is always striving to be perfect. It's such a blah answer!!

Good luck. You will be fine. Be confident, dress smartly, answer in a clear voice (no mumbling) and look your interviewee in the eye. Whatever you do, don't YAWN or stare out the window. It's one way to guarantee you won't get the job!

Oh, and before I forget, Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

hi Jean,

Michele sent me....

I have to say that I am great in job interviews!!!!

:) N heheheh

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Lovely responses to the tag, good sir.

I've had my fair share of bad interviews, let me tell you about one!

I studied public relations in college, I was a pretty good writer and I wanted to use that ability in the corporate world. Unfortunately, like so many others, I didn't sell myself so well on many interviews.

I was at the end of a PR internship with NEC and I interviewed for a small firm. The interview didn't go well and I got more and more flustered as it progressed, but then we got to the dreaded "where do you want to be in 5 years?" question. I seriously didn't have a good answer for that because I had been concentrating on getting a real job in the here and now, so I told him that. He didn't like it, so I told him that I wanted to be an account manager workinh my way towards a supervisory role. He didn't like that either, so I told him that my future plans include a family, which I didn't have at that point.

He still didn't like that, and he gave me an example of someone he hired right away after he said that he wanted to be a rock star -- See he wanted something "outside the box." So I told him that I really wanted to get into imrpov comedy and he said "like stand up?" and I siad no, like improv groups such as Second City. He still couldn't understand what I was saying.

I should have just said that I wanted to be a rock star, too.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Oh yeah, he said that I had to write and email him a really good letter if I stood a chance of getting hired. Did I mention that my computer was broken at the time? No matter, I put together a letter explaining very well in three parts that I may have lacked experience, but I had enthusiasm. I concluded the letter by saying that if I'm ever asked again where I wanted to be in 5 years, I would deffinietely answer rock star.

Juggling Mother said...

I have to say I hate pretty much all the questions - two biggies would be the weaknesses one - umm, lets think up some good weaknesses - whta's that all aboiut? everyone lies anyway!

and the "why do you want this job" one. Because you'll pay me you idiot!

Still, as I am currently failing to even achieve the interview stage of my any applications, it' not much of an issue:-(

Here from micheles today.

Anonymous said...

I just had a job interview last week actually. They had THREE PAGES of questions. No joke. I was mostly just tired of talking by the end. My least favorite question is "Tell us of a time when you were unsuccessful at work and what did you do about it?" It is hard to spin that to a positive.
Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

I work in education, and interviewers are fond of asking what qualities a good teacher should have.

So I give them a couple of stock answers: patience, organization, etc. And then I tell them that the most important skill a teacher can have is good peripheral vision.

It's a pretty good icebreaker.

Michele sent me.

kenju said...

I have only had one job interview since I was about 23 years old. I had one about 3 years ago, when I interviewed with a florist who wanted me to work part-time, and I just took my portfolio in and let it speak for itself.

If I had to have a corporate interview right now, I would probably be uncomfortable, since I have been either out of the wrok-force or seelf-employed for so many years.

Michele sent me. You don't like pizza???

Anonymous said...

I hate the questions about where I see myself in 5 or more years. Bleh. I also think it's lame when you're asked, "What are your weaknesses?" Who's going to say, "I'm chronically late" ? I always said I was too hard on myself and am not good with delegation because I think it's easier just to do things myself. Those things are true, but they don't necessarily convey something negative to the interviewer.

I have to tell you about this interview. I got it because I was referred by a big whig in town--let's say his name was Joe Schmoe. When I showed up for the interview, I was treated like a QUEEN. They wined and dined me, I was introduced to everyone in the office--and everybody seemed excited to meet me. NOT your typical interview. Eventually, the took me to a room that had pictures of some race car driver all over them. (Apparently, he's famous, but I don't do NASCAR.) Somebody said, "You'll recognize that guy!"

I asked, "Who is he?"

They looked stunned.
"That's Joe Schmoe! We're one of his sponsors!" someone said.
"That's not the Joe Schmoe I know. The one who referred me is President of Schmoe Incorproated here in town--not a race car driver."
They realized who I was talking about. They looked dejected. We said goodbye. I didn't get the job.

Suzanne said...

I hate it when they ask what kind of salary am I looking for? Because what I want to say is somewhere in the 6 figures, but alas, that isn't going to happen. ha

-tnchick- said...

i haven't had much experience with job interviews so... i guess that's a good thing, for me anyway

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Lame questions always call for lame answers.

Great story, Surcie.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, go Beatles! "Everybody's got something to hide...cept for me and my monkey!"

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