Saturday, May 10, 2008

Interviewers ask the darndest questions!

Interviews are stressful enough as it is, but some interviewers can be sadists. This post in the Chronicle of Education "On Hiring" blog really brings to mind some of the bizarre and bewildering interview experiences I'm sure we've all had. There are a ton of questions everyone dreads, so I've broken them down into several categories.

1) Questions that we knew were coming but that we still don't have a good answer for.
Examples:
  • Name your greatest accomplishment. Besides being able to name all 150 Pokemon? I can't think of anything else. ...Oh well, hope you're a fan.
  • What is your greatest weakness? So you want me to tell you why you shouldn't pick me? I don't think so.
  • Why are you interested in this school? Because it's ranked #1 in the nation? Because your brochures are 50% glossier than than that other school's? Because... wait, which school am I interviewing for again?
2) Questions that ask you how to do things you don't actually know how to do.
Examples:
  • How do they get the sugar coating on M&M's to be so smooth? And how do they print that tiny m on millions and billions of M&M's? They have little elves to do it for them? If I knew, don't you think I'd have opened up my own plant by now?
  • If you wanted to get more students interested in computer science, what would you do? [I actually got this one. Gave a totally flustered answer. She pointed out some quite obvious flaws. I didn't get in.]
  • What problems do you see with the world today, and how would you solve them if selected for this program? Okay, that's it, I'm leaving.
3) Questions that supposedly test how we think on our feet... but really just prove that interviewers get bored too.
Examples:
  • If I gave you an elephant right now, what would you do? Uh. Leave?
  • So... tell me about your childhood. Actually, can we skip straight to the inkblots?
  • Teach me how to do something, step-by-step. Well you go like this, and the rabbit goes through the hole... I think...
  • Describe yourself with a single four-letter word. Is it important that I keep this PG? How about... 'sane'?
  • What would you like to see on your tombstone? Dearly beloved. You will be missed by family, friends, and your pet elephant.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you gave me a pet elephant, I'd threaten to sic it on you unless you give me this position.

Twynne said...

Remind you of AD somewhat?

Lillian Zhou said...

@anonymous
Hmm... or perhaps you could join a circus with your new elephant and earn your living that way?

@twynne
What a pretty name! Almost like a real English word. Let's see... what's AD? Should I comment just to ask what AD is? Or is this a reference for the more pop culturally aware than I? Maybe I should wikipedia it. Let's see, it's not Anno Domini or Alzheimer's Disease. Probably not "American Dad!" Or maybe it's Academic Dec... ohhhhhhhhhh.

Anyway, to answer your question: no, actually, it doesn't. I was only in Academic Decathlon as an alternate, so I never had any interviews. Were you ever asked about elephants?