Interview questions

“Think of a time that you were in a stressful situation at work, and tell me how you handled it.”

“What do you consider to be your weaknesses?”

“Tell me about a time you had to choose something else over doing a good job.”

“If you were an animal, what kind would it be and why?”

The interview question. I don’t even know what to say about the interview question. Does it matter? Can you gauge a person’s aptitude, willingness to work, good behavior, ethics, attention to detail, etc. off an interview? Human Resources departments would say yes, undoubtedly.

I’m not convinced. I’ve seen some slick monkeys give amazing answers to these questions. You know what slick monkeys use their slickness for in the workplace? Sliding out of responsibilities.

What’s an animal in the trenches? An elephant? A donkey? That’s not a sexy animal to be. (I didn’t mean to take the animal thing and run with it. But I grabbed the metaphor and it grabbed me back.)

But seriously – how can you gauge talent? It has to come down to a feeling. Sure, sometimes something slick will slide by you, and you won’t catch it until you’re undoing some mess  that’s been made. And, more often than not, you’ll be passing on honest-to-goodness qualified talent, because you just can’t hire everyone that would do a great job. You’re going to watch them get away, and you shouldn’t even give that a second thought.

I like the Google example in The Internship. In deciding whether to admit to seasoned (nee, old) out-of-work salesmen into the internship program, one of the reviewers asked, “Our final judgment is always based on the layover test, right? Who would you rather be stuck next to at an airport bar for a six-hour delay?”

Maybe that person is the next golden goose for your company, and that’s no bull… (I’m done, I swear.)


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