Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"Tell me about yourself..."

Top 10 Interview Questions.

As someone who has had *ahem* jobs, and therefore a LOT of interviews, I consider myself an expert in this, actually. And I have helped coach a few friends through the interview process. 3rd career calling?

The usual suspects:
1. Tell me about yourself. It's not really a question, but a directive, and it's usually what everyone screws up. This is the point in the interview that you let everything fly out that they aren't allowed to ask you: I'm Sally, married, 3 kids, etc... Nope this should be your "elevator pitch": I'm a hard working, diligent widget maker, with a proven track record of applying continual improvement processes in widget making for 15 years.
2. What are your strengths/weaknesses? Has anyone ever said "I'm lazy and take really long lunch breaks" when asked this one? I work too hard and love my job too much. I'm pretty terrible at time management, so I tend to be honest and tell them time management is something that I continually work to improve (note: i don't tell them the starting point, do I?)
3. Describe how you got here in 10 steps or less. Okay, so this gets to a particular type of interview that I normally encounter: logic and reasoning. This actually tells you a lot about how someone thinks and if they can break down their thought process into constituent steps. Good for scientists, not really needed for dock workers.
4. What motivates you? Money. What motivates you?

And now a few of my faves from interviews I've been on....
5. If you could be a small kitchen appliance, which would you be?
...Kitchen Aid mixer b/c I like to stir things up?
6. What quality do you most admire about your pet?
... her ability to sleep 20 hours a day?
7. Can you name the hierarchy of our R&D team?
2nd question... hadn't met anyone yet!
8. We may require that you work overnight, weekends, or holidays without notice... how flexible are you?
umm... well... no notice? None at all?
9. Explain why you should replace me in this position?
1.5 hours into the interview, I found out she had been let go and was staying on for two weeks to find her replacement.
10. Create a fictional product within our product line and pitch it to me.
last question from a start-up company that interviewed me at Starbucks. No product line. No business plan.


  1. I've conducted lots of interviews but haven't been interviewed myself a ton of times since I tend to stay put. Its interesting to think of it from both sides.

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