Wednesday, December 10, 2008

5 Job Interview Questions That Mean You’re Not Getting Hired…And One That Means You Are

Over the years I’ve worked for a couple of great companies and several mediocre to awful ones. Of the business skills I developed during this time, one of the few I feel qualified to speak on at length is the job interview process.

I have lost count of the number of interviews I’ve done, both applying to new companies and changing jobs within a company. I can say with confidence that in our Capitalist system, job interviews are the most unpleasant, stressful, and awkward part of employment. At best they are a necessary evil.

Many job consultants and books that discuss the “hidden job market” agree that the best way to find a job is to bypass the interview process altogether, usually by finding someone at a company who can hire you directly. Most people, though, have to do a standard interview in order to get their foot in the door.

Job interviewing is a ritual in our society, and as with any ritual there are prescribed behavioral patterns. Interview locations, dress codes, and demeanor are all fairly standardized by industry. So are the kinds of questions asked of interviewees.

This article focuses on a particular kind of interview question, what I call the “Not Getting Hired” question. I call it that for two reasons: One, because these questions have become such a routine part of the interview process that the person asking it rarely pays attention to the answer (and for good reason, as I’ll explain later). Two, because no matter how a job applicant answers the question, the information doesn't address the key issue in any employment search. If anything, the only real function these questions serve is to decrease your chances of getting the job.

The Questions

“Tell me about yourself.”

This is the vague, open-ended catch-all of interview questions. Supposedly, this is the candidate’s opportunity to “wow” the interviewer with a brilliant opening salvo, convincing them that by hiring you, they will get someone who will stand by them through thick or thin, hell or high water, putting the love of company above all else as the next chapter of a brilliant career is written.

Actually, this question is just time-filler. It does serve some purpose – it’s a general test to see if you can string two or more sentences together. If you respond without fainting or vomiting all over yourself, congratulations, you have passed the bare minimum requirements for social interaction. Other than that, this is a question much better suited to a blind date than a job interview.

A variation on this question is the interview that starts out with the interviewer sitting down with you, reading your resumé for the first time, and asking “It says here you worked at _______. Can you tell me about that?”

It’s a given that in the vast majority of cases the interviewer and job candidate don’t know each other. If they did, there probably would be no need for an interview. And yet, while someone may have spent hours (or days) preparing for this conversation, in the above scenario it’s clear that the interviewer hasn't even taken five minutes to look at the applicant's paperwork before they sat down together. Knowing that, what are the real chances the interviewer is prepared to make a hiring decision?

This scenario happens a lot in larger companies where the person who makes the decision to hire or reject you is not the person who set up the interview. Often you are one of a conga line of job applicants some middle-manager is obliged to sit down with as part of the daily routine.

It’s safe to say that if the employment decision-maker has nothing to inquire about except vague generalities about your existence, you’re probably not being seriously considered for the job.

“What are your biggest flaws?”

Ideally, your answer to this question reveals valued traits of self-awareness, maturity, honesty and humility, right?

In my estimation, there’s no real reason for anyone to ask you this question. The more time you spend answering it is basically giving the interviewer more reasons not to hire you.

Also, consider that some of the biggest jackasses in history spend their lives gainfully employed despite their glaring flaws, the same shortcomings you are being asked to lay out for your prospective employer before you have spent one day working for them.

Is it like this because the world is fundamentally unfair? I would say no. It’s like this because those other people have successfully answered The One Question That Matters (more on that later).

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Quick, five years ago, did you see yourself where you are now? Probably not, because of a little thing called Life, a series of events that tend to render five-year plans useless as soon as they’re made. And considering how often companies layoff and downsize workers depending on The Economy, WHO CARES what your five-year plan is?

Besides meaningless speculation about your future, this is another question that hands the interviewer reasons not to hire you. If you answer “I’m just happy sitting in a cubicle stapling reports together,” the interviewer can mark in your file that you lack ambition. If you answer “I want to be CEO in ten years,” they can decide that you’re too ambitious and will leave your job the second you get a better offer. There are many more ways to get the answer to this question wrong than right.

“Tell me about a time when you…”

This opening phrase is part of a technique called the behavioral interview, where the interviewer tries to get you to talk about past life experiences as evidence that you have the right makeup for the job.

Ideally, this question reveals self-awareness and self-reflection. Of the questions described here, this one gets closest to addressing The One Question That Matters, but not quite. One reason is because often the interviewer tries to get you to talk about a time when you suffered at work. They want to hear about difficult co-workers, missed deadlines, angry clients, times when you had to dig deep and give extra effort and sacrifice to accomplish miracles.

People usually don’t look good when they talk about difficult or painful experiences, no matter how upbeat they try to paint them. Once again, you’re being asked to put your worst foot forward, while the interviewer collects more reasons not to hire you (either because you didn't handle a difficult situation correctly, or you were never in a position of difficulty, i.e. never been “tested”).

“How many gas stations are in the United States?”

This is one of an infinite number of seemingly random questions an interviewer might throw out during a meeting. If they seem nonsensical and irrelevant, it’s because they are.

I call these “MBA Bullshit Questions,” because at some point the interviewer read a book or took a Management class where he or she got the idea that if an interviewee is asked a left-field question like this, the way they answer it reveals something important about how they think and approach problems.

Your answers to these trivia questions can’t really help you get the job, but they can hurt your chances if your responses aren't to the interviewer’s liking. Come off as uninformed, flustered, too sure of yourself, not sure enough, etc., and that’s one more reason to turn you down.

Also, consider this - if a potential employer is playing these games with you during the interview, imagine what spending 40-60 hours a week working for them will be like if they do hire you.

A Job Search or a Beauty Pageant?

The questions I've described above are more suited to a beauty pageant, a talk show interview, or a game show. The problem with these questions is they try to accomplish an impossible task – giving someone a complete picture of another person in the matter of 1 or 2 hours. All they do is create illusions that the interviewer and interviewee are having a productive dialogue that will determine if the candidate is the best person for the job.

Just like a beauty pageant contestant rehearses their performance prior to competition, a job seeker can craft brilliant responses to any of the above questions without ever having to address The One Question That Matters. Here are some examples of what you can say:

“Tell me about yourself.”

"It’s always been my goal to work in the lion taming industry. I applied to your company because I want to work for the best lion taming firm in the city. I am a hard worker who will do a great job for you by decreasing your lion taming costs while increasing overall revenues."

(This is one of the few chances you'll get to brag, so go ahead and pump yourself up. Just make sure to emphasize how much your talent and greatness will benefit the company, not the other way around.)

“What are your biggest flaws?”

"I don’t know how to sew, but I am currently taking classes at the local extension school to work on my needlepoint and cross-stitching. I think this will really help me be the best Apron Cleaner you've ever had."

(The key here is to point out a character or skill flaw that is at worst tangential to the job you're applying for. Plus, always state what you are doing to correct the flaw.)

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

"My main goal is to become a top-notch Associate Peanut-Brittle Maker. Somewhere down the line if there is an opportunity to become a Senior Peanut-Brittle Maker, I will give it serious consideration, but right now I think my skill set would be ideal for an Associate Peanut-Brittle maker position."

(The key here is to reinforce the idea that the job you’re applying for is the one you want, that your professional life is targeted towards doing this job instead of looking for the next one.)

“Tell me about a time when you really excelled at work.”

"Oh, Wow. Let me tell you about the time my team and I had to get 200 helium balloons to the Drake hotel in three hours. It was tough because the balloon store was closed that day. I didn’t know we would make it. We searched all over the city – it was tough on everybody fighting the traffic. But we dug in and found another balloon store in Gary, Indiana. We got the balloons there on time. I was so happy the team was able to come together to get the job done!"

(Basically, craft a story based on your personal experience that involves suffering. State clearly what the goal was and what steps you took to achieve it. Add emotions. Have one or two of these stories on hand at all times and modify them up according to how the question is asked.)

“How many gas stations are in the US?”

"What an interesting question! I really don’t know the answer to it, but I could research it and get back to you."

(If you’re asked a question that involves some kind of calculation and has nothing to do with you, the interviewer, or the job, the best response is to compliment the interviewer on offering such an interesting and intriguing question, then say “I don’t know.” Explain how you would go about getting the answer. Offer to research the answer and get back to her or him. Whatever you do, don’t guess.)

Rote questions deserve rote answers. If you prepare your own 5-6 sentence response to each of the questions above and practice them until they sound completely fluid and natural, you can walk into any office with style and confidence and interview for literally hundreds of jobs.

And you probably won’t get hired for any of them.

This is because none of these questions address The One Question That Matters.

The One Question That Matters

Before I say what The Question is, let me pose three scenarios:

*You are sitting at home when your kitchen sink springs a leak that you can’t fix. You reach for the phone book and call a plumber. When the plumber arrives you ask “Before you get started, could you tell me where you see yourself in five years?”

*Your 1987 Impala has finally bit the dust. You call a tow truck to haul it away to be recycled. Before turning the keys over to the driver you ask “Could you describe to me what your biggest flaws are?”

*You and your family are taking a trip by airplane. You are all a little nervous, as many people are when flying. To assuage your fears to walk up to the pilot and ask him “How many crosswalks are in New York City?”

I would guess that most people who read these scenarios would think they’re pretty illogical, maybe even stupid. And they would be right. But why? Mainly because these questions don’t address one huge piece of information, which is this:

“Can you do this job?”

It’s a straightforward question. Some might say it’s blindingly obvious. And yet it’s amazing how often this question is NOT asked by interviewers who instead waste everyone’s time with beauty pageant, talk show, or trivia questions.

A company is in good shape if they have an interviewer who knows how to cut through the crap about 5-year plans and fundamental personality flaws and focuses on the one thing that really matters – the job they are trying to fill. As a job applicant, the more time you and the person interviewing you spend discussing THIS question, the greater the chances are that you are being seriously considered for the position.

The Question Before the Question

Before you can provide an answer to The One Question That Matters, you have to answer another question:

“What IS the job you are applying for?”

This should be another obvious nugget of information to focus on, but it’s amazing how many job applicants (myself included) have walked into interviews having no idea what specific day-to-day activities the job they are interviewing for involve.

It’s even more disconcerting how many HR professionals and hiring decision-makers also don’t know all that much about the jobs they're trying to fill, especially at large corporations where they may be isolated from day-to-day operations.

Generally, what happens is the HR rep brings in candidates who look “okay” on paper, hands the decision-maker the candidates' credentials hours or minutes before the interview, and when the interviewer figures out the candidate isn't right for the position, they fall back on the beauty pageant, talk show, or trivia questions in order to kill time.

Job board descriptions and want-ads tend to contribute to the lack of information about jobs. Cutting down words that describe a position saves money, but doesn't help to give a good picture of what a job actually involves. And, as a job seeker, if you don’t really know what the job is, how can you be expected to convince anyone you are the one who should do it?

It’s not like this for all industries, especially ones with jobs that produce tangible outputs that can be traced back to a specific person. It’s relatively easy to judge if a person is a good plumber, doctor, race car driver, fruit picker, or chef. But many jobs today are not as cut-and-dried.

Solutions

In jobs that don’t use or require testing or certification, it’s easy for interviewers to fall back on that one short, formal meeting to figure out who is qualified, obscuring the fact that the only way you’re really going to get to know somebody is to work with them on a regular basis. In this type of environment, your chances of getting a job are at best random.

In order to better your odds by spending less time on extraneous chatter and more time getting hired, job candidates should do the following BEFORE an interview:

1. Find out specifically what the job you are interviewing for involves. Do your research by asking the hiring manager, the person who will be interviewing you, or the person who makes the hiring decision. A pre-screen phone call with one of these people, in addition to opening lines of communication prior to your meeting, is a great way to find out beforehand if you are qualified for what they are looking for, or if the job is something you would even want to do.

2. Prepare answers to questions that can prove you can do the job. Include references, completed working materials from other jobs, and other forms of objective proof that you are one who can complete the tasks the company needs doing. Delete the “generic resumé” from your files. Every resumé you send out should be specific to the company you are meeting with and tailored to the job you are trying to get.

3. Practice your answers to the irrelevant interview questions, but in ways that bring the conversation back to The One Question That Matters. If your interviewer insists on dwelling on beauty pageant, talk show, or trivia questions, find a way to politely but firmly let them know that you prefer to talk about the job.

The more you know about the job you’re applying for and your ability to do that job, the better off you’ll be in the jungle that is today’s job market. Happy hunting!

(Check out my blog Work Is Life. for more information about jobs, careers, and finding your life's calling.)

128 comments:

  1. Great posting. I just wanted to add..A good way to answer the behavioral questions is to phrase your answer in the form of: Situation, Task, Action and Response (STAR)

    -james

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  2. Wow, I think you make some very good points. Most of the questions you mentioned are actual and I think you hit it.

    Jess
    www.internet-anonymity.net.tc

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  3. I completely disagree about the "out of left field" questions. We frequently ask them and think they have value. For some jobs they might not make sense, but for an engineer it shows how you approach a problem, and if you have the skills to do "back of the envelope" estimation and problem solving. If we ask a candidate how many gas stations are in NYC and the response is "I don't know" or "I could research it", we don't want them. We want to see your logic and estimation skills. Would you estimate how many gas stations are in a typical block, and then estimate how many blocks are in NYC and extrapolate up? Would you start with how many drivers there are in NYC and then estimate how many gas stations would be needed to support that many drivers? The point is not to get to the correct number of gas stations. It is to see if the person can think logically, how they approach problems, and how their estimation skills are.
    Throwing out a number like "10,000" is just as bad as "I don't know". It's the process that matters.

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  4. sounds like some pretty good advice!

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  5. Really brilliant. I just read this out loud to a group of people. Dazzling.

    I wonder if there's a second part to your question, "Can you do this job?" and that is, "Do you want to do this job."

    You really made a difference with this thinking. Thanks.

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  6. Good points, thanks. I really like your 'What IS the job' approach; it tests the candidate's seriousness.

    Remember the movie line 'You can GET the job, but can you DO the job'? That one was just funny, but you found the serious meaning of it.

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  7. "How many gas stations in America?" This is an estimation question and is a very good interview question. You should answer:
    "Let me estimate that, there are about 300 million Americans, the average household size is 2.5 people, so that means there are 120 million households that on average have 2 cars each.

    So if there are 240 million cars in America, and the average gas station can refuel about 10000 cars a day, then there should be about 240,000 gas stations.

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  8. Great post! I'll keep this in mind for all future interviews.

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  9. Have been on both sides of the interview divide many times and I'll tell you this. The interview is over within the first 30 seconds. Appearance, smile, eye contact and firm handshake. Get those right and you're 90% there. Most interviewers have so little confidence in their own ability to assess someone (as per your article of having not read your resume) that they have no seniority to hire someone and are really just wasting your time, filling their day and making them feel more important. If they don't know after 30 minutes in your company then they're an idiot. Speed Dating only takes four!
    ;-)

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  10. What's your biggest flaw:

    I'm unable to answer stupid interview questions...

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  11. It's dumb to ask a plumber fixing your sink about his career plans, because you don't care where he'll be in 5 years. But if I'm hiring, I do care where my employees want to be in 5 years.

    You can't just ask "Can you do this job?". It's what you want to know, but asking the question literally tells you no useful information. Now, it could make sense to ask a semi-relevant hypothetical "trivia" question to your pilot: "What would you do if the landing gear got stuck?"

    I've been asked these "Not Getting Hired" questions before getting a generous offer. We ask them because there are a whole boatload of potentially useful questions we can't legally ask. The most important thing (besides whether you can do a specific task) is whether you're a good fit for the company's culture. You could be the best 1987 Impala repairer in the world, but if you're going to act like a jerk all day, I'll happily settle for #2 best 1987 Impala repairer.

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  12. Wow. Your thinking here betrays a complete lack of understanding of why some of these questions are asked. For example:

    "Tell me about your greatest flaw/weakness": This question is simply to determine whether you will be successful there. Everyone has flaws, they know it, but if you, the interviewee says, "I need a highly structured environment with clear goals at regular intervals to make progress," then that tells the interviewer whether you'll fit into that environment. If they're a Web 2.0 site working out of residences and coffee shops...you're probably going to fail regardless of abilities or qualifications. If you stifle under micromanagement and need to be free to work at your own pace and set your own schedule, then this is where you and the potential employer figure that out.

    Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?: Can be highly valuable...do you plan on working here? Are you familiar with their advancement paths if that information is available? Do you job-hop like that's really your job? Do you plan on getting a job and staying with that one, or will you be open to moving up in the organization?

    The random-ass question: One of THE MOST VALUABLE to an interviewer sometimes, particularly for esoteric, new or difficult positions. They don't give two shredded bits of week-old lettuce whether you can actually answer the question or not. What they do want to know is how you'd go about finding the answer to that question; how you think. With the gas station question, first you obviously admit you don't know offhand, but here's how you'd go about figuring out at least a reasonable estimate.

    NEVER give a flippant or idiotic answer to an interviewer. You might as well just get up and walk out of the interview. Most interviewers, particularly at large companies, are trained in interviewing techniques and have a specific reason for asking every question they do.

    This post has some really bad advice, and I advise everyone who reads it not to pay any attention to it, but rather to go find a headhunter or other *professional* whose career is getting people into the jobs they want.

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  13. Absolutely brilliant. I agree completely, and am impressed with how well you put it. I always felt like those questions were a waste of time - now I know I'm not the only one. Great post!

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  14. kinda of funny, this part:“How many gas stations are in the US?”
    "What an interesting question! I really don’t know the answer to it, but I could research it and get back to you." Reminds me very much of Sarah Palin. kkk

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  15. Also be aware of when the interviewer starts asking questions from your resume section "special skills" that has nothing to do with the job you are interviewing for. I was getting interviewed once for an IT job, and like an idiot, I had "structural artist" listed on my resume. He started asking me questions about it, and I took the bait. I should have steered the questions back to the job, and should not have had that "skill" listed in the first place. Lesson learned: customize your resume for the job your applying to!

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  16. As someone who does executive assessments and who uses a type of behavioral interview, I must say: BINGO!

    (Though, to be fair, in the hands of a skilled interviewer, even an inane question can yield meaningful insights.)

    I'm a tad envious that I didn't write this myself. Note to interviewers: if you're worried about getting a straight answer to the "Can you do this job" question, don't. You'll know immediately when the person starts answering if s/he believes the answer s/he's about to give. To be on the safe side, consider this variant:

    "OK... let's say you get the job. Then what? After you take your wife/boyfriend/best friend out for dinner, of course. What do you need from me to prep for Day 1?"

    That'll get you the same info.

    Jason

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  17. To anonymous guy who gave detailed "estimation" answer to the gas station question: congratulations, you failed the interview. Your logic assumes that all cars must fill up every day.

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  18. Interesting blog. I think you make some good points, but might miss the point on others.

    For example - True, I don't care about where my mechanic is going to be in 5 years, but I do want to know where my employee wants to be in 5 years. A recent candidate chose to answer that by saying, "I am working on opening my own business..." Well guess what, we aren't going to bring someone on who pretty much is guaranteed to not be around in a few years.

    When I interviewed for my first position on a Help Desk for a paint company, my manager asked me "How much paint is used to coat Air Force One?" It being my first interview I answered, I don't know, but you could probably figure it out by finding the size of the surface area, finding out how much paint we recommend you use to cover x amount of surface area and do the calculation.

    Afterwards, he explained that the point of the question was not to know the answer, but see how I responded. He said, there are things you are not going to know on your job, but it is better to admit that and try to find the answer, rather than pretend you know and give a customer the wrong answer.

    I also think asking someone "Can you do this job?" is not necessarily the best gauge of a good candidate. What candidate do you know is not going to say "yes" and then give you reasons why they rock.

    You're not going to see anyone say, "Well you know, actually I don't know if I am capable of doing it because..."

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  19. The first post is spot on. One of the key things that you miss is, while some questions are fillers and some are not, a lot of times, it comes down to whether a) you are smart enough b) you are personable enough (does your personality match the company's). Looking at questions superficially would perhaps allow you to get past the HR department at a large corporation in good times ('Frank Roche', you did find this dazzling, no?), but in a good number of places, you can't base your chances and risk your outcome on trivialities such as the types of questions the interviewer asks.

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  20. I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment that anyone that asks those questions will not hire you. Because I have been asked those questions by people who later gave me an offer. (Proof by counter-example.)

    I think they key is, to answer your 'ultimate question' when they ask you the other questions. No interviewer is going to just ask you if you can do the job - then everyone will say yes and they can't actually tell. By asking these other questions, they can figure out various aspects of how you would do the job to see how you compare to others. If you focus on selling yourself while staying on topic, it works wonders. Or maybe this is just my experience - but I have had a lot of interviews (I'm just graduating college and have done internships for the past few years as well.)

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  21. I think this advice can be helpful or not helpful depending on the industry and corporate culture of the company doing the interview.

    Larger businesses might be more interested in isolating your skills from your personality - but small businesses, especially high-tech startups, are often equally interested in how well you'll fit in with "the gang".

    In that sense, asking questions about skills or experiences unrelated to the position might be a way of quickly (and possibly inaccurately) judging personality and potential fit with the group.

    Whether it's an effective means of hiring or not - it's something to watch out for at least.

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  22. Bad advice on the gas station question.

    The point is not to see if you know it, and giving a stupid response like "let me get back to you" makes you look like a fool when its clear that the purpose of the question is to find out your problem solving skills.

    The correct way to answer is to walk through your logic, i.e.:

    "Well, let's see, there are probably an average of 3 gas stations for every 5,000 people in the US. There are 300 million people in the US. Therefore there are ~60,000 gas stations in the US."

    Notice that this number is probably completely and totally wrong. The point is I thought of a way of estimating it and walked them through my process.

    Point is - if you say "Let me look it up and get back to you" like a total tool, there is no way you will get the job.

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  23. oh look. more idiotic interviewing agents that buy into the microsoft gas station question.

    if only that had anything to do with engineering.

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  24. If this means the beginning of the end of BS... wishful thinking. But you have it spot on. I usually push to convince the interviewer 'that I can do the job'. It works 9 times out of 10. But you have to be sure about yourself, your capabilities, experience.

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  25. oh my, thanks for the post, you nailed it, you really did

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  26. The people saying that the gas station question is really valuable bother me, because I feel like you're intentionally being dishonest with the interviewee. If you want to know how someone works through a problem, then ask them a straight forward version, "Imagine you were assigned the task of estimating the number of gas stations in the US. How would you go about that?" Asking them simply, "how many gas stations are in the US?" is confusing to the interviewee becuase they've been conditioned by years of bizarre interview questions to think that you're searching for something hidden, and so you're unlikely to get the answer you're looking for.

    I think that question and the mentality behind it are emblematic of the problems with modern interviewing techniques. HR folks think people wont be honest, so they try and devise "clever" methods of tricking people into being honest. All it does is completely destroy any trust that might exist between the two parties and lead to this system where neither really knows what the other wants, so each tries to guess at it, inviting lies from both sides, particularly at companies where the HR people are interviewing for jobs they've never done and know very little about.

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  27. I think what this story was really telling a bigger story:

    That most employers don't take the job of hiring people very seriously.

    Sure, a question like, "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" could be a question that helps the interviewer understand the potential candidate, but more often than not, the guy doing the interviewing doesn't have any idea how to read people or interpret the response, they are just doing something they have been told to do by their superior.

    Also, trying to trick potential candidates with "gotcha" questions will only cause candidates to do what politicians do - speak a lot of words without saying anything of any real substance.

    Bottom line? If all else fails, just be honest and ask interviewees the questions you REALLY want the answers to.

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  28. I notice that most people who are blasting this article are people who work in HR. My sister works in HR and she says that most of the recruiters are complete idiots who subscribe word for word from their text books from college. I do see some relevance to these questions but how many people have memorized what they are going to say. Then they get the job and suck ass cause their memorized speeches were just that only capable of being spoken.

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  29. Those who criticize this article don't have a clue. I worked in job placement for 30 years. This article is dead-on. The guy who suggested hiring a "headhunter" was especially clueless. Those outfits generally cater to people with an abundance of job opportunities, and they produce notoriously poor results. A real "professional" would steer his clients away from them.

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  30. This was a great post. A lot of the people bashing it seem to really cling to the tired old interview questions like "What's your greatest flaw?". I'm not sure where these people come from, but I spend a lot of time in REALITY where posing a question like this to some poor bastard interviewing for a job will result in some sort of bullshit answer. Even the most honest of people might feed you a line here because hey, people tend not to be very introspective and getting put on the spot sucks.

    These cliche/textbook questions are a waste of time during an interview and they make the interviewer look like s/he doesn't care or know enough to properly assess a job candidate.

    As far as the random questions go, sure they might have some value for technical positions that require a lot of unique problem-solving. But again, they don't belong in an interview. Any job that requires these sorts of concrete analytical and logic skills should be giving an actual test to suitable candidates.

    As for myself, whenever I interview someone I keep it very simple: give me 5-10 minutes to get some sort of basic feel for their personality. I try to keep this as laid-back as possible - I want this person to be relaxed and not babbling like an idiot because he's nervous. Then I'll spend the rest of the interview describing the job and what the person would be doing on a daily basis. I've interviewed for quite a few jobs and in my experience it's almost impossible to have a good idea of what the job actually IS just from reading some terse posting for it. The candidate has taken the time to come the interview and he deserves to have the job described to him properly. Once that's out of the way, it's relatively easy to see if they're right for the job, or at least right enough to pass on to a more specific assessment (i.e. giving a technical test, etc).

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  31. It appears you don't really understand the concept of open questions. One of the BEST questions you can ask is "Tell me about yourself". It enables the interviewer to get a great perspective on the interviewee and allows you to interject with other layering questions for clarification.

    The question "can you do this job" is pointless. What idiot is going to answer NO? It should be far more open for example "If we hired you today, what would you do in your first week to make a difference in our company".

    I also agree with some of the other comments made about the trivia questions. Personally I don't use them myself but for some roles, having a logical approach to answering a complex question is a skill you need to make sure they have.

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  32. Right on. Most people really suck at interviewing.

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  33. It's pretty clear that you've been interviewed a number of times... but have never actually given an interview. Any question that you ask a interviewee can be used to gauge them. What is your biggest flaw? If you can name a flaw, it shows that you are self aware and can take a step back from yourself to look at your work process the same way you look at a problem. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I have a job for you... let me see if this job is as good a fit for you as you may or may not be for the job.

    Try giving a few interviews before you make these broad generalizations. If you already do... I wish your company the best of luck, it'll need it.

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  34. I think that the title of the post is completely misleading, as the author gives examples of how a successful applicant will answer those questions - at least to an extent.

    When I'm interviewing someone, and they stumble all over themselves on the conversation starter "tell me a little about yourself", then how are they going to answer a question about something more complicated?

    Similarly, questions that ask how they've handled situations in the past that are similar to ones that they'll encounter in the job is as good a way as any to see how they think about the problems you'll be putting in front of them.

    On one level, all these questions are a basic "pass/fail" - they're easy enough for someone with the language and social skills that they'll need to perform the job.

    The successful applicant uses them as a jumping-off point that, hopefully, takes the conversation in a more interesting and creative direction.

    I'm curious what industry the poster works in, because in mine (arts administration), I've asked these questions of every person I've ever hired - and everyone that I didn't. (Well, except for anything like the "gas station" question, which I think is just bizarre).

    If you're applying at Burger King, then sure, these are strange and superfluous questions. But if you're looking for someone who needs to be social and articulate in their interactions, they're as good a question as any.

    One more thing - someone who answers the questions as cravenly as suggested ("In five years I want to be the best assistant bean counter that there is"), is not getting a job from me. It's just another question to get you talking about your strengths and skills. The job is going to evolve as is the interviewee - where might someone with their interests take the organization in the future? It's also a good measure of whether they're a good fit for the organization or not.

    All in all, I think this is terrible, terrible advice for people going out on job interviews. My advice is to be honest, creative, and don't be afraid to talk about your skills as they relate to the research you've done about the organization that you're applying to.

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  35. Two comment-camps usually means that the poster is on to something.

    To the defenders of the old ways: these questions are old. The applicants know about them and come prepared. They know what you want to hear so the questions aren't really that effective.

    Asking an applicant about what job he/she is applying for is the most important question of all. If the applicant totally gets it, he/she can probably do it. This question can only be asked by an interviewer that totally gets the job him-/herself though -- those who don't: see the old questions.

    But don't neglect a little conversation. I often keep interviews very informal. Ask whatever pops up in my head and let the applicant ask away about me and our organization.

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  36. I've gotta say that your advice is not a very good one at least for the industry where I work - software development.

    I worked (and interviewed extensively) at Google and Microsoft, and both companies employ similar techniques when it comes to interviewing.

    1. The questions that you consider time-filler, and indicatives of the failure, are almost always asked on all interviews, good and bad alike. I ask them every time. And I do read the resumes. The reason is none of the ones that you point out - they are asked simply to break the ice, and lead to the real meat of the interview - the technical question.

    2. "How many gas stations are the in the US" - if you do offer your answer (I will research it and get back to you) - the interview is done, and you are not in. Yes, as one of the other commenters had pointed out, you WOULD sound just like Sarah Palin. But beyond the general animosity that smart people feel towards the Republican VP candidate, the reason is that this question tests your ability to break the problem up into manageable pieces, make estimates based on incomplete information - all the skills that are required in software development all the time. If you think about it, there is no difference between this question, and "what is the QPS (queries per second) that your new social networking site will attract" that needs to be answered before you have released the service.

    Generally, you should be very wary of "one right question", or "one right answer", or "one true religion" approaches :-). Just my 2c...

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  37. I think all the critical voices here (gas station question estimating how many cars, how many blocks - come on give me a *]çing break, are we in High School?) are deeply hurt that their idiotic questioning has been put into question. Congratulations to a great article. I had only three interviews in my life and I probably veered off the path of common answers and turned it more into a conversation - I got all three jobs. Now that I am hiring I look only at the previous work of the candidate and if I feel I want to work with them on a daily basis. So far no complaints.

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  38. I have been interviewed and noticed that the interviewer's questions seemed to express skepticism of whether I could actually perform the job. I left knowing that I would not get the job.

    I guessed 300,000 gas stations. There are roughly 170,000 and falling according to
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/DN-fuel_09bus.ART.State.Edition1.35ab288.html

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  39. There are 161,768 gas stations in the US - I know it's irrelevant, but some of you must be wondering!

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  40. Really good list, I have attended several courses about job interviews and this post almost sums up everything. Useful!

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  41. There is a good reason to use "Tell me about a time when you..." I often hire programmers and designers. I'll ask a leading question - Tell me about your education, or tell me about your favorite project from your last job.

    The content of the answer is less important than how the person says it. Do they tell stories in chronological order with plenty of details? Good for a programmer, bad for a designer. Do they colorfully describe the high points in no particular order? Good for a designer, bad for a programmer.

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  42. "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
    Last interview gave them a quick rant on possiblities in time and still got offered the job :D

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  43. Woe is anyone who takes your advice. You've clearly never been responsible for hiring anyone, AND you sound bitter and angry, which means I wouldn't have hired you either.

    To anybody who's considering following the advice of the author, it's worth what you paid for it. You're better served following the advice given by some of the commenters who actually have done some hiring.

    Be yourself, be honest, and try to use your noggin when answering the "out-of-left-field" questions, and you'll find something suitable.

    Ultimately, employers want to see someone who is willing to make an effort. An answer like, "I don't know, but I could research it if you like" tells me immediately the prospective employee is not a self-starter and I'll be spending half my time trying to persuade him to do the job he was hired to do. Not my idea of a good time.

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  44. Its high time interviews stop thinking their arm chair psychologists who can get into your head by thinking that these ridiculous questions can yield useful information. They test one thing and one thing only: the interviewee's ability to bullshit. Anyone relying on these kinds of questions to determine who would make a good employee either doesn't understand the job or is seeking to hire a bunch of bullshitters.

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  45. I've been on both sides of this fence, hiring for my own business, as a professional contracted to hire employees for new and existing businesses, as a recruiter for an international staffing firm, and as a prospective employee in a variety of capacities. This post indicates someone who doesn't have the education to backup the position they've lucked themselves into, and someone who is poorly suited to giving advice to job seekers.

    The fact of the matter is, even if someone is asking an "out-of-left-field" question, there's probably a reason for it; real or perceived. Claiming that it's bullshit does little good in an actual interview.

    As a regular user of Reddit, it's a shame a post this low in quality has made it this far.

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  46. Very good post! For some jobs, I can see that the 'random' questions might make some sense too. But for many jobs, I agree that it is mostly time filling. I sat on both sides of the table as well and all those techniques often don't tell you too much. On the other hand, it's the only thing an interviewer has... That's why the transition to assessment centers etc is made, because actually, the entire interview is not a very effective method to judge a persons abilities.
    It CAN tell you a lot about personality and if you have to work with them yourself, this is a major step. Even if they are sub-qualified but friendly, you prefer them over an arrogant #1.

    Anyhow, also interesting to see that everyone with criticism is so sure about their comment that they post it anonymously...

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  47. If we ask a candidate how many gas stations are in NYC and the response is "I don't know" or "I could research it", we don't want them.

    And you are exactly the type of self important fuckwad I don't ever want to work for again.

    That you really believe you can define a persons character and skill-set by posing a trivial mind-fuck question and grading them on your predefined acceptable response is nauseating.

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  48. Wow, some of these comments are enlightening and alarming. The core problem is that not all of us suffer fools as well as others. It doesn't matter if you are an HR professional with "valid" reasons for asking these questions or not- the approach assumes that the results can be accurately interpreted and assessed. Until and unless there is such a thing as a standardized person, I have no use for standardized assessments of people, and this is paradox that HR people cannot reconcile.

    Take the gas station question (or any other "clever" question gleaned from the "Who moved my cheese" school of management)- many respondents in these comments have said this is a test of the candidates ability to think constructively (I'm paraphrasing). Bullshit. This is what happens when HR people tangle with technical people. When I ask a question with an exact KNOWABLE answer, I want precision. I could care less if your mental modeling was sensible and/or the same method I might use, I want accuracy. Saying "I don't know" is only a problem if the job requires that someone know that. Let me put it another way- what is the rotational speed of the Earth? Don't answer. You'll be wrong. Did I mean at the equator? Did you assume so? Did you happen to know that the Earth is ~24K miles around at the widest, and divide that by 24 hours in a day to come up with ~1000 MPH? Did you multiply that by the cosine of your latitude and answer based on where you are standing? What about the orbit around the sun? You think any of this will be good enough for NASA? A more entertaining example of this sort of failed questioning can be found here

    I've been asked these dumb questions before, and I've played along, but in every case my mind was made up NOT to work there. I've also interviewed for (IT) subordinates, and I've never found the need to stoop to this level.

    The comments that suggest ways in which to answer these questions I think are also a disservice. I appreciate that sometimes it's worth it to endure crap to attain the goal of a better job, but by perpetuating these means we all lose. After all, would you rather be a specialist in your given field, or a specialist in job hunting?

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  49. Good advice in this post, I generally agree with you, and there's value to interviewERS in this -- don't ask BS questions like "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

    I'll add one thing -- I have never been asked, nor have ever found value in asking, a question like "Can you do this job?" I get the spirit of being so direct, but it simply doesn't work like that. The point of asking 15 questions and having an hour conversation during an interview is to assess your way to the answer to that question. But you can't evaluate their ability to DO the job just by asking them if they can do it. Thus, the art and science of good interviewing techniques.

    One of the most valuable things I've learned along the way is that the best interviews aren't question-based at all. They are a conversation. I'm a big fan of "Tell me about a time..." questions because they engage a conversation that you can then explore specifics and details, plus they draw on the experiences of the interviewer; after all, it IS their experience I'm going after.

    Nice exploration of the technique of interviewing though.

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  50. You are one of the "angry with society" people who wouldn't pass the interview and would have no idea why. Go read Dale Carnegie's book. Seriously, if you listen to what he says and take it in you'll be happier and won't write articles like this where you imply that everyone is an idiot except for the enlightened few, you among them.

    Tom Snyder

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  51. Pointless and stupid questions are just that, no matter how much you try to justify them. I find it telling that most of the comments disagreeing with this blog posted as "anonymous."

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  52. " The point is not to get to the correct number of gas stations. It is to see if the person can think logically, how they approach problems, and how their estimation skills are."

    This is relevant for IT and engineering, I suppose, but in any other industry I've worked in the last thing you want to do is walk through the analysis.

    This would tell me -- if I asked questions like that -- that an applicant willing waste time on guessing instead of doing their research. If you don't know something, don't try to make do.

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  53. Its funny how all the comments critical of this post are Anonymous. I think the article is great!

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  54. Have to agree with the naysayers here. Several have covered what's right with the "back of the envelope" question, famously asked by perennial money-losers such as Microsoft and Google. I would not bother to ask "Can you do this job?" except of a potential contractor. Any permanent employee will go through a bunch of jobs, and I need to figure out how versatile s/he is, not whether they already happen to know J2EE or whatever I need today.

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  55. Very good post! Enjoyed it thoroughly. I have to say I understand why some people defended the somewhat impractical questions. In my prospective most of the time the people behind the desk seem already demotivated by the time they come across "the good candidate" they slip him the pass just to get to "Mckies" before the line backs up. A lot comes to play. I've shaken hands thrown smiles and and researched them all. Yet sometimes i still think to myself..."how hungry are they?"

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  56. I was irritated by a question posed by a creep:

    "There are dozens of people out there who are more qualified and willing to work with a less salary than you. Then why should I take you in?"

    I waited before answering and said ," I think I am wasting my time here. Bye." I walked out of the interview. I did not look back to see the interviwer's expression.

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  57. I was asked the gas station question in my last interview and unlike the other candidates who worked back of the envelope calculations (as I found out later) I took a different approach.

    "I've never given such a question much thought, but I can arrive at a fairly accurate estimate by Googling it."

    I got the job.

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  58. I'm betting that the majority of people who are deriding this article are the very people who ask irrelevant interview questions.

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  59. I love all the douchebags here who rationalize that there are real and useful reasons for asking alot of these questions - these are the same idiots who when being trounced by Japanese companies in quality and efficiency will blame the workers and not themselves.

    American management is rotting from the top down and from HR inward.

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  60. How many gas stations are there in the us? Depends on the price of gas there will be alot less at $5 a gallon then $2. During most interviews you will more likely be asked what makes you qualified for this position rather then can you do this job.

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  61. As an interviewee and as an interviewer I have to say this is you've spoken exactly what's on my mind.

    You are so bang on about the important question. You can almost tell if the person you should be talking to should be the one doing the interview. But here's the trick question: Does the person doing the interview know what the job description is?

    90% of the time I've ever been interviewed it's been by someone who had no clue what the job description was or what my capabilities should be.

    If i started telling them what softwares/scripting language I was capable of and how I'd technically fix their problems and save them money, they'd just glaze over and change the subject back to a list of downloaded questions from some [insert generic "how to give an interview" website here].

    And I can say I've never ever been truly happy in any one of those jobs working for these kind of people.

    At my present job, they eventually made me into a boss. The thing that bothered me though was someone else would do the hiring for me. Someone who was not asking the right questions. Again, it was someone with no clue to what the job is.

    After a while of me firing incapable people(sales people applying for technical), they finally started inviting me to the interviews or they would at least swing the person around to my desk for a few questions and a look at their stuff. I felt it was key that the person who applies to the job actually meets the boss. Not just some HR person who has little knowledge outside of their own skill-set and thinks that googling and downloading a sheet of questions will determine the best candidate.

    Now I write the job descriptions and I tell HR whether or not the candidates were worth the money.

    Mind you, my industry is rather remote when it comes to capable people. I have to look beyond what a person wears, if they can shower or if they can bullshit to sell a bridge.

    Heck, if they could do any one of those things it's clear they are too distracted to be of any use to me. I want them to be nerds who live and breathe scripts ...or whatever their life's work. Frankly I'd be more impressed if they forgotten to shower this morning and have chronic bad hair days because they stayed up all night finishing the latest formula they wanted to impress me with. That is the candidate I want.
    And at the end of the day, selling a fridge to an Eskimo isn't what I'm hiring them to do.

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  62. What's funny is now that the gas station question is so common, applicants will just answer "Around 170,000."

    If I was giving an interview and wanted to go the Jeopardy question route, I think I'd ask how many Starbucks are in the world.

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  63. Here's one to ask: Do you know what we do here? Every candidate we bring in is asked "What do you know about this organization?" I can't tell you how many simply don't know. You would think that, in applying for a job, a candidate would at least look at the website to see what the organization does. Those are the kind of people we typically don't want.

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  64. These are great tips to keep in mind when looking for worthwhile jobs. But the majority of jobs out there are ones that barely qualify as "jobs" as much as glorified button pushing positions that don't require much interviewing.

    I think HR people and managers put too much stock into the interview process. Who cares about your personal life when all your doing is punching in orders on a screen in some massive call center? Who even cares if you want the job or not. Certain jobs are going to attract certain types of skill levels and intelligence.

    As a former manager myself, one formula I used was to fill quantitative positions based on whether I felt the person could fit in with the group and work together. Qualitative positions are a little trickier, but those are positions where your chance of hire is more reliant on skills and ability. I'll take a capable and dependable engineer whose a jerk any day over an incompetent engineer who's a nice guy. But if I'm looking to fill a common labor position, I want someone with a good personality who won't disrupt the hive, so to speak.

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  65. Interesting view... not necessarily true.

    I've gotten hired at IBM because the manager liked soccer, and I happened to know a few facts about it - so I let him talk as long as he wants for soccer, and at the end he finished his "monologue" with 'when can you start?'.

    Credit for the effort tho.

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  66. the flaw with the article is the title. interviewers who do intend to hire you do ask these questions. maybe they shouldn't and maybe their strategy is flawed, but if you hear any of these questions it does not mean you won't be hired.

    and the one that means you are is a bad question: it has a binary answer and i can predict with 99% accuracy what that answer will be. It is a good question, but if it's asked in a different form, "Tell me why you can do this job." then it's more effective.

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  67. As one post-er put it, the value in this discussion is in how you put these comments into the context of your particular hiring situation. Two things I didn't see anyone mention: (1) most small/mid-size firms hire by committee -- several people will do the interviewing and then the hiring manager will meet with others on the interview team and try to uncover commonalities and gain consensus; and (2) it is almost impossible to apply for a job these days without the hiring company having a web site that is chock full of relevant information -- about the company and maybe even the specific position. So anyone going into an interview who can't properly address the questions aimed at understanding the interviewee's potential fit in the organization and ability to do the job -- has really not prepared well. That is the one thing I look for more than anything -- if the candidate did his/her homework then it tells me they're really interested in THIS job and MY company, not just in going from one 'conga line' to the next before applying for unemployment. And when I meet with the rest of my managers to see if there are commonalities in what we extracted from the candidate, something that jumps out quite frequently is that a candidate will TOTALLY FAIL to answer the question(s) and s/he may even DRONE ON endlessly about his/her life history, family pets, recent divorce, etc., without ever letting the interviewer actually ask the questions they NEEDED to ask in the time allotted. My advice to interviewees is to understand how much time you have, to be direct and concise but with a personality (yes, make eye contact!), to answer the friggin questions, and do not under any circumstances carry on about your personal life circumstances. One other thing: you get your foot in the door (usually) because of your resume -- so most interviewers are really just trying to align your responses to the resume and determine whether you're as smart as you say you are and whether you're a normal human being. I'm fairly certain I've uncovered more than a few serial killers in my interviews who were otherwise brilliant software engineers, project managers, etc. - RJW

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  68. I really enjoyed your post. I had an interview once and the entire interview consisted of "Tell me about a time when..." questions, there was not a single other type of question, and the interviewer did not actually listen to a word I said.

    I also enjoyed reading anonymous comments by angry people. Made my day!

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  69. "How many gas station are there in United States" I like this one. lol.

    But I don't think you won't get hired just because you've been asked those questions. Anyway, it's a very good post. Keep it up!

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  70. Actually, the question(s) that says you're getting hired is

    a) what is your notice period (that you have to serve to your current employer) or

    b) what is the remuneration you're expecting

    if you hear either of these two, chances are, you're getting the job!

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  71. To be honest, if someone were to ask me the question on number of gas stations, it would appeal to me. I would say to myself... "oh, good! (s)he is asking me to think aloud, and this is going somewhere".

    I guess it depends on the job one is interviewing for... but all in all, its a great article. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  72. THX. I have an interview tomorrow. Hope it will help. wish me luck

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  73. Thanks ur information

    it very useful

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  74. Przemek, thanks for the quote. Joe vs the Volcano. Now that's where I want to work!

    I remember taking a class where we looked at the statistical validity of different selection tools, interviews being one of them, and as a predictor of future performance they came out pretty low, meaning most interviews were only slightly more accurate than a flip of the coin.

    But that's all just theory. From my experience there are good interviews and bad ones (I've been on both sides, both ways), and the difference isn't the questions asked so much as it is how the answers are interpreted, what the interviewer listens for, and what follow-up questions they ask. I like the tell me about a time when... questions because I find candidates reveal a lot more when telling their own true stories than answering hypothetical.

    And having done a few hundred interviews I can [usually] tell when someone's telling an authentic story versus when they're BS'ing. If it's the latter than I'm not interested.

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  75. Hmm...seems to me that there are no giant secrets to interviewing any longer. Think of it: None of these questions were really new to anyone who has ever had an interview.

    Let's look at the employer about to interview a new candidate. That candidate knows every question the employer is going to ask and has a rehearsed answer for each. HOW DOES THAT MAKE THE EMPLOYER'S QUESTIONS VALID? It's a "flip of the coin" as mentioned in the previous comment. I can claim to cure freakin' cancer to the dullard of a hiring manager in front of me and they'll almost write it down as a positive.

    I recently got a job for one of the world's largest retailers and had one day where I interviewed with four different executives. Now these were people that had risen to the top of their food chain, they were "on their game" and were experienced in finding winning team members.

    Each of them asked me the same damn canned questions from their HR departments. One didn't even try to hide the copied sheet with the questions on it.

    Not one single person took the time to explain the nuances of the job. Only one asked me why I thought I should get the job.

    There are thousands upon thousands of HR employees in this country that have to warrant having a job. Some of them obtained MBA degrees from some of the country's best institutions, staffed with business professors that...well...have to warrant having a program or a class.

    Oh, and the "how many gas stations" question...GIVE ME A BREAK! It's hilarious to see people on here actually squawking about the VALUE of such a question. "Oh, it lets us see how the will go about solving a problem"...pfft....

    If you want to see how they would go about working on your team, handling your issues, then come up with a situation that addresses what your team freakin' does!

    I bet cash money the person does not know every nuance of your position and giving them a real life example of a problem they would have to solve and then interpreting how they would go about solving it is MUCH more valuable that asking them about the price of freakin' tea in China or how many light bulbs are in the Empire State Building.

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  76. This is a great post. Interviews are the most crucial in securing a job position and most posts I have read so far provide simple questions and supposed answers but your post actually goes a step beyond that and explains the underlying points. Thanks for a great post.

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  77. These comments are great! Interesting to see the difference between useless HR twits and people who actually know how to think.

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  78. Anon posted above "Anyone relying on these kinds of questions to determine who would make a good employee either doesn't understand the job or is seeking to hire a bunch of bullshitters"

    Well if you're applying for a job in customer service, sales, PR and of course HR then yes that's *Exactly* what they want - Hired Bullshiters

    :o)

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  79. We've been interviewing a bunch of candidates for software development positions. Each candidate is interviewed by 3 teams: a team of software developers, a team of people with whom the developers interact (QA and design, primarily), and the department manager. I've been on the "developer team". We have a set of questions that are designed to probe "can you do this job". We evaluate not only the answers, but also the way in which the candidate approaches the answer. We hired one candidate who was new out of school and was not clear on some of the answers, but whose thought processes were clear in the way he answered. We hired him. We also hired several other candidates who gave good, clear answers to the specific questions. The candidates who waffled or tried to BS the answers were not hired.

    It worked a lot better than the times I've asked "tell me about yourself" in determining whether the candidates could do the job. imho, of course.

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  80. Other than the headline the post was fabulous. To the point, simplicity, clarity and humor. An easy read to remember for my next interview, thanks!

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  81. I recently met a woman that spent several years teaching HR professionals how to interview. Now, she's teaching the rest of us what answers HR is expecting us to give.

    There is no logical way to estimate the number of gas stations. NYC has a number of blocks, and a number of gas stations, but NYC is a city where most people don't drive. The only way I could answer it would be by research, and of course, Google is the only way to go...

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  82. To Anonymous:

    Congratulations! You just bought yourself an age discrimination lawsuit! I am 53 years old and am pretty much guaranteed "to not be around in a few years" because I will have reached retirement age. Based on your comment, it's obvious you would not hire me based on that fact, alone. I'll try to remember NOT to apply for a job at your firm.

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  83. hi! thanks for your post, it was a lovely read and very interesting :) especially the not getting hired part! anyway if you have a moment please also check this list i compiled of the 50 most commonly asked interview questions, why they are asked, any hidden motives and exactly how to answer the questions!
    50 most common interview questions and answers

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  84. Great Post but be aware that interviewer usually ask this question "tell me about yourself" to break the ice. While answering, most candidates give details about their education,experience,family background, etc. But I believe that you should not give out the same information, already systematically mentioned in the resume.
    Interview Questions

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  85. Thank you for the post!

    I love good preparation before job interviews. Visit my site if you are interested Mock Questions. I have been working on a list for over a year now with random and audio interview questions!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  87. These are frequently asked interview Questions. These Interview Tips are very useful to all. Thanks sharing with this informative blog.

    Sachi Infotech Pvt Ltd

    ReplyDelete
  88. I have to disagree with people claiming the "gas station" question is useful. Until I read this blog I couldn't have even told you what the population of the US is. It doesn't come up in conversation much and it isn't something I need to know to do my job. Like the "How do you design a spice rack for blind people?" (I'm not blind nor do I design kitchen appliances for a living) or "How would you move Mt. Fuji?" (I'm not an engineer nor a geologist) the questions are useless and irrelevant. If the interviewer asked me, "How would you design a software system to simulate a traffic light?" it would at least be in the right field and marginally relevant.

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  89. I've worked BS jobs to feed myself that involve no higher functioning because I have to wait for some crap HR person to force some hidden meaning out of my crap job existence. Here I am trying to look forward and bury my past and they try to make you dwell on it. For F sakes I work in a monkey's uncle call center run by morons who don't want to pay you and give sweet little tasks to their friends and a prospective new employer wants to know when I want above and beyond my duties to get a job done. My answer Is I took a crap and and the toilet overflowed and I mopped the floor. Next idiotic question have you ever gone against your bosses wishes. Yes I mopped the urine off the floor. Just think about, I hope an HR jackass reads these comments blow it out your own ass.

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  90. Wow, I think you make some very good points. Most of the questions you mentioned are actual and I think you hit it.

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  91. very useful post and I found on the very right time as I am doing the job hunting these days.

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  92. Great posting. I just wanted to add..A good way to answer the behavioral questions is to phrase your answer in the form of: Situation, Task, Action and Response (STAR)

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  93. I am sure, I will tweet this to my twitter account. This will help a lot of users.

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  94. Hi

    Tks very much for post:

    I like it and hope that you continue posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: Interview questions to ask

    Best rgs
    David

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hi

    I read this post two times.

    I like it so much, please try to keep posting.

    Let me introduce other material that may be good for our community.

    Source: Tough interview questions

    Best regards
    Henry

    ReplyDelete
  96. Wow, I think you make some very good points. Most of the questions you mentioned are actual and I think you hit it.

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  97. Nice article. thanks for sharing this. Please keep writing.

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  98. Nice post....really impressive....but may be you add this one....what did you do yesterday...or birthday..

    Anyways thanks for this

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  99. very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read.

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  100. This is not the first of your posts I've read, and you never cease to amaze me. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

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  101. Thanks for sharing this most useful interview questions.

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  102. An interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing this post

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  103. Excellent resource blog! helpful post...Thanks!

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  104. Hi

    I like this post:

    You create good material for community.

    Please keep posting.

    Let me introduce other material that may be good for net community.

    Source: Behavioral interview questions

    Best rgs
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  105. This is such a great article and still relevant in 2011. I mean, honestly your writing voice is whimsical.

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  106. I truly feel that interview should also have a standardization. I am from India and the interview are so worst here..its like asking what every the recruiter gets in his mind, of all i only loved the interview face by HCL, it was just spot on and only related question on my subject..
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  107. I don’t suppose I have read anything like this before. It is good that there are still people who have some original thoughts on such a subject.

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  108. Hi, I have just visited your site and the info you have covered has been of great interest to me.

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  109. Great post, I admire the writing style :) A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.

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  110. Hi

    I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

    Pls try to keep posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: Recruitment interview questions

    Best regards
    Jonathan.

    ReplyDelete
  111. A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.

    I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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  112. I don't know how it is in Jersey but in Houston the HR dept can take forever. I worked for the company for over 2 1/2yrs and when I applied I had to keep on there tails about HR not calling me. The manager told me he was waiting on HR to make me my offer so he had to keep calling them. Good Luck. I did have a good time working for a manager but as others say they have very high expectations of there employees. They pay well and have awsome benifets so if you are willing to put up with it good luck. The only reason I quit was to get out of retail hours. I did not see my kids enough!

    ReplyDelete
  113. Hi

    I like this post:

    You create good material for community.

    Please keep posting.

    Let me introduce other material that may be good for net community.

    Source: Case interview questions

    Best rgs
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  114. Hi

    Tks very much for post:

    I like it and hope that you continue posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: General manager interview questions

    Best rgs
    David

    ReplyDelete
  115. Great post thanks for the read!This site is very interesting for me. A nice point of view. I hope everything will be OK.

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  116. questions is to phrase your answer in the form of: Situation, Task, Action and Response (STAR)

    ReplyDelete
  117. Thanks for your link. It's useful for our community.
    Same material can be found at: Restaurant supervisor interview questions
    I hope it's useful for you and you like it. Please continue sharing more information at this topic.
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    ReplyDelete
  118. Great post it explains a lot about what are the common questions asked while giving the interview.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Hi

    Tks very much for post:

    I like it and hope that you continue posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: free interview questions

    Best rgs
    David

    ReplyDelete
  120. This is very helpful. Thanks. It's really tough to get unscathed after a job interview nowadays. Interviewers are getting so unpredictable. Preparation is a must. Good thing Interview Coaching Calgary helps us how to respond to these kinds of questions.

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  121. Awesome you are provide great information

    ReplyDelete