August 15th, 2009

Attention all Commuter Couples: There is a good chance that you or your significant other will have to interview for a job one day if you two decide to live in the same locale. At my job we’re interviewing external candidates for positions in our department. I have sat through hundreds of interviews in my career and this last round has come up with some of the best answers I’ve ever personally witnessed. I thought that you might appreciate some advice on what NOT to say.

One woman had been out of work for an extended period of time. The hiring manager asked her what she’d been doing since her last position. The candidate looked at her as if she were crazy and said, “I have to spend 35 hours a week trying to find a job so I can get my unemployment. That is a full time job.”

Okay. In other words, you’re only here so you can keep drawing unemployment??

Maybe I’m being harsh, but then unsolicited she tells us about a “bill collector” with whom she has struck up a relationship. He calls her regularly since she has been out of work. “I’ve struggled a little bit financially. He suggested that I’d make a good collector because I am so good with people.”

First, we were not hiring a collector so this information regarding her burning desire to change career paths and her not so stellar credit rating was relevant how?

Second, I’m staring down at her absolutely perfect French manicured acrylic nails and then back to my own raggedy, chewed off finger nails. I can’t help but wonder if she should perhaps shift her priorities and instead of paying $35 plus tip every two weeks in upkeep on her nails pay her bills! Maybe she wouldn’t have to talk to that ever so nice bill collector every month. Just a thought.

Regardless of what I thought about the aforementioned candidate, the next one takes the cake. Apologies all around if the under 25 crowd is offended but take it from someone old enough to be your mother: if you are old enough to be interviewing for a job with a corporation then you are old enough to know better than to say what this chick said. Read on:

The manager was hiring into a call center. Her question was fairly straight forward, “How do you deal with a difficult customer?”

Candidate answer, “Well, before I get off the call I like to think that the person on the other end thinks we’re BFF.”

Did she really use the initials? Yes. She did. I had to turn away and stifle a laugh.

The hiring manager continues, somehow keeping a straight face, “Let’s say you get back to back difficult calls, how are you going to shake that off so that it doesn’t negatively impact your next call?”

BFF Girl: “I’m going to get up, go grab something to drink and text my mom. She’ll text me back and tell me how great I am and not to let it get me down.”

She’s going to text her mommy? Really?

Visions of her pouting and sucking her thumb filled my head.

I had to leave the room.

I won’t even regale you with the ones where the candidate provided us unsolicited details of his acrimonious divorce, or how a woman told us she regretted having her baby as it had taken her out of the job market or my personal favorite: the sexual harassment “issue” (air quotes included) which occurred after a crazy night out on the town with her co-workers.

Ironically enough there an article about stupid answers to interview questions was on MSN Careers the same week we were interviewing. Check here for even more fun interview answers you might want to avoid.

I’d love to hear any hilarious interview questions or answers you’ve been subjected to. Comments are love!

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