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Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the what-kind-of-clown-would-you-be? dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 692

Nemo the Magnificent writes "Ever been asked a question in a job interview that's just so abysmally stupid, you're tempted to give in to the snark and blow the whole thing up? Here are suggested interview-ending answers to 16 of the stupidest questions candidates actually got asked in interviews at tech companies in 2013, according to employment site Glassdoor. Oil to pour on the burning bridges."

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Interview ending question (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009717)

"Do you have any weaknesses?"
"Yes, I hate stupid interview questions"

Re:Interview ending question (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 9 months ago | (#46009777)

I actually did this once (did not get the job, despite being recommended by a friend who worked there):

-Name three of your strengths.
-Well... I'm honest and... let's see... I'm reasonably quick to spot and diagnose flaws in any given system... and I'd say I'm creative.
-Good. And do you have any weaknesses?
-I'm a liar.

Re:Interview ending question (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009793)

-I'm a liar.

You're hired! Your new job involves lying to customers.

Re:Interview ending question (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 9 months ago | (#46009867)

You have no idea how right you are. It was for a position in marketing.

Re:Interview ending question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010083)

I'm the CEO of a small company and we're looking for a marketing person. I think you would be perfect. Any chance you'd be interested?

* Yes I know I'm posting as AC.

Re:Interview ending question (4, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 9 months ago | (#46010089)

If it was an interview for a marketing position, then "I'm a liar" should have been listed under "strengths", and "honesty" under "weaknesses".

Re:Interview ending question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009901)

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: Retired.

Re:Interview ending question (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about 9 months ago | (#46009997)

I actually said this once (except it was ten years) and got the job. I pointed out that this was a "standard" interview question that didn't apply to everyone, and the interview committee liked that answer. Guess I was just lucky.

Re:Interview ending question (4, Funny)

Black LED (1957016) | about 9 months ago | (#46009949)

I once knew a professional trumpet player (doctor of music) who would do fake auditions for the hell of it. He bought a cheap violin, which he had no idea how to play, and would just fake it at auditions.

Re:Interview ending question (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46009973)

You should have said "I always lie." I mean, why not make the mental competence assessment mutual?

Re:Interview ending question (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 9 months ago | (#46009995)

-Good. And do you have any weaknesses?
-I'm a liar.

Welcome to Marketing - you'll be a very valuable addition to the team!

Re:Interview ending question (4, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46010059)

-Good. And do you have any weaknesses?
-I'm a liar.

Oh, you want the marketing interview, this is engineering. Down the hall, to the left.

They may not be expecting you, but they'll want you.

Re:Interview ending question (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | about 9 months ago | (#46009863)

Sure: weakness to fire, earth, lightning, cold, poison and to 90% cocoa dark chocolate.

*Note: partial list.

Re:Interview ending question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010001)

"Do you have any weaknesses?"

"Kryptonite."

Re:Interview ending question (1)

bi$hop (878253) | about 9 months ago | (#46010049)

Also, I can't see through lead for some reason.

Re:Interview ending question (5, Funny)

Gort65 (1464371) | about 9 months ago | (#46010121)

"Do you have any weaknesses?" "Kryptonite."

In that case, you might want to add an inability to correctly put on underwear.

Re:Interview ending question (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 9 months ago | (#46010043)

"Do you have any weaknesses?"

Blondes, brunettes and redheads.

Blowing ... job (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009723)

First post.

Re:Blowing ... job (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 9 months ago | (#46009871)

first post fail.

A related job question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009883)

"What professional achievement are you the most proud of?"

First post.

Tame and lame (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009729)

Somewhat interesting concept, but those were really lame.

Then again, the closest I have done was when asked if I had any experience with clearcase or rhapsody. My response was something along the lines of "yes, but I've been trying to put that behind me".

Re:Tame and lame (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 9 months ago | (#46009907)

Seconded. Incredibly lame answers. He missed the obvious answer to #3:

3) "If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?" -- Apple, Specialist interview.

That would mostly depend on which neighborhoods I'd be delivering to. I suppose I could feel a bit safer, though since almost every robber has a gun, now, I'm not sure scissors would cut it. (for best results, interrupt the next question with "get it? 'cut it'", then maintain a blank stare for as long as possible)

Re:Tame and lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010011)

Seconded. Incredibly lame answers. He missed the obvious answer to #3:

3) "If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?" -- Apple, Specialist interview.

That would mostly depend on which neighborhoods I'd be delivering to. I suppose I could feel a bit safer, though since almost every robber has a gun, now, I'm not sure scissors would cut it. (for best results, interrupt the next question with "get it? 'cut it'", then maintain a blank stare for as long as possible)

... That was obvious?

Re:Tame and lame (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 9 months ago | (#46010079)

Actually, that question, while itself lame, does serve a purpose if the job requires creativity. They want to watch your come up with something different, and do it outside your comfort zone. If the interviewers are sharp enough, it will also give them a clue as to how you would fit into their culture.

In my current job (originally as a sysadmin, now DevOps)? I went through a battery of technical grilling, then I was asked point-blank:

"Is there intelligent life in Outer Space"?

I answered yes, then asked to defend my position. I spent the next 45 minutes in back-and-forth debate involving my bringing out Drake's Equation, panspermia, extrapolation of odds, and many other related topics.

I got the job, and quickly discovered the reason why... the company is chock-full of full-on geeks, many of whom have a passion for their respective skills, and share many common cultural touchpoints, which allowed me to fit in perfectly.

It's stuff like that which you really cannot pick up on by asking dumb crap like "what is your greatest weakness."

Re:Tame and lame (4, Informative)

mattie_p (2512046) | about 9 months ago | (#46010169)

Answer: Yes.

Rationale: There is an International Space Station currently in what is commonly known as space. This is manned by astro/cosmo/nauts, which are a subset of an intelligent species. Therefore, yes.

Re:Tame and lame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010161)

Personally, between you and me, without the scissors, I don't think I'd cut it as a pizza delivery man.

Re:Tame and lame (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46010105)

I've had fun with the "why are manhole covers round" question in an interview before. If you've never read the fake Richard Feynman answer, it's worth a google.

I did think "why are tennis balls fuzzy" was a quite reasonable question - better than "why are manhole covers round", anyhow, as the expected answer to the latter is simply wrong ("so they don't fall through the hole": there are many kinds and shapes of covers and grates each with an each solution to that problem).

"How honest are you" is just begging for it. There's a famous case of a professor of logic who, when asked if he had ever told a lie, thought for a long time and then answered "yes". I still don't get "Have you ever been on a boat?" for a graphic designer. What is that I don't even?

Obligatory Trainspotting (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 9 months ago | (#46009731)

How to successfully end an interview.

Spud's interview [youtube.com] [NSFW]

None of the ones in the article even come close.

Re:Obligatory Trainspotting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009985)

Wow, what a CONservative wet dream. They are so stupid they actually think that people don't want jobs and blow job interviews on purpose. They're the ones so fucking hateful that they cut the 99 weeks of unemployment. They don't understand that we are trying. We want jobs. Of course, since they're white and connected, they can find jobs thus keeping us from jobs. It's their fault we don't work, and as of Jan 1 they took our unemployment. If Obama actually lead the country, instead of the house and senate that is 100% ruled by GOPpers, we would have it. Instead, the hardest working people in this country are not allowed jobs. That is the world the Republicans want for the entire world. What we have now is what they have created. It is sad.

Re:Obligatory Trainspotting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010037)

> They are so stupid they actually think that people don't want jobs and blow job interviews on purpose

I have tanked interviews in the first 5 min, telling them they failed the interview. If the "they" in "They are so stupid" can afford to pick and choose positions, why wouldn't "they" (e.g. me)? Why waste 45 minutes interviewing for a developer position at a place that doesn't use version control? I don't want some jobs. It's not "they" that are stupid, it's you. You've constructed an elaborate fantasy world to support your weaknesses, I see.

Re:Obligatory Trainspotting (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46010137)

Why waste 45 minutes interviewing for a developer position at a place that doesn't use version control?

Well, I would follow up by asking whether I'm being hired to fix that - senior dev jobs often include that sort of thing. That being said, I once left a job after two weeks (well, two weeks after an internal transfer) because the group insisted on using Rational Rose. I've since asked about that on every phone interview, so as not to waste my time in person if they're that silly.

Are you SURE this is a company? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009733)

Re:Are you SURE this is a company? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009795)

quickly! must google: job interview site:xkcd.com and post whatever is returned. Seriously what relevance does that have? He doesnt even ask an interview question.

Re:Are you SURE this is a company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009827)

Your inability to understand the reference does not invalidate the reference. Imagine the following exchange, if you can:

Interviewer asks an abysmally stupid question.
Interviewee replies, "... are you SURE this is a company?! Are you properly sure??"

Re:Are you SURE this is a company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010055)

Interviewer asks an abysmally stupid question.

Except there is no interviewer. Nor does the guy who makes stuff for phones --who is not an interviewer --ask a question. Not a single question.

The fact that one might conceivably answer a job interview question with a line from some random cartoon does not infuse said cartoon with relevance.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009743)

"I would be equipped to become a pizza delivery woman."
ahahahaha blatant transphobia on a tech blog what a surprise
wait it's not a surprise at all

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009897)

How is that transphobia?

The ones I hate (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#46009749)

The ones I hate are the ones designed to make people angry for "psychological" reasons (they really just want to bait people), although nobody who has even read a book on the topic is involved. If it's not NASA, and even if it is and you haven't been warned that they would be such stuff, then it's not on. When the military do that sort of stuff it's not completely out of the blue.

Re:The ones I hate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009787)

You don't want your career fate based on some armchair psychology questions?

Re:The ones I hate (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 9 months ago | (#46009945)

I think Leon in "Blade Runner" nailed the proper response to those

Re:The ones I hate (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46010171)

Well, I don't know - I like to respond to blatant psychological probing with "are you testing to see whether I'm an $X or a lesbian". Either they get the joke or not, either way I find it funny.

Tempted? Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009789)

Crazy enough to do so? Hell. No. The vast majority of tech positions in my area are contract-to-hire. If I blew up every interview that involved stupid questions, I'd be blacklisted from every staffing agency in the state.

Here's the sad part (5, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 9 months ago | (#46009797)

When you are young, desperate, and eager to please, they ask you all the stupid questions. Their apparent motive is just to fuck with you and assert dominance.

When you are older and have a resume, they don't bother with the stupid questions. They just ask you about code and projects.

Re:Here's the sad part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009841)

Indeed.

Recently went through the eye-opening experience of going to a job interview with 7 years experience under my belt, a job for which they contacted me. It's a totally different experience from the just outa university and they are the only company you've heard back from in 2 months thing.

Re:Here's the sad part (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009913)

Just remember, too much experience is bad. After you have 10 years experience you'll be too old to be employable. Anywhere. Ever.

Re:Here's the sad part (2)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 9 months ago | (#46010061)

dont tell that to my new employer. I was asked to join after working as a contractor from my old employer. I've been working since 1994.

Re:Here's the sad part (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#46010205)

Just remember, too much experience is bad. After you have 10 years experience you'll be too old to be employable. Anywhere. Ever.

I keep hearing that, and yet I keep working... Hmmm... And not only do I have 10 years experience, I have it three times!

Re:Here's the sad part (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 9 months ago | (#46009873)

In other words, the number of stupid questions is inversely proportional to your perceived value to the company. An experienced employee can easily walk away if he does not like your questions - and what then will you tell your boss who is desperate to fill that Project Lead position? Especially if the boss was also present at the interview? Good Project Leads are hard to find. You won't even talk to a good Code Monkey every day.

Re:Here's the sad part (4, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | about 9 months ago | (#46009905)

Not true. It was not until later in my career that I started being asked stupid questions that had nothing to do with my expertise in interviews. Apparently, I learned later, the interviewer expected me to pull an answer out of my arse, then defend it to the death. This was for an engineering position, but his expectation was apparently that everyone who is any good's career should gravitate towards sales.

Re:Here's the sad part (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010075)

Probably because your career has been stuck in neutral. Engineer not managing or working strictly as an architect later in your career means you failed somewhere.

Unprofessional all around (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009799)

If you're that certain you do not wish the job, don't make peoples day any more difficult by being a dickhat. Just politely end the interview saying you are no longer interested in the position.

That kind of response sends the message loud and clear that it was their interview that drove you away and may push them to explain why they were asking such shitty questions. If nothing else it avoids creating an instant adversarial position where your indignation is written off as "you being a dickhat" not that there might be something wrong with their interview process.

We're adults, grow the hell up and stop assuming anyone gives a crap if you act like a smartypants.

Re:Unprofessional all around (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010115)

Just politely end the interview saying you are no longer interested in the position.

It's important to remember that a job interview should be a 2 way street. You need to be clear (and it may not hurt to make it clear) that you are assessing them as much as the other way round. Telling someone they failed should always be done politely and with tact.

Re:Unprofessional all around (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010117)

Sometimes it's better to just call an interviewer a dipshit and tell them their questions are stupid. After all. If nobody ever tells them... How will they know?

Re:Unprofessional all around (1)

CNTOAGN (1111159) | about 9 months ago | (#46010155)

I normally don't respond, but are you sure we are all adults? Far too often it seems decisions are driven by greed, selfishness, or a religious self-richest goal that they now longer seem to be "grown up", much less even humanistic I wish everyone would "grow up", but frankly I don't think grown ups know what the fuck they are doing.

Re:Unprofessional all around (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 9 months ago | (#46010173)

This, right here.

In tech circles, your name gets passed around a lot farther than you think. Even if you turn down that job, the fact that you were a dickhat will pass around - eventually to the jobs you do want. IF you don't fit into the culture, you won't fit into the job.

This is doubly true in medium and smaller tech markets (like here in PDX, for instance). We've been trying to hire sysadmins here with experience, and we've been able to weed out at least a couple of resumes so far based just on (bad) reputation.

While I and my cohorts don't know everyone in the biz here, we do know who we really want, and who we don't want.

Re:Unprofessional all around (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 9 months ago | (#46010177)

We're not all adults you insesitive clod!

Re:Unprofessional all around (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46010195)

Well, it depends on what kind of answer you give. No, a stupid interview question is not an excuse to be an asshat, but if you respond in a way that the interviewer laughs at, then I think it's OK.

How often do you get stressed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009803)

My response was never, stress gets no work done, I budget for it after the issue resolution.

My response did not change inspite of the question being asked 3 more times, the interviewer got stressed and ended the interview. Interviews are crappy, if the manager does not know what the deliverable is

Re:How often do you get stressed (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 9 months ago | (#46009961)

I wish my mods didn't just run out, you definitely deserve a few of them :)

The Akamai question is actually pretty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009813)

For director-level types, not engineers ("How does the Internet work?"), especially with follow-ups to nail someone who has googled and memorized the canned "answer".

This could filter out those who have the requisite charisma and social skills but who don't have a clue about the technology.

Re:The Akamai question is actually pretty good (4, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | about 9 months ago | (#46009919)

For director-level types, not engineers ("How does the Internet work?"), especially with follow-ups to nail someone who has googled and memorized the canned "answer".

This could filter out those who have the requisite charisma and social skills but who don't have a clue about the technology.

A friend of mine once suggested that the best possible question you could ask of a potential sysadmin was, 'Explain how traceroute works.' There are so many levels of 'right' answer that you can determine whether the interviewee is a rank amateur or whether she's currently communing with the spirit of Ada Lovelace and spontaneously generating CS zen koans using the AI in her programmable calculator.

Re:The Akamai question is actually pretty good (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46009993)

How does traceroute work? Well that's easy, hamsters run along the tubes and deliver the information. They're very fast hamsters...it's the electric shocks that help.

Re:The Akamai question is actually pretty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010179)

Firstly which one? Microsoft's version or Unix/Unixlike traditional? ;).

On a related note I've tried to get new staff to look up stuff to explain what happens at a networking level when you look something up with a browser (e.g. from arp requests, DNS, TCP handshake etc). Somehow they don't seem interested (I'm not in charge of hiring them). For bonus points explain what happens at an application and OS level, but as I said, nobody seemed interested in even learning about the first bit.

Re: The Akamai question is actually pretty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010127)

I would have said "it's like a big truck lost in a series of tubes."

Missed the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009837)

Q: "What's your least favorite thing about humanity?"
A: "You"

Can't believe the interviewee didn't think of that one.

Re:Missed the obvious (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 9 months ago | (#46009923)

Q: "What's your least favorite thing about humanity?"

A: [insert the name of a subset of the population]. Interview = exploded.

Re:Missed the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009983)

Q: "What's your least favorite thing about humanity?"

A: "ALL OF THEM!"

Re:Missed the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010189)

stop whining and... (2)

ionymous (1216224) | about 9 months ago | (#46009845)

just answer the questions like you're talking to another human, because you are.
You're too elitist if you think someone's question is stupid. Not all people are geniuses, and most employees aren't trained in interviewing.
Plus the question might be weird on purpose to see how you react. Don't be an ass.

Re:stop whining and... (1, Insightful)

marxzed (1075971) | about 9 months ago | (#46009927)

I think whining constitutes "talking to another human" and certanly seems to constitute 98% of most "professional" communications.
so, if job interviews were based on reality rather than some infantile fantasy world whining and snarking would actually good things to do in a job interview as it would show you fitted in to the corporate culture

Re:stop whining and... (1)

ionymous (1216224) | about 9 months ago | (#46010003)

My 15 years of professional employment at 4 companies has been much different than yours.

Re:stop whining and... (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 9 months ago | (#46010099)

just answer the questions like you're talking to another human, because you are.

At some point, you'd begin to wonder, especially if it was a phone interview.

Re:stop whining and... (4, Insightful)

Euler (31942) | about 9 months ago | (#46010163)

I agree. If a job candidate doesn't like the questions, I would expect them to react in a way that I could tolerate if I had to work with them. It is actually a good thing to pull a Kobayashi Maru in most cases as long as it seems like something that would be feasible. It is okay in the real-world to have a critical opinion as long as it is polite and constructive in the long-run.

I've been on the asking side of these questions several times now. (Not questions quite as silly as the examples in the article, but nonetheless...) HR said "pick 4 questions from this book and score according to this answer key." Obviously, the whole thing is highly subjective and the scoring is more about how a person reacts. Some of the questions are way too vague to be useful, but usually they allow you to gauge the behavior of a person. You basically want to find out how a person handles typical adverse situations that arise in a work environment. i.e. professional disagreements, impossible goals, annoying customers, etc.
I've seen many different reactions. It's okay if a person declines to answer maybe 1 out of the 4, but in some cases, people have claimed they never had an adverse situation. Not a good answer. Most people just try to answer the questions in a bland way with the 'expected' answer. So I need to hear something that tells me a person really cares, either by re-engineering the question, or having a really specific answer that would be hard to fabricate on the spot.

So you can be critical of these questions, but consider being in the shoes of an employer. You try writing questions for an interview that are not too vague, and can cut through peoples' BS'ing.

 

12) How does the Internet work? (2)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 9 months ago | (#46009857)

The clouds talk to each other though the use of touch.
We receive the data via a stream of electricity in thunderstorms.

Its all in the cloud, so simple, everyones happy.

"well, pretty sure that wraps this interview up" (1)

marxzed (1075971) | about 9 months ago | (#46009885)

was how I ended a skype interview for a job in New Zealand.

"you Western Australian's eat gold and shit diamonds, why would want to come to some backwater like (name of city) for half the pay"

OK so the organisation was losing a lot of their staff left right and centre to mining companies in the Australian city I live in but do you really want to work for someone who talks down one of the most beautiful rural cities in the world

www.thedailywtf.com (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009889)

most of our employees have to do trouble shoooting at clients, so we give them a test early in the interview
The candidate is seated in aroom with a secretary type person, who after a few minutes, says, hey are you a tech guy - my printer isn't working
The candidates who say you need to download linux to install drivers don't get hired
The ones who say, hey, no problem, the printer was unplugged, get to the next stage

I actually thought a lot of the 16 questions were pretty good...fuzzy tennis balls at xerox and how does the internet work at akamai are ok questions, depneding on the job

Re:www.thedailywtf.com (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46010045)

hey are you a tech guy - my printer isn't working

I'd start asking what the secretary means by "not working": "When you try to print a document, does the printer start making noises? Does an error message appear on the computer's display, and if so, what is the exact wording?"

Wow, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009929)

This post is as pointless as the Interview questions.

Be Careful (5, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | about 9 months ago | (#46009935)

You want to be snarky? Go ahead - enjoy it and feel good about yourself. But remember that the professional world in which you play is a VERY small one, and word gets around.

Re:Be Careful (2, Interesting)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 9 months ago | (#46010069)

And seriously why would you have issues with these questions? You might think they are silly, but perhaps that is the point.

There are going to be lots of crap things you have to do at work. Crap things "you" think are pointless and stupid and, despite what you may think, your employer knows that you don't want to do these things. They have their reasons even if you don't agree with them. If you respond like a cock in the interview you will be a cock to work with.

Also lets take the tennis ball question, one that is so well known that I had never heard it before. It is a behavioural question. If the person sitting opposite me answers it accurately due to knowledge of aerodynamics it actually tells me very little. However if the person tries to guess, or freezes, or says "I have no idea" all tell you quite a lot about how they will approach their work.

No it's not an exact science, yes a lot of it has as much reliability as homoeopathy, but you are making a decision to hire someone on a piece of paper that is going to be at least partially false, the word of people that person has personally picked (no bias there!) and the gut reaction based on a couple of hours of talking to that person.

Having hired close to 40 people to work directly for me over the past 8 years I can tell you that I HATE the hiring process. And after hiring a number of people that have been downright toxic to my business I now work on the premise that I will say no on even the barest hint the person I am talking to is a wanker. I'm sure I have missed some amazing talent now as a result but missing someone brilliant is a small price to pay for not getting a terrorist (terrorist - Good outcome, bad attitude).

um, yeah (4, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about 9 months ago | (#46009955)

I would be reluctant to blow up an interview just because there aren't that many people in my field, and no matter how ridiculous this particular interview, I might run into these people in some other environment where I *wanted* the job.

But this calls to mind a time I was trying to get an associate a job, who had been out of work more than two years. I had aced the interview, but we could not agree on price (they were offering a little less than what I was currently making) so we parted on good terms. I got in touch with them later, told them I personally vouched for another IT professional who would be a good fit for the position. They called him in for the interview. A few questions in, this happened:

"Describe a good work day."

"Well, I suppose that'd be a day when I haven't killed anyone."

Interview over.

Sigh. You just can't help some people.

No one has ever asked me questions like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46009965)

But then I'm well known for not suffering fools quietly, so I don't think anyone would dare. However, I also don't apply to places reported to indulge in such BS.

Truth is I'd probably be so astonished I'd just stare. The best response to fools is silence.

Best way... (4, Insightful)

MasseKid (1294554) | about 9 months ago | (#46009999)

The best way to light the path to your future is by burning the bridges of your past.

What is the difference between a duck? (3, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 9 months ago | (#46010015)

"How would you move a mountain using only a spoon?
  If you were in a box, how would you think outside it?
  Last question: What is the difference between a duck?"

Re:What is the difference between a duck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010119)

I would mount my frame of reference to the spoon and throw it past the mountain, or carry it if I wasn't trying to be dramatic

Being in a box isn't really the same thing as being in it. I know, I've been in the thick of it a number of times. I think that being in a box might be a bit like being in a pickle, but it's certainly not as bad as being in it. As a result, all thinking would be outside of it. If you're in it, you know. You'll prefer the box.

The width of a duck. All the stuff between the two sides of a duck make a difference exactly the same width as the duck.

Re:What is the difference between a duck? (1)

jklein (582887) | about 9 months ago | (#46010201)

One leg's the same.

Return it to the Interviewer! (5, Insightful)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 9 months ago | (#46010019)

Remember that a job interview is a 2-way transaction - you should be checking out the company and staff as carefully as they are checking you out. Put them on the ropes, ask them questions that make *them* uncomfortable, see how they handle it. "How has the company stock been doing?" Whatever the answer (Good/Poor), ask "Why?". Maintain eye contact and look for shifty glances. Keep your bullshit detector on high sensitivity. "What things does your competitor do better than your organization, and what is your plan to change them?"

It's one thing to be new to the profession and just want to steer your way to a first job. But later, after you've worked through a couple crappy companies, you'll see that it is important to be on the offensive during the interviews. Walk in like a boss and probe their weaknesses. Any organization worth their salt should be impressed at your command of the situation. And if they really were looking for a meek wallflower that would spout the most PC response - do you really want to work there? And if the responses from the interviewer are stilted and confused, do you really want them as a co-worker?

Answering an old chestnut (4, Interesting)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 9 months ago | (#46010021)

I once was asked the old job interview chestnut, "What is your greatest weakness?" I knew that you were supposed to lie and answer that one with a strength such as "I'm just too honest and hard-working." However, that technique always seemed too transparent to me, and I'm not a good liar. So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to answer it honestly. After that, the interviewer took a breath and said, "I appreciate your honest answer."

I took that as a bad sign at the time, but everything else went well so I was hopeful overall. Ultimately, though, I got turned down for the job. I've always suspected that my honest answer was the reason. Maybe they were looking for a gifted liar. But the job opening was for a software engineer, not a used car salesman, so that seems an odd qualification.

Re:Answering an old chestnut (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#46010103)

"I'm not a good liar" would've been a great answer to the question, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm a bit taken aback at some of the early posts here. I've had to interview a lot of people (as part of a team) for IT positions over the past few years, and quite a few of them demonstrate absolutely no correlation between what their resume says they should know and what they actually appear to know. You can get to where you're asking them stupid questions just to see if they can get something right. A lot of people apply for positions they aren't remotely capable of filling - guys who claim extensive Linux experience yet don't know what "find" or "ls" are, for instance; or "Windows admins" who don't know how to determine a PC's IP address.

Desert Island Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010035)

Q: "If you were trapped alone on a desert island, what three books would you want to have with you?"

A: "Escaping Desert Islands for Dummies, How to Swim With the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive), and Teach Yourself Stupid Interview Questions in 24 Hours."

yes & glad i resisted temptation (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 9 months ago | (#46010041)

I once got asked a question which I found hurtful and offensive, and felt tempted to 'blow up' the interview at that point. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation. As it turns out, the question was his way of introducing the next thing, which was telling me that he was offering me the job.

Concealed Weapon Of Choice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010051)

Who care whether the "pervert-n-interviewer' hires me! I don't want that perverts silva on my penis. No! I want BLOOD. And his blood will do fine.

Interviewer Pervert: Do you have common sense?

Responder: Yes. I have perfect common sense. In fact let my very good friend here, the M1911 Standard Issue, is going to make that point through your mother-fucking cranium.

There comes a point in the interview when you know you are not going to get the job. So Fuck'n What! Kill the pervert. Walk out into the beautiful sun light and breath deep that you killed a real pervert that need not have been born nor should have ever lived.

Good job.

Ha ha

GUI obsession (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 9 months ago | (#46010077)

Once when it looked pretty much gone, and the interviewer repeatedly kept implying OOP was about GUI's, I corrected him, which brought the interview to a quick(er) end. Probably was bad form, but it felt cathartic. Sometimes you don't want to work for complete idiots, even though it was a tough market at the time.

Ghostbusters FTW (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46010123)

Best. Interview question. EVER.

"Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?"

Blow up fail (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46010125)

Former dessert company executive faked his death and comes back under assumed identity to lead a new life. He is willing to start at the bottom.

Reggie Perrin's job Interview [youtube.com]

WTF #28 (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 9 months ago | (#46010143)

I once was given a "security" questionnaire that asked, "Have you ever had sex with animals or office equipment?"

I was very tempted to write in, "Do hair-dryers count?".

Never Burn Bridges (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about 9 months ago | (#46010183)

You can be selective with who you work with, but don't burn bridges. If the interviewer is not capable of accessing the position or your capabilities, then the politely and assertively ask to speaking with someone who can.

Re:Never Burn Bridges (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about 9 months ago | (#46010193)

assessing*

Interviewers forget... (5, Interesting)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 9 months ago | (#46010187)

Interviewers all too often forget that this is a two-way process. I am evaluating them as much as they are evaluating me. In a recent interview a manager (not the hiring manager) really started to put the screws to me about my job history, really harping on how long I'd been at certain places that are just plain normal these days. Engineering has become somewhat nomadic, moving on as contracts dry up, or after the place gets bought up to be run like a puppy mill.

My takeaway was they were out of touch the industry they were looking to break into, and further probing by me bore this out. At that point I was still smart enough not to "blow up" the interview, as as others have noted, niche industries are alarmingly small and interbred. You never know who you will run across again down the road.

2 Questions... blah! (1)

bucktug (306690) | about 9 months ago | (#46010203)

During an interview the HR guy asked me 2 questions that had the rest of the folks at the table offer me the job...
Q1: What 2 words best describe you?
A1: I would have to go with "Springer Guest"... Wait... the judge said "Repeat Offender"

Q2: What is your greatest weakness?
A2: I have a great distain for trick questions. I know you only want me to say something positive about myself because the negative thing about me is somehow a positive. But I am pretty grumbly hateful about it instead of humbly grateful.

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