Those superbly annoying interview questions!!

Hello Friends!!

Thank you once again for all the appreciation, encouragement and support you all have been extending to my blogs. 🙂

Today’s topic of discussion is rather interesting. And I am sure that many of you will agree to what I have to say.

Last week, I caught up with some of my old friends after a long time. And just like how all reunions are…full of fun, gossip, banter and catching-up, even this one was exactly the same. So just as the cocktails started flowing in, started our conversations about what each one of us has been up to.  So while some were dragging themselves to work from one day to another, for reasons ranging from traffic woes to an over demanding boss to no-appraisals to no-dearness allowance in the age of rising inflation and to zero-motivation, one of my friends who is freshly out of her B-School said she was hunting for a job.

Since not too long ago, even I have gone through the same grind, I could empathise with her very well. She had a point. And I found myself seconding her opinion that how mundane all the interviews are! And how annoying some of those clichéd questions are!

I bet that all of you, at some point of time in your life, have answered these annoying questions, only because you are in the hot-seat and are left with no option to ‘not answer’. So here is the list:

1. The classic Question, without which it seems no interview in the world would have ever started, “Tell me something about your self!” Why? Haven’t you gone through my C.V? Can we not cut the formalities and come to the point?

While on the face of it, it looks like a perfectly normal, easy and a harmless question, let me warn you, it is anything but that. It is the deciding question that can make or break it. So what exactly do you tell about yourself in less than two minutes?  How do you summarise your 25 years of existence? You would usually start with introducing yourself and then proceed to talk about your qualifications and about your family background. May be even hobbies and interests. But you would wonder how through any of these information is he going to check your aptitude or ability? So finally, when I could not think of any sensible reason for this question, I concluded that this is just an ‘ice-breaker’ question. But what amazes me is the fact that, across the globe, this question is religiously asked. Unfailing! And when you are trying your best to lend some dignity to your life and explain it in the best possible way, the interviewer doesn’t even bother to look up from his ipad. Wonder if he is playing ‘Angry Birds’!

2. Another irritating question/command is, ‘Why don’t you quickly take me through your C.V?”

This means that your interviewer is lazy and hasn’t even bothered to throw a glance at your C.V. After all, in all probability, you are just one of many people queuing up for the interview, right? If you have the nerve to take the risk, and if you are sure that he doesn’t have a copy of your C.V somewhere, then you may might as well tell him all those honours you wished were on your C.V. Or you may paint a very beautiful picture of what you are all about.
(P.S. I am not suggesting any of these daredevil acts)

3. Finally when he gives up on ‘Angry Birds’, and does look up, he will ask you, “What do you know about this Company?”

Now, I am sure that in this world of instant communication and super speedy access to information, and assuming that the interviewee is serious about finding a job; he would have gone through the company website and found out what the company does. But I guess, this question is asked because they simply can’t assume that you would know about their company and hence they have to verify that. And also, if they do hire you, they have to make sure that the money they invest on the ‘Resource’ is going to give them ROI. After all, they are answerable to their superiors as well.

4.       What are your Strengths? is another classic question.

What could be a perfect answer to this question is rather debatable. You can’t blow your own trumpet, lest you shall come across as boastful. At the same time you can’t be too humble and meek, otherwise one of those many others waiting will get the job. So you have to draw a perfectly fine line between pride and humility. So your balancing act will decide whether your answer has earned you brownie points or not.

5.       Another question that is a guaranteed companion of the previous question, “What are some of your weaknesses?”

Do you really tell them the truth? If you say you have no weaknesses, mind you, you will be rejected straight away. If you say just one or two, they will feel you can’t do a good self-analysis and self-introspection job or you are too arrogant. If you say one too many, I really don’t have to tell you what the consequence would be. So I think sticking to the truth is the best bet. They know we are humans, and they just are checking how we would react in real life tricky situations.

6.       Why do you think we should hire you?

You have to nail this question somehow. Should you say, ‘You should hire me because I will be great asset/resource to your organisation, will work tirelessly and do all I can to meet expectations, will also do extra hours without bonuses’? This is sure way of digging your own grave. Then don’t grumble when you are stuck up in office, well after everyone has left, everyday. So after over committing so much, you might as well find yourself a divorce lawyer. You probably might need him.
So through trial and error, you somehow have to find the best answer to this question, one that will massage your ego and your employer’s. And you have to market yourself in the best possible way. And let it be honest. So while everyone is just faking it, your honestly will probably do it for you.

7.  The most irritating of all, the most senseless, silly, unimaginative and surely the category-winner question is, ‘Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?’

Well, if I knew that much, why would I be here? Should you say, ‘I see myself in the arms of Katrina Kaif (or whoever is fit for your imagination based on your preferences and gender), perched on top of our water-bed in our posh villa at Aamby Valley’?

Ok Jokes apart, whatever you say is going to get you in a catch-22 situation.  If you come across as too ambitious, you might scare the interviewer and threaten his own position. If you aim too low, it will be construed as you are a satisfied person and that you lack initiative, leadership qualities and passion. So if someone figures out the best way of answering this question, please do write to me and share tips with me. I haven’t really figured out how to answer this one.

There are some more nonsensical questions in this list. You may add them in your comments here and we shall all have a good laugh at them.

I got to go now, I am interviewing a fresher tomorrow and have to try my best to make him uneasy and ask him all of these questions. Lol 🙂

Ciao! Bye!

Oh yeah, forgot this one completely. Why are some interviewers obsessed over asking you capitals of various places? Any Clue?

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19 thoughts on “Those superbly annoying interview questions!!

  1. As much as i find the sarcastic remarks after each questions funny – u will be surprised to the kind of answers most interviewers have to go through to find a decent candidate. as long as the focus of the interview is to find a candidate suitable to the job profile we are offering, it is also important to filter out idiots who go for window shopping with those basic questions. if a candidate cant impress me answering those ‘older-than-the-dinasour’ questions, i maybe better off playing my angry bird!

    • I totally agree…And i do know that the intention of these silly questions is just to get the candidate talking, to test the waters..
      This was all written in good humour. Who knows, when i am on the other side, i might also be playing Angry birds 🙂

  2. A real life story,
    Interviewer: Would you like to answer two easy questions or one tough question?
    Candidate: One tough question!
    Interviewer: Ok.. What came first, egg or hen?
    Candidate: The egg.
    Interviewer: How?????????
    Candidate: Sir, you said you would ask only one tough question. This is your second one… 🙂
    Interviewer: You’re in!!!

  3. Heyyy zee now I’m on the other side of the table….so its hilarious to understand the psyche of a candidate. Nonetheless well written…

  4. Hey Hi Zinal.. nice read..

    These are the questions which helps setting up the tempo of an interview.. I personally ask these questions in order to hear the voice modulations and the heart beat of a candidate, which helps me setting him on a track. The silly looking questions are nothing but the “Traps” which helps in elimination. How much brilliant or educated you are, the interviewer has an eye on your absent mindedness and this is the key for a candidate to understand how self conscious he/she is.

    I surely play Angry Birds in order to keep my temperament low…. 🙂 u wont believe how many characters an interviewer has to come across in his daily routine. 🙂

      • ya ya i know re.. just wanted to put forward my few thoughts on it. 🙂 its fairly true when it comes down to a newbie struggling to get a job.. who better then us can know this! how difficult was it to crack one.. 🙂

  5. How are generic interview questions not to be expected when one is applying for a generic job which requires generic skills, after graduating from a generic b-school?

  6. Yes, it must be very frustrating to face generic questions. Especially when you are applying for a generic job which requires generic skills after graduating from a generic B-school.

  7. ziiiiii according to me

    as long as the focus of the interview is to find a candidate suitable to the job profile we are offering,
    it is also important to filter out idiots who go for window shopping with those basic questions.

  8. Most of the times it is not the answer to these generic questions that matter but the passion and conviction(tone) with which it is delivered gets the desired results.

    I have hired idiots who were really passionate and had to let go of good candidates who lacked the passion and determination.(What was my BOSS thinking while hiring me?) It usually works. You want to hire people who are sincere and love the job and not ones who lack passion and just love your company.

    Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?

    My response : I have set some short – mid – long term goals for myself. In the short term I want to learn more and adapt my current skills to your company policies/procedures/processes and requirements. To prove my ability.

    Mid Term – get rewarded for my abilities in delivering results and be given opportunities to learn and earn more. Mid-management

    Long Term – Make me a part of the growth story. Senior Management.

  9. If you think about why these questions are asked in interviews, and wonder how to answer them, think about the company and what answer you can give that will make it seem that you are a good fit for the job. I was coaching a young man in interviews skills, and his answer to “Tell me something about yourself” was, “What do you want to know?” WRONG, wrong, wrong, Don’t turn control over to the interviewer. Think of something about yourself that will make you appealing to the company.

    • Hey Ronnie, wonderful point and you have my complete agreement on this.
      Like i mentioned in my previous comments also, this was just a humourous post, and i do understand why these questions have to be asked.
      Thank you for stopping by mine 🙂

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