Career Survival Skills: Another Stupid Interview Question
by Michael Mayher

I feel compelled again this week to address yet another ridiculous question interviewees are subjected to and feel obligated to answer. Clearly, the most basic premise of a job interview is for the hiring manager to challenge those with whom they will meet by asking “can you do the job and why should we hire you?” How is it such a basic task can be turned into such a circus; nevertheless, leave it to people without any business sense or bureaucrats to turn even the most straight-forward and clear processes into something unrecognizable and, quite nearly, pointless.

Have you ever been asked this one, “…what animal would you choose to be?” or any variation referring to a kind of car, a food, even a candy bar you would choose to be? Along with the inevitable follow-up question, “…and why…?” My own wife experienced this very question at an assessment center style interview at a well-known and recognizable company that produces and sells chocolate and coffee, among other products.

She related to me afterwards, one of the attendees answered that she would choose to be a panda, to which the interviewer replied and challenged, “Well, that’s a lazy animal isn’t it?” This sounds more to me like something you’d encounter in a kindergarten or a therapy session. Pardon me but what in the hell does that line of questioning have to do with one’s abilities or qualifications for a job? And yet, somewhere there is some degreed and lofty intellectual who thinks this should be a part of the interview ritual for a Fortune 500 company. Near as I can tell the only thing it really measures is the threshold to which potential employees will allow themselves to be diminished, condescended to and their willingness to be humiliated by whoever is running the interview. I was rather pleased that my wife gave a flippant answer and soon after extricated herself.

But following their example, can I suggest something similarly stupid and pointless? Here, try this, jump up and down on one foot, rub your tummy in a circle with one hand; meanwhile, at the same time, repeatedly pat the top of your head with the other hand. Yes, please do that because I want to evaluate your multi-tasking skills.

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)

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