Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interviewing For Dummies. . .

Whenever the economy turns south, business websites start posting interview tips. Wear a suit, don’t pick your nose, don’t pick the other guy’s nose. Sometimes they even post questions that might be asked, just to “prepare” you. But what good are questions without answers? And these other websites never give you the answers. Commentarama doesn’t play that game! So without further ado, we give unto you, the Commentarama Interview Guide.

Tips and Tipp-offs

Often, the decision to hire an applicant will come down to some subtle mistake the applicant makes, like missing the spittoon or insulting the interviewer’s mother. Sometimes, it’s a grooming failure or inappropriate body language. Sometimes, there’s just something about you that screams “untrustworthy,” “lazy,” or “stopid.” Fortunately, these kinds of mistakes are easy to avoid. Try to remember the following common sense guidelines:
• Wear clothing. The age of interviewing au naturel passed in 1976 with the advent of disco. Interviewers now expect you to come fully clothed.

• Check your resume for typos AND fix any typos you find. Sure, this sounds like nitpicking, but employers dig that kind of stuff. . . nitpicking, not natpicking.

• Don’t hurt anybody. . . don’t even threaten to hurt anybody. Save that until they try to fire you.

• Avoid common swear words whenever possible during the interview. Try using uncommon swear words instead. Swearing in a foreign language also can be seen as a sign of sophistication.

• Do not finish every statement with the words “as foretold by prophecy.” Once or twice is fine, but more than that seems a little emphatic.

• Do not bring a chunk of blue cheese with you, and if you do, share. We generally recommend pre-sliced provolone or a Vienna sausage.

• Don’t mention the six months you worked as a pimp. You paid good money to have that expunged, don’t waste the investment.

• Use the word "playa-hater" liberally.
Beyond that, pretty much anything goes.

The Interrogation

At some point, most interviews end up in a question and answer phase. This is where interviews get tricky. Contrary to what other “experts” may tell you, it is not a good idea to refuse to answer these questions. Indeed, you should never (1) greet a question with stony silence, (2) ask to “pass” on the question, (3) respond “what do you think [expletive]” to the [expletive]’s stupid question, or (4) plead the fifth. With that in mind, here are some common questions you might encounter, and some answers with a proven track record of success.
Q. What do you know about our company?
A. Apparently more than you, if you are asking me. They have a website if you want to bone up on it before we continue?

Q. What can you do for us that someone else can't?
A. I am willing to go that extra mile, and I’m not saddled with qualms about morality.

Q. What do you believe is the most difficult part of being a supervisor of people?
A. Dealing with the jerks that companies hire.

Q. How would your colleagues describe you?
A. Why? What have you heard?

Q. How would your boss describe you?
A. Obsessed with quality, paranoid about mistakes, maniacal about customer satisfaction, and down right crazy when it comes to company loyalty.

Q. Why do you want to work for us?
A. My cult leader told me to work here. He said further instructions would follow.

Q. What are your strong points?
A. I’ve won national awards for both the decibel level and the duration of my flatulence.

Q. What are your weak points?
A. My tendency to take revenge against people who don’t hire me.

Q. What was wrong with your current or last position?
A. The legal fees were killing me.

Q. What position do you expect to have in 2 to 5 years?
A. I plan to be your boss.

Q. Tell me about your hobbies?
A. I sell office supplies at flea markets.

Q. If you could be any type of tree, what kind of tree would you be?
A. The kind that gets hired.
If you practice these questions and memorize these answers before an interview, nothing can go wrong!

Turn The Tables On Your Opponent

Finally, there will come a point in the interview when the hunter becomes the huntee, and you get to grill the bastard. Many people are afraid to take advantage of this opportunity to land a few devastating blows. This is a mistake. Try the following questions, which will make you sound like an ideal candidate:
• You’ve never interviewed anyone before, have you?

• Why do the secretaries call you “stinky”?

• You’re not going to verify anything on my resume are you?

• Why is this position open?

• Did you know that aliens built my house?

• I heard the word "bathroom cam" when I passed the mailroom, what are the limits on that policy?

There you have it, advice that is all but guaranteed to get you noticed! Trust me, you’ll thank us later. . .


Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - You cannot believe how happy I am that you reminded me I am retired.

ScottDS said...

I literally read this last weekend: "43 weird things said in job interviews"

My favorites include:

-"[The candidate asked,] 'Can my dad call you to talk about the job and the training program? He is really upset I'm not going to medical school and wants someone to explain the Wall Street path to him.' The dad did call. Then that dad's friends called and I ended up doing a conference call with a group of concerned parents ... long story."

-"Cigarettes are getting more expensive, so I need another job."

-"I get angry easily and I went to jail for domestic violence. But I won't get mad at you."

StanH said...

Funny Andrew! Have you seen the Wayman brothers movie, “Don’t be a Menace to South Central while Drinking your Juice in the Hood.” One of the Wayman’s go on a interview with his bedroom slippers pacifier’s in his hair, puts his feet on the desk, funny stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Guys, just passing through. . . work calls, but I will be back soon. Let me just say, Jed, retirement is for quitters! And I wish I could join you. :-)

JG said...

So this is why I'm still unemployed - or as I like to say now, self-employed!

CrispyRice said...

This is one of the reasons I like Commentarama so much. It's your never-ending devotion to public service and letting us know stuff like this. I'm gonna go practice >>expletive deleted<<

AndrewPrice said...

CrispyRice, we're all about public service! In fact, we have a whole division that does nothing buy public service. Oh wait, that's community service. :-(

Scott, It is stunning what people will say in interviews. I've interviewed dozens of people in my time and some of the things they've asked me have been stunning: "How do you work with that guy (the prior interviewer), he's a total jerk man." ???!

Stan, I saw that... entertaining movie! When I left college, there was a guy who had 10 interviews and no offers. He went to these interviews with accounting firms (the Big Six were still around then), and he thought nothing of wearing birkenstocks with his suit. Huh? I have no idea how he would think that was a good idea, but then having seen people show up drunk, in cutoff jeans for a DUI hearing or looking like pimps/hookers for a civil court case, you start to realize that many people just aren't really aware of the world around them.

JG, Self-employment is easily the superior choice where you can find the work.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I haven't been job hunting, but I'm going to look at the help wanted columns just so I can use your suggestions. Haven't had a lot of fun lately.

Joel Farnham said...

I know this is a little bit off topic, but.

In defense it is in the spirit of what not to do. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, that's great! Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking? When you see public service ads that tell people to not put naked pictures of themselves or picture of themselves engaged in criminal activity onto their facebook pages, you know something has gone wrong with society.

Lawhawk, Give the advice above a try, I all but guarantee you that you'll leave an impression. :-)

Cheryl said...

This is very funny!

Once I had a girl show up in Twinkie pajama bottoms for an interview,

She didn't get the job.

AndrewPrice said...

Cheryl, Twinkie pajama bottoms. Holy cow!

patti said...

during a recent interview with highly educated professionals, i was asked to do something possibly illegal. i asked: isn't that illegal?! shrugs all around. after that, i answered each of their questions with questions of my own. why would you risk that? do your superiors now? who goes to jail if you're caught?

the interview ended shortly. i'm sure they noted i was wholly unprofessional in my insubordination. on the way to my car, i called husband and informed him i was opening my own business.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I never knew you interviewed for Obama's cabinet?

patti said...

andrew: there needs to be a warning flag on some of these comments. you made me blow my martini right out my nose.

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