Everyone knows that preparing for job interviews can be loads of stress. We always think and wonder about the questions that will be asked and how we're going to end up answering. Every time I have an interview, I go over potential interviews over a hundred times almost, just hoping to get it right.
A first interview for me is like a first date: you want to make a good impression, but you also need to sell yourself well without overdoing it. You want to establish that there's potential stemming from this conversation, and that this potentiality is something they need. How can you not be stressed?
To counter this, I started a few rituals like reading and rereading my curriculum vitae. It always pays to memorize everything there, and be prepared for whatever they might throw at me. I even do a mock interview with me, myself and I in front of the mirror in my room. Coming from casual university dressing, I obsess over my attire especially in relation to the company I'm applying for. The list goes on.
But no matter how much I prepared, nothing could have prepared me for some of the questions that I've been asked. Maybe it's the fresh graduate thing or maybe it's just the "this isn't what I was expecting" moments, but here is a list of questions that seem quite ordinary but literally left me speechless for a couple of seconds - what’s interesting is that it has come up more than once with different companies.
What do you do for fun on weekends?
This isn’t really something that's hard to answer but as someone with very diverse interests like geeking out on TV shows, or binge-reading trilogies and book series, or traveling the country, or going to parties, it’s a question that you carefully have to weigh your answers to.
I usually find myself trying to play a split second mind game with my interviewer and trying to grasp the kind of person he or she is looking for for the job.
Usual Answer: I read a lot, books and articles. I write. I watch TV and movies. I hang out with friends. I travel. I try to do everything on my bucket list.
Of course you would want to put your best foot forward, so you try to show people that you have diverse interests, and yet you still have to show them you've got skills.
Are you single?
I’m not sure if I am the only one particularly baffled by this question, but this definitely comes up a lot. I don’t really mind being asked about my relationship status but after a long series of serious questions that make you describe yourself and what you’ve been able to achieve, this can be quite a shocker.
The question never fails to stun me for a good half second because I always debate about answering with sass, “Single and ready to mingle.” Or with honesty, “Yes, and honestly I’ve never been happier.” You want to answer honestly without the TMI (too much information). It’s a balance between trying to understand what answer your interviewer wants from you, and what you’re willing to reveal about your current emotional condition. How you answer this question will also say a lot about your personality and how you deal with surprise situations.
Usual Answer: Yes, so I devote all of my time to having a good balance of working and having fun.
In the interest of being honest and keeping the interview work related you'd best answer with your current relationship status, but still include how your relationship status enhances your work ethic.
How do you handle rejection? Have you ever been rejected?
If I had to answer this question as honestly as possible, I would probably respond with “emotional or work-wise?”
I’ve known of a couple of friends who have shared that when asked this question, their mind leaves the office building and flies back to the time of their most recent failed romantic conquests. It's pretty funny how once we hear the word "rejection" we auto-associate it with our personal romantic endeavors even when the question is most probably about our career. Don't get caught up in emotions in an interview.
Usual Answer: I have and I am perfectly fine with being rejected, I don’t dwell on rejection, only on improving myself and the work that I put out.
Nobody really likes someone who's bitter, and let's face it, rejection is something people face every day. The truth of the matter is if you want to survive in the real world and the job hunt, you need to be able to let go of your emotions and move on.
Can you say something in French?
I studied in France for one summer and took up classes for the French language so it’s not a surprise to me that I am asked about that experience quite often.
What shocks me is what usually comes after. See, I don’t normally think in French or randomly practice with myself on a daily basis, so whenever I get asked this question, I start to wonder 1) what I should say, and 2) what I would do if my interviewer knew how to speak French as well. Those were very real fears that threw me back to the times of college and oral examinations. if
Usual Answer (in French): I want to work for [name of company].
What better way to impress than telling your potential employer that you would love to work for their company?
Would you like to share the questions that left you speechless? Leave them in the comments below and maybe help a fellow job seeker out by giving them a heads up.