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Thread: 23 Real Job Interview Questions You Don't Want to Be Asked

  1. #1
    Djiril's Avatar
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    23 Real Job Interview Questions You Don't Want to Be Asked

    I found this while looking around for job search advice. I find it amusing:

    I think some of the math questions might be relevant to some jobs, most of the others are just plain weird. I kind of wish a job interviewer would ask me to sing, since open mics are my favorite hobby and public performance tends to relax me.
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  2. #2
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    Nov 2010
    *also amused* I want to know how these questions were answered and if they got the job ;P

  3. #3
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    Dec 2009
    The 3 and 5 liter bottle question is a traditional riddle.

    The answer: Fill [3]. Pour into [5]. Fill [3] again. Pour into [5] until full. [3] now has 1 liter left and [5] has 5. Dump [5] and pour in the 1 liter from [3]. Fill [3] again and pour into [5]. [5] now contains 1+3= 4 liters.

  4. #4
    memnoch's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Honestly I can see good reasons for a lot of them. A bit of background, I do have a degree in business management as well as over 10 years experience. Some questions are used to throw you off your game...interviews have gotten to the point it is pretty much "memorize these answers", throwing an unexpected question allows you to see how a candidate acts on their feet when faced with a problem they didn't see coming. Others get candidates to answer things they may not normally answer.

    For example, asking why you didn't get a 4.0 can be quite revealing. A good, honest answer would be, "I am a bright person, but I am not perfect, I got a 3.0 through hard work and 100% effort, it was the best I could do.", a trap you may fall into is "I didn't apply myself fully" which can lead an interviewer to see you may not always work your hardest at something...unless it has been several years, in which case you could follow it up with "I was young and didn't value the importance of hard work and a solid education, since then both my work ethic and real world education have increased tremendously" followed by examples from previous employment.

    For the three things that would make you refuse a job. We all have needs, demands, and value different aspects. For example, I am currently an assistant manager and was a store manager of a relatively large retail chain (about $1.4 million annually in sales at my store). If I were to be asked that question when looking for a promotion now I would say that I am not ready to take over one of the busiest stores in the district...that while I may be interested still, I think it would be best to develop my skills more at a small to medium size store. Or if asked about a district manager position, I would explain that the pay could be an issue. I would break this down with a series of facts. For example, I would state that I know the highest paid store managers in our district make about $1000 a week for a 50+ hour work week, or $20/hr. As a district manager I know I would be on call 24/7 and would be putting in at least 80 hours of work a week. I would need to make $25/hr for the higher level of responsibility, times 80 hours, I would need $2000 per week.

    The other one I love is the "why should we hire you". Even as an account executive, part of your work is in sales (albeit a bit indirectly). This question I am essentially asking an employee to sell themselves to me. The bottom line is employees are commodities, and just like any other commodity, a salesman needs to know how to sell themselves. The reality is if you can't sell me why you are the best candidate for a job, you can't sell my product to customers, or at that level, sell the quality of our product to the employees under you who will be selling the product.
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  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
    Phoenix, Arizona
    One reason for many of these questions is to see how you answer when you do not know an answer or when there is more than one right way to answer a question (such as the question about manhole covers). Do you stumble over yourself trying to second guess the person asking you the question? Do you stick to only one answer? Are you willing to accept that even though your answer may be technically correct, there are other more acceptable answers? How do you handle it when there is no "right" answer? The very nature of your answer can tell alot about you; if you answer that manhole covers are round because it is cheapest to manufacture relative to other shapes because it requires the least amount of metal to cover an opening wide enough for a person to get through, that shows you focus on the cost of an item in addition to its functionality.

    Some of the questions are designed to reveal your approach to problem solving. The question about the pigs and the poison has a simple answer: the minimum number of pigs is one if the first bucket you pick happens to be the one with the poison in it or even zero if you spare the pigs and take a mere drop of the liquid yourself. The game show question reveals whether or not you can be easily led to change your opinion based on the suggestions of others and your faith in your choices.

    The question about compensating the company for missed time if you were late to work is actually a trick question. While you can compensate he company for the time missed, you cannot compensate them for the inconvenience or the decline in their perception of your dependability. If you fail to address either of those factors in your answer, it shows that you don't entirely see things from the company's point of view.

    All of those questions take you out of the comfort zone of prepared answers you bring to an interview with you and reveal the real person behind the preparation to the interviewer.
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  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
    Tasmania, Australia
    I remember being asked in an interview to spell 'Zebra' backwards.
    Threw me right off my game - needless to say I didn't get the job. At the time, I actually felt quite insulted.

    The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand...



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