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Author: Subject: How would you answer this job interview question?

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 12:23 PM
I am 59, retired with 2 pensions, one military, one law enforcement. Don't really need to work, but not rich by any means. I just have too much time and energy on my hands.
Old retired friend works for a security firm, and told me he could get me an interview
(supposedly this is a highly desirable job among ex police.)
After almost 40 yrs of it, the last thing I want to do is work in any kind of enforcement position ,but I also do not want a job that will not challange me in some way, everyday.
I decide to take the first interview yesterday.
I have gathered from my time here, we have some intelligent people posting here. Some I would guess are in upper management, and have the duty of performing a job interview. We have all had them, but not many have given one.
My resume speaks for itself, my background is impeccable ...no problem there.
I have prided myself with being able to remain calm in harrowing situations, and don't rile easily.
Then we get to the personal part of the interview.
This is the question that (besides taking a long time to get to it) threw me a little, and I would like to know how, and if you would ask, or answer this question.
Try to put yourself in the moment where you basically have 10 seconds to answer.

"Tell me something about yourself you don't wan't me to know?
(I quickly think of the Psychology behind this question?)
Maybe it was the security of knowing I really didn't need the job, or the fact I did not find the question appropriate, that I just said:

(not with a combative tone)
"Hire me, and maybe we'll talk about it over drinks one night! But for now, with all due respect, I don't think I'll answer that question".
By his facial reaction I can tell he liked my answer, even though as I said it,I wasn't sure I should have.

Did he want to see if my life was an open book?
Did he want to see if he could right off the bat manipulate anything out of me that he wanted?
Did he want to see If i would stand up to him and not answer a question that did not have to be answered?
Did he want to see if I had anything to hide?
Did he want to see how easily i could talk?
All these things ran threw my mind. With people like this, there is a reason for every question.

How would some of you react to this question, just curious?

I'll let you know if I ger called back for a second interview

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 01:05 PM
I'm a construction worker and general contractor. I've interviewed for jobs I wanted, and interviewed people who I hired. I would never ask anyone a bullsh*t question like that, nor would I answer it. When I'm interviewing for a job, I'm also interviewing the company to see if I want to work for them or not. I think you answered appropriately, and if you never hear from them, so be it. My guess is you will get the job, as they can see you aren't an ass kisser and know what you are about. I hope you get the job, if that is what you want, but I bet there is something you'd enjoy more out there.

[Edited on 2/20/2010 by SantaCruzBluz]

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 01:08 PM
That's an interesting one. They have to know there is plenty they can't ask during an interview. I see two possibilities: either they're trying to judge someone's reaction when thrown a curveball, or they're hoping for some revelation of details on one of those subjects they can't ask about. Maybe both at once.

If this is a company of any size, I'd say its the former. They're just trolling for a psychological reaction, some way of judging how well you think when presented with something out of left field. Reaction time might be a component. No one can say exactly how they'd respond under such circumstances, but I'd hope I could find some humor to respond, and not stammer too long in doing so.

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 01:38 PM
I would have made a smart ass quip like...."I killed my dad and buried him in the garden. Now he's literally pushing up daisies..............JUUUUUUST kidding!"

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 01:45 PM
Sounds like you handled it well. Back when I was interviewing for jobs I asked essentially the same question to my potential employers. I would always ask what they liked least about working there. I always got an answer, and usually it was "office politics".

I wouldn't read anything negative into the fact that thequestion was asked. Actually it's a pretty good interview question.

The last few years I interviewed a lot of college grads for engineering positions at GM. I always asked challenging questions such as "Tell me about a time in school or at work when you had to work in a team with people who could not get along together. What did you do, and what was the result?" As an interviewer I was trained to ask about difficult or challenging situations and try to get direct responses about the actions the candidate took and the results that were achieved. Often I'd ask about a decision a candidate had made that he later regretted, and what he did about it.

Job interviews are a lot more challenging than they were the last time I was in the market (35 years ago). I don't think I could do it. When I was hired by GM the interview consisted of a personnel guy and I talking college sports for an hour. Then a few weeks later he called and asked me to meet him at a bar. I got the job offer watching a football game over beers.

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 02:07 PM
I would probably say something similar to what you did, SpyNet - if I have something I don't want people to know about myself I don't talk about it. Sounds like a psychologically motivated question to guage your response. And if it's not, and it is a question that would make or break the interview, don't know that I'd want to be working for that company anyway.

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 06:24 PM
Thank you all for your take on that scenario. I was curious what a small consesus might think about it and I couldn't think of a more suitable place to post than the WP...laden with such diverse opinions.

 

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  posted on 2/20/2010 at 08:51 PM
I would give the interviewer the link to the MT threads and tell him to find out for himself. If I didn't get the job I could blame Sang.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2010 at 12:16 AM
They used to ask tell me what is your biggest weakness and what is your biggest strength. It's like that. You have to tell them something. I usually tell them I can handle stupidity in people because it's not their fault, but I cannot handle laziness or stubborn, people who will not even make an effort. My biggest strength is flexibility, patience and resourcefulness. Nobody likes stress but I will find a way to get the job/project done even under unrealistic timeframes. It's a nice way to say I'm bossy and demanding and don't take no for answer!

And those things are true.

 

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  posted on 2/21/2010 at 11:39 AM
I interviewed for a job with a guy while I was in New Orleans. He was well-dressed, and well-groomed, and I'm sure he's used to being the guy in charge and having people cater to his desires.

You should have seen the look on his face when I pointed out to him that he had just told me a story about lying to one of his customers, and speculating that if he would lie to them, he was probably likely to lie to me as well. The interview ended shortly later, with both of us saying we'd think about it and talk again. We haven't talked yet.

 

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  posted on 2/22/2010 at 04:48 PM
hmmn not sure how i would answer that one, i'd probably turn it into a strenths/weaknesses question.


the one question that i think hung me on an invterview a few years back (which i now understand to be an illegal question) was: "what songs do you have on your ipod". Well, i had just loaded up a bunch of the Dead Europe tour, and answered honestly. It was my THIRD interview. and i never heard back from them.

 

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  posted on 2/22/2010 at 04:54 PM
I think you gave a good answer. It reminds me of the question I got one time in an interview. The interviewer asked me, “what IF I told you this interview is not going well?” My response was, “when you tell me that, then we can talk about it, but right now you are just talking about what ifs.” I almost used the Duane line about a frog having wings, but thought better of it. The guy actually liked my response. It was one of those BS questions meant to trip you up and see how you react to such news.
 

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  posted on 2/22/2010 at 05:11 PM
quote:

"Tell me something about yourself you don't wan't me to know?


I am not wearing any underpants!

 

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  posted on 2/23/2010 at 09:39 AM
quote:
You should have seen the look on his face when I pointed out to him that he had just told me a story about lying to one of his customers, and speculating that if he would lie to them, he was probably likely to lie to me as well. The interview ended shortly later, with both of us saying we'd think about it and talk again. We haven't talked yet.


Unreal. I had a guy a few years ago tell me in an interview that they like to handpick their board so they can “bully” them. So when we started talking about what my compensation would be after he made me an offer, and they refused to put anything in writing I said, “If you are going to bully the board, what exactly are you going to do to me?” He had no answer for me. I said thanks, but no thanks to his offer. Incidentally, many boards of companies were effectively asleep at the wheel leading up to the crisis or were “bullied” I would imagine. Nice business model, bully the board.

 

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  posted on 2/24/2010 at 06:23 PM
It's the culture of the company and the politics also. If they say they want someone who will take charge, it really means they know the people who are managing it now are doing a lousy job and they want that to change. The problem is whoever comes in will not be able to change anything because that is the way the company functions and if they wanted change they would have forced their current managers to either do their jobs, or they would have replaced them before you came in.

 

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  posted on 2/25/2010 at 01:28 PM
quote:
quote:
You should have seen the look on his face when I pointed out to him that he had just told me a story about lying to one of his customers, and speculating that if he would lie to them, he was probably likely to lie to me as well. The interview ended shortly later, with both of us saying we'd think about it and talk again. We haven't talked yet.


Unreal. I had a guy a few years ago tell me in an interview that they like to handpick their board so they can “bully” them. So when we started talking about what my compensation would be after he made me an offer, and they refused to put anything in writing I said, “If you are going to bully the board, what exactly are you going to do to me?” He had no answer for me. I said thanks, but no thanks to his offer. Incidentally, many boards of companies were effectively asleep at the wheel leading up to the crisis or were “bullied” I would imagine. Nice business model, bully the board.


This guy was telling me how short-handed he was, and to illustrate, he told me that he had just spoken to a client. They had been gone away for a few days, and he was supposed to do the work while they were gone. Instead of telling them the truth, he acted like he had misunderstood them, and that he was supposed to do the work when they returned. I sat there thinking, "He'd rather look stupid, or lie, than just tell the truth." I knew right then I couldn't work for him.

I think many people are so used to being dishonest, and the people they associate with being dishonest, that they don't even think about it. And I think they are also looking for like-minded people. In your case, he was looking for someone else who likes to bully the board. I wonder how it makes them feel when someone they are "interviewing" calls them on their BS.

 

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  posted on 2/25/2010 at 01:45 PM
SpyNet, have you heard any feedback from the interview?

 

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  posted on 2/26/2010 at 09:16 AM
Simple for me, my answer... "I would of never thought of insulting your intelligence, why insult mine"

 

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  posted on 2/26/2010 at 04:10 PM
quote:
SpyNet, have you heard any feedback from the interview?

Hi Bob..thanks for asking.
I actually was offered the job. Found out last night, and was thus invited to a party for one of the employees in New Rochelle, NY. About 20 miles south of me, the weather was not quite bad enough to stop me. Only Gina (my wife) Don, (my buddy), and 2 other couples made it, out of what was supposed to be around 20-30 heads.
Tom (my interviewer) didn't make it in from deep on Long Island. I thought of breaking chops when we spoke this morning and tell him I now know something about you you didn't want me to know,..that your afraid to drive in the snow!!
I did not feel it to be appropriate to act too friendly at this point though, I'm hard wired to respect command, so it didn't come out...yet

Only looking to work PT, and they will allow me to be flexible. As long as we have someone to cover each other, we can switch days.
I wasn't really looking to turn the switch on anymore, but I think it will be interesting work.
It will keep me busy a few days a week and slow down the rusting process.
As I stated, I have a young wife also, and I don't want her to see me sitting around not doing much besides my writing.
I have been idle 2 years now, and I have had enough R&R.
The fact I am getting this job as I collect 2 pensions, and the unemployment rate is so high is not lost on me.
The way I look at it though, no one in the private sector would get this job anyway, so I am not talking a general public position away from anyone.
Plus, I sensed this is the feeling from the few I met last night, with all due humility ... we earned it.
Thanks again for asking.

Oh, btw. The question he asked me. He wouldn't hire anyone who answered it.
It was a Physc question as most of us discerned, and appropriate the more I think about it.
Can't have someone give up any information automatos (in security) with a knee jerk question.

Silvio


[Edited on 2/26/2010 by SpyNet]

 

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  posted on 2/26/2010 at 04:16 PM
quote:
quote:
SpyNet, have you heard any feedback from the interview?

Hi Bob..thanks for asking.
I actually was offered the job. Found out last night, and was thus invited to a party for one of the employees in New Rochelle, NY. About 20 miles south of me, the weather was not quite bad enough to stop me. Only Gina (my wife) Don, (my buddy), and 2 other couples made it, out of what was supposed to be around 20-30 heads.
Tom (my interviewer) didn't make it in from deep on Long Island. I thought of breaking chops when we spoke this morning and tell him I now know something about you you didn't want me to know,..that your afraid to drive in the snow!!
I did not feel it to be appropriate to act too friendly at this point though, I'm hard wired to respect command, so it didn't come out...yet

Only looking to work PT, and they will allow me to be flexible. As long as we have someone to cover each other, we can switch days.
I wasn't really looking to turn the switch on anymore, but I think it will be interesting work.
It will keep me busy a few days a week and slow down the rusting process.
As I stated, I have a young wife also, and I don't want her to see me sitting around not doing much besides my writing.
I have been idle 2 years now, and I have had enough R&R.
The fact I am getting this job as I collect 2 pensions, and the unemployment rate is so high is not lost on me.
The way I look at it though, no one in the private sector would get this job anyway, so I am not talking a general public position away from anyone.
Plus, I sensed this is the feeling from the few I met last night, with all due humility ... we earned it.
Thanks again for asking.

Oh, btw. The question he asked me. He wouldn't hire anyone who answered it.
It was a Physc question as most of us discerned, and appropriate the more I think about it.
Can't have someone give up any information automatos (in security) with a knee jerk question.

Silvio

Congratulations! Sounds like a good gig.

 

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  posted on 2/26/2010 at 04:33 PM
quote:
"Tell me something about yourself you don't wan't me to know?



"I am sleeping with your wife."

You wouldn't get the job but it would get a reaction.

Congratulations on the job.

[Edited on 2/26/2010 by CanadianMule]

 

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  posted on 2/27/2010 at 10:38 AM
"Tell me something about yourself you don't wan't me to know?"

"I find you strangely attractive!"

 

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  posted on 2/27/2010 at 10:54 AM
quote:
quote:

The fact I am getting this job as I collect 2 pensions, and the unemployment rate is so high is not lost on me.
The way I look at it though, no one in the private sector would get this job anyway, so I am not talking a general public position away from anyone.



I'm glad you are aware of this aspect of the matter. I thought about it myself when I read your post.

I'm a contractor, and while my work has been very slow, I'm single with no dependents, so I hope the work I'm not getting is going to someone who needs it to provide for a wife and kids, or who needs it more than I do.

 

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  posted on 2/27/2010 at 10:54 AM
"Tell me something about yourself you don't wan't me to know?"

"I'm Batman."

 

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  posted on 2/27/2010 at 02:16 PM
Actually Spynet it probably is a trick question. There have probably been a few folks who responded honestly i.e. "It's been exactly a month since I last hit the bong and right after the mandatory drug test, I'm gonna crank back up with some killa." Never underestimate how ... how ... some folks will respond ... Truth (in fact actually) hurts. LinnieXX as for your responding honestly to what's in your ipod, you may have shot yourself in the foot just as if you'd responded Cypress Hill.

 

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