Getting Stumped, Anecdotes About Interviews Past

How great is it when the weather people are wrong and we get another day of sunshine!?!  I hope you are enjoying this Earth Day outdoors!

I wanted to talk about getting stumped by interview questions today.   I’ve been on a number of interviews where I’ve just been completely flabbergasted by the questions that were asked.  Even if you guys don’t have advice about how I could have answered some of these questions I’d simply like to pass on my experience and hopefully help all of you prepare for your interviews!

1. I applied for a position at an outdoor equipment company.  With my love for the outdoors I was extremely excited about this opportunity. I figured I finally found “the” job that would fill both my love for sports and marketing.  While speaking with one of the interviewers I was asked on a number of occasions, “What’s keeping you here?” “Why have you stayed in Boston?” “Will you move out of the suburbs?” I’m not entirely sure what this had to do with the position and why I needed to answer in three different ways.  I like Boston, isn’t that enough?

In the same interview I explained that I love the outdoors and hence my interest in the company.  This was followed up by “That’s great, but in that case, the last two companies you worked at were not in the outdoor industry.Why?”  No, they were not, but they were two very big companies and I got fantastic experience…I was shocked.  Was I expected to hold out until I found a dream job?

2. At another interview I wasn’t so much shocked by the questions but more by the whole situation.  I walked in with the intent of interviewing with someone in HR and one other person.  When I was greeted by the HR girl she walked me towards my first interviewer and kindly informed me, as we are walking towards him, that I would only see her at the end for a touch base but would be interviewing with three people.  Sounds great…but how about telling me their names and titles so I have some sort of clue as to what I might possibly be asked.  When I was done she was MIA and after I waited an extra 40 minutes, because the receptionist said she may be at lunch, I still did not see or hear from her.

3. One time I was asked to take an aptitude test that consisted of about 15 questions and I had to find the wrong word, phrase or misplaced comma.  I guess SAT tests are still all the rage…

4. A long time ago, when I didn’t know any better, I applied for a position that was for those interested in SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND THE FASHION INDUSTRY! Little did I know that when a job description is in all caps, it’s a big sign of a sales position.  There is nothing wrong with sales but for this interview I was told to wear a suit and comfortable shoes.  Those of us who came in for the interview were put in cars with other sales people and drove to the middle of nowhere in NH. For the next six hours we went door to door selling Pizza Hut coupons.  At one home we were told that the previous person we talked to had been arrested previously for putting a gun to his wife’s head.  Needless to say, I did not return to that company.

5. I was once told that one of the things I could work on is smiling more.  I think back to my undergrad interview prep classes where we were told, don’t laugh too much or you’ll come off…not smart.  I kind of have to agree with this.  I understand that you want someone who is personable but at the end of the day, do you want them to do a good job or just make people laugh? If it’s the latter then perhaps you are trying to fill the wrong kind of position.  Jester comes to mind.

So what’s the point of all these anecdotes?  Basically, these days you should be prepared for anything.  Even if you are applying for a marketing position, but it’s at a company that has to do with construction, be prepared to wear a construction hat and be put through a “day at work.”

I hope I gave you some laughs and put you in the right mood to job search!

What did you do today?


11 thoughts on “Getting Stumped, Anecdotes About Interviews Past

  1. Haaa, I fell for one of those all caps sports, fashion marketing jobs. My “interview” was on one of the coldest days in Boston a few years back. Luckily, our route was close to a bus line. After the first door knock, I made a b line for the bus. what a waste of time!!

    • Hey Loren!
      That’s funny, so they really are all the same. Had I not been in the sticks I would have caught a bus home as well. I guess we just add it to the “once in a lifetime experience” bucket. 🙂

  2. what keeps you in Boston?
    answer:this a good place to live and there are a lot of opportunities in many areas as biothech, marketing,outdoor equipment companies :-).
    I like to go to the beach and I like to ski and since I went to college in Boson I have a lot of friends here.
    “With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city’s economy is also based on research, electronics, engineering, finance, and high technology—principally biotechnology. The city has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.”
    I hope they will be happy 🙂
    good luck !

  3. and by the way, there is no such a big difference how to do marketing of oudoors equipment or any other stuff, rules are very similar and if you used to work in different places, that mean you have more experiance, which you will be able to applay in a new place.
    and smile, do not laugh,smile usually “brakes ice” 🙂

  4. I love reading your blog, I’ve found a lot of your tips quite helpful in my own extended unemployment. Just wanted to share a rather odd interview experience of my own, where I got to the interview, it was with the director and the teacher. They sat down, re-read my resume, told me about the position and asked me if I had any questions. The only thing I was asked was why I applied for that particular job. I know they had a full day of interviews, so it didn’t make sense to me. I’d like to think it’s because they think I am eminently qualified, but I haven’t received an offer yet. You’d think they would have given me some questions to at least prove myself!

    • Hi Bridgette,
      I am glad these tips have helped. I come across so many that actually writing about them forces me to read through them myself 🙂 Your interview experience is similar to one I had as well. I talked about my experience, was asked when I would be able to start and that was it. It’s been quite a while now, and I have not been asked to start…
      After all these interviews you can never really know what they are thinking. Is it better to have interviewed for 4 hours or 30 minutes? Neither has lead to anything yet.
      Keep me posted on your search!

    • It’s a possibility, Andrea. I just don’t want to write bad things about possible future employers…I’ll have to mull it over and in the interim write the stories down so I don’t forget them later.

  5. Pingback: Interview Questions-The Employers Point of View « Musings of an Unemployed MBA Graduate

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