The Interview Question

I decided about thirty seconds into the interview session I did not want to work there. Call it a gut feeling something was very wrong with what I was being told. As I was giving more details to friends, they kept asking why I didn’t just walk out before we got to the question and answer part. Well, because I would have missed gems like this: You are on an airplane and are trying to get some sleep, but the baby in the row in front of you has been crying for ten minutes. What are you thinking?
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Now the obvious flaw in this question is being asked what I am thinking as opposed to what I would do. Because what I’m thinking is ripe with possible answers.
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1. Who cares, I am close to being drunk enough to pass out from having to sit next to the obese guy in the tank top whose hairy armpits are actually in my seat.
2. Press the call button and order more drinks
3. Fill the baby’s bottle with some of that booze.
4. Begin singing a rousing round of a hundred bottles of beer on the wall
5. This is an argument for long gas guzzling road trips.
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Seriously, I had trouble not giggling because I was waiting for them to ask: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
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My friends asked what kind of answers I gave to the questions so I wouldn’t get called back to another interview session. I told them I simply jettisoned my well thought out answer to the standard question: Give me an example where you had to overcome a difficulty to achieve results. I have overcome all kinds of difficulties in my professional life, but most of the time those challenges have been what has kept things interesting. I have examples galore; even those with the happy ending every company likes. You know the happy ending in corporate America, revenue generation. I was pretty sure they couldn’t relate to the concept of interesting challenges vs. difficulties given how stressed they were acting because they were “just so busy” that morning.
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I promised myself I would only work for smart people, people I can respect and learn from, people who are interested in learning from me, and most of all–people I am willing to spend ten or more hours a day with. I also require my work to be meaningful these days. I am not going to settle for less.


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