In the last week I've had two VERY different job interviews. One could be categorized under "what not to do" and the other was SPOT ON-way-to-go-you-get-the-gold-star. One company had no idea how to really interview someone without diving head first into the "personality test" nonsense. The other? Well it was a damn fine 60 minutes of lively and USEFUL conversation, and I have a second interview next week thankyouverymuch.
That being said...here's my take on what is wrong with so many job interviews.
One could argue that I'm a bit of an 'expert' when it comes to the whole job interview circus. I mean, if we're going to be realistic about it, I've been on more job interviews than the average person in the last decade. Probably. And, I could make "interviewing" for jobs a "real" job ... if it actually paid money. In the last year alone, I've sent out nearly 100 resumes (give or take a few dozen), and had at least a dozen or more interviews for various jobs.
Some of those interviews were good.
One or two were really good.
And the rest...were horrible.
And here's what I've come away with as I continue the job search ... interviews are just weird. They usually are an uncomfortable 45-60 minutes of forced conversation where you try to "sell" yourself and they try to figure out if you're a 'good fit' for their organization.
I'm beginning to think a job applicant Hunger Games might be the better route.
What I wish is that interviewers would get more creative with their questions. I really, truly think employers have been asking the same questions forever.
"Tell us a little bit about yourself"...Really? You have my resume with all the important details. The rest you can Google. Or find me on LinkedIn. But really...just Google me. It would be easier.
But I don't say that. I give the "good" answers about who I am and what I've done professionally and I throw in a little bit about me on a "personal" level. But really...what does that tell them about me as an employee? Not a damn thing.
What I want to say is this: Well, I'm smart. And some people think I'm funny, but not everyone appreciates my sense of humor. And I can be snarky. I'm a writer. I write a blog about life and love and marriage and being the mom of two kids. I love Disney. I'm hoping to run a half marathon for my 40th birthday next year. I am a social media geek. I think bullies are stupid. And I really want a job where I can do what I love, and be happy, and feel like I'm worth my weight in words.
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?" Oh for the love. This question is just pointless in my mind. And you either sound like an arrogant asshole or a meek and weak little mouse.
My strengths - I'm a damn fine writer. I can edit like nobody's business. I kill commas and adjectives. I find adverbs to be overused. I correct your grammar in my head. Daily. I can laugh at myself...self-deprecating humor is a must. Oh and I will do the Sunday New York Times Crossword IN PEN. Just because I can.
My weakness - Chocolate. I'm a perfectionist. I don't like to be wrong. I don't like to make mistakes. I cry at sappy television commercials. I'm easily annoyed. Stupid people annoy me. I have road rage. I swear. A lot.
But no...you're "expected" to give the "right" answers when it comes to strengths and weaknesses. Can you imagine what HR would do if you said "my weaknesses are chocolate, Robert Pattinson, and Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato."??
One of these days I just might try that.
Just because you only live once.
As it is...I think perhaps employers should take a cue from James Lipton, the host of "Inside the Actors Studio." He asks some damn fine questions. And really, how can you go wrong when you have to answer "what is your favorite curse word?" Now that's a way to start a conversation!
And if they don't go with James Lipton, then I'm afraid the job applicant Hunger Games might be the next best thing. It sure as hell would beat the "strength/weaknesses" question.
May the odds ever be in your favor.