At the beginning of any job interview, you will thank your first interviewer for the opportunity. At the end of the job interview, you will thank everyone for their time. In between they will grill you with the usual barrage of piercing questions, incalculable facial expressions, and awkward silences, you’re thanking them for the chance to win a job, not for the torture chamber that some job interviews turn out to be.
Seth Godin once said that the best interview he ever witnessed turned out to be the worst employee he ever had, suggesting that job interviews as we know them should be abolished (and many employers and employees agreeing) don’t you ever wish you could do something drastic? You know that every answer you give will be analyzed to death, and no interview can ever adequately express what you’re capable of doing. And you know what you’re not supposed to say in an interview . . . well, what if you said it?
To get the frustration out of your system, we’ve compiled 10 brutally honest (and jaded) responses to the most common interview questions in the book. These uncommon answers would be sure-fire attention getters. Of course, if you’re more interested in getting a job than getting attention, you may want to just stick to something a bit more polished.
- What is your greatest weakness?
The only band I like more than the Spice Girls is the Jonas Brothers; don’t judge me.
- Why did you leave your last job?
I hated that place. You couldn’t pay me to stay there. I mean really, they paid me to work there, but no amount of money would have been worth it, so I didn’t stay. The people I worked for were complete morons, and if you don’t hire me, you’re a moron too. I mean, come on, what kind of question is that? I left the job, and you’re lucky I did. If we were on a date would you ask how my last relationship ended? No. So how about you ask me something relevant, okay?
- What kind of salary are you expecting?
Well, I made $65,000 at my last job, and I was getting ripped off.
- Give us an example of a difficulty you faced at your last job and how you overcame it?
I was way behind on a project, so I told this guy I worked with that we could go out if he finished it for me. He pulled an all nighter to get it done. It was pretty intense.
- Why do you want this job?
Because my mortgage lender doesn’t take IOUs.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You probably want me to show you that I intend to grow, develop my abilities, and plan ahead for success for myself and for this company. Don’t flatter yourself. If I had my choice, in 5 years I’d be retired and you’d be bringing me drinks on a remote tropical island.
- Are you willing to travel?
Let me answer your question with a few questions of my own. Have you not heard of the Internet? Cell phones? Skype? Video conferencing? Why would anyone need to travel for work in 2010?
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I thought that’s why I submitted my resume. Can you not read?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
This moment, right here. I’m just so thrilled that the $200,000 I poured into college and 10 years of mind-numbing professional service have led me to this moment where the destiny of my career is decided by a pin-headed reprobate in a $50 suit who wouldn’t know a qualified employee if one bit him on the ass.
- Do you work better individually or as part of a group?
I’ve found that I can effectively avoid doing any work in either situation. In a group, I’m good at pawning my responsibilities off on eager beavers who can’t wait to prove themselves. But it’s a lot easier to manufacture plausible excuses when I’m on my own. Either way, I can play the blame game better than anyone whether I have to go solo or stab a team member in the back.
So there they are, interview responses you’d love to give, and maybe some of them would be honest answers. We wouldn’t recommend using them, but they might help you see the old standby questions from a new perspective. And if you have ever given a blunt, overly honest, or just plain bad interview answer, we’d love to hear about it. Share your answers in the comments below.