Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Idiot's Guide to Acing a Job Interview

We all know how terrible the job interview process is. It's like beating yourself in the face with a dead mackerel while trying to prove your sanity to the person across the desk from you at the same time. And there plenty are a lot of tips and pointers out there for prospective job seekers to prepare themselves. Hell, there are "how-to" interview books by the hundred. But they all come back to one thing, which is why we decided to distill the bullshit down to the single most important factor you'll need in order to ace that next job interview and join the ranks of the gainful(ish)ly employed. And that rule is: No matter how tempting it may be, never lie in a job interview. Your potential manager always wants to hear the truth, no matter how blunt it may be.

Example:

If the hiring manager asks you this...


...Never say this.


She wants to hear the truth. So tell her why you really want this job.


Or if you get asked this gem...


...then don't use this classic reply.


Tell her what your real weaknesses are. Hey, she asked!


And don't forget this question, which is an interviewer favorite...


Don't say this. We all know it's a lie.


Let her know what you really plan to do with your life. Where you really plan to be in 10 years.


And don't forget how important teamwork is... to interviews.


Never give this generic, BS answer.


You should be honest about your feelings toward working with other people.


And lastly, don't forget that a company will often ask you this...


Don't BS your way through some lame company history you don't even care about, like this...


Tell her what you really know about the company, which is nothing.


But alas, no matter what you say in an interview, just remember that in the end, your fellow applicants may be more qualified than you...


...Or they might just be the boss's nephew.

And there you have it, folks. A surefire way for you to get (almost) hired every time. Like my wise old Granny once said, "The truth shall set you free. But the welfare office is more efficient."

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
B&B

Beer: Tunnel of Trees (TRVE Brewing, Denver, Colofuckingrado)
Music: Il Cattivo

98 comments:

  1. Dug the answer for working with others! Yes, there's a reason I work in a cubicle. With headphones on. And a sign that says don't bug me.
    Honesty is always the best policy.

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    1. I got my IT degree full knowing that I would never have to work with people. And I always laughed a little inside when interviewers would ask about my "teamwork" skills. It's like, you do know that if you're the only IT guy in a small company, that there's absolutely no teamwork involved, right...?

      Delete
  2. I hate going on interviews. It's completely unnatural. "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" Obviously I don't know, that's why I'm unemployed! They may as well make you gargle Listerine and Grey Poupon while attempting to box a kangaroo dressed like Lady Gaga, it would be just as natural and relevant as asking a groveling applicant to assess his/her weaknesses.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"

      I see myself holding your job, Mr. Interviewer. So watch your back. Watch your fucking back.

      Delete
  3. I'd like to think honesty works in the job interview scene. Because really I could never bullshit my way through an interview anyway.

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    1. I'm disgusted to say that I've used pretty much all of these BS answers, and that they've worked like absolute magic...

      Delete
  4. Ha! I was recently asked what keeps me in my job. Uhhh...the aycheck-pay? I mean really.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "What keeps you at your job?"

      Fear of the unknown. Knowing that I could leave my comfy job where I do nothing but surf Facebook and eat junk food and be forced into a job where I have to actually WORK. That would be AWFUL.

      Delete
  5. Despite the obvious canned answers the dude read in one of those hokey books, the only way he would have gotten the job anyway is his rockin' tuxedo shirt.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The tuxedo t-shirt, like the mullet, says that half of me is ready to party, and the other half is all business.

      Delete
  6. Thankfully I've never had to bother with that much

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  7. Seriously, it's a freaking miracle with my brutal honesty, that I ever got hired by anyone, at all. It's like I have Tourette's and the truth just comes flying out of my mouth without me really wanting it to! LOL

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  8. Seems most people get hired by friendship or genetics alone these days.

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  9. This is great advice, but something about cubicles sucks the honesty completely out of my body. I couldn't be honest if I tried in any office. I always have an out of body experience, and some lying liar who lies and talks about Inatech just takes over. Survival technique.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I've been there. You can't be yourself in a cubicle. No one can. For example, I love how a lot of people whisper in cubicles, like talking isn't even allowed. "Shhh, this conversation is work related, but try to keep it down for all of the people playing Farmville with their headphones shoved in."

      +10 bonus points for the Inatech reference.

      Delete
  10. I have added 4 job interviews in my life and only 2 I passed. Reason: both asked me to solve puzzles or some math problem. I never go to that HR interview there is no chance of me coming out alive.
    When they ask me general questions like this they better be prepared to handle my nonsensical answers throwup. The question they asked me was "why would you like to work here" I can't share the answer in a public forum like this, I can only say that I came out of the room with a brown bag on my head.
    Good that nowadays they have online tests and phone interviews. Interviews are nightmares.
    Doesn't matter which side you are seated. I decline to do interviews to recruit someone i just prepare the q&a and ask some proxy to handle that.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Damn autocorrect.. I had attended only 4 interviews in my life.

      BTB why would they ask these "mandatory" "must" questions anyway? 10 years from now, seriously? The interviewer might have already signed her resignation papers and just be interviewing her replacement. And when you are applying for jobs like mine who cares if you can speak coherently forget fluently. Same way why would you ask a beauty pageant girl questions about equality, feminism and all such.
      Ask me to write an algorithm to calculate your fees and commission that could save your job and your face in front of your shareholders instead these questions will only trigger waterworks and turn your office into therapist's clinic.

      Delete
    2. I always loved when they asked ridiculous puzzle questions like, "You are standing outside of a room. Inside the room is a light bulb. Beside you are 3 light switches. One turns on the bulb, the other two are useless. You can turn the switches on and off as many times as you like, but you can only enter the room once to check. How can you figure out which switch turns on the light bulb?"

      One interviewer asked me this, and I said I don't know, just let me look it up on Google. He asked, how is that an acceptable answer? And I said, let's be honest, as an IT guy, if I don't know how to fix someone's problem, I'll probably just look it up on Google and find the answer. Wouldn't you?

      He agreed with me, and I actually got that job. Ha.

      Delete
    3. Haha, good answer.he might have seen the creative bulb "aura" behind your head but IT job.

      Truth be told, I would have raised my hand and picked a pen and paper and explained turn switch 1 for 5 mins, then switch 2 on and don't turn that off and don't touch switch 3 at all.

      and then go to room and touch the bulbs , turned on bulb = y , switch 2 and feel the other two bulbs and warm one is x = 1 switch and z = switch 3.

      I am part human and part nerd. So it is only fair you don't ask general questions to people like me, we speak binary,C,Oracle and other languages better than English. yeah, in way we are Oracle ask the right questions for right answers.
      Other one, I am not good with lying you can call my bluff by just asking "say that again"

      Delete
    4. can you not just open the door and stand outside looking?

      Delete
  11. You should barge into the interviewers office acting like a total jerk. They'll admire your chutzpah and hire you on the spot. It happens in movies all the time.

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    1. I would think you'd be hired on the spot just for having the word 'chutzpah' in your vocabulary. Because that kind of person is a winner in anyone's book.

      Delete
  12. I found this particularly funny as I used to manage an unemployment office. People can be VERY creative with their answers. Oh and the things they DO, or wear, or share. Some people are real idiots.

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    1. Some people are unemployed because the job market is saturated and times are hard. Others are unemployed because they think it's acceptable to show up to an interview 15 minutes late, in a t-shirt and shorts, and when asked about why they left their previous job they say, "I got fired... cuz my boss was a real bitch."

      Delete
  13. I've been on both sides of the table. It's much more fun being the interviewer than the interviewee.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I usually just fellate however is in charge, which is difficult if the lead interviewer is a woman, but I give it a good go nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any woman who says she doesn't want fellatio from a stranger is clearly playing hard to get.

      Delete
  15. I answered that I "needed" the job once and the interviewer told me I should have told him I "wanted" the job. Then he told me he wasn't really hiring anyway, they were just seeing what types of people were available. I told him I wouldn't work for his company anyway. Jerk.

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    1. I love how that kind of behavior is perfectly acceptable in the job world. Like, let me just put up a profile on Match.com and meet some woman for coffee. Then proceed to grill her with questions about herself. Then when she nervously asks if there's going to be a second date, I say, "Oh, no, I'm married, I just wanted to see what kind of people I could date if my wife suddenly died."

      Delete
  16. People ask questions during job interviews?

    I thought "job interviews" were those things where I had to do unspeakable things to old bald guys and then go drink for a week to wash the memory of it from my brain.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Fellatio in exchange for money: prostitution. Illegal.

      Fellatio in exchange for a job, which then pays you money: perfectly legal.

      I love this country.

      Delete
  17. After just getting a job, I can also tell you never to just whip it out!!!!!!

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    1. But it's totally cool before getting the job, right? Show them who's the alpha male?

      Delete
  18. LMAO I hate that stupid what is your weakness crap, I'm have tempted to go for an interview as a beach bum and answer like that now haha also hate when they are just doing it to fulfill the quota too

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  19. If I get my Booger Bag company off the ground, I'm going to hire this guy and fire the interviewer.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I haven't had a job interview in a long time, so I find this helpful. It's funny how the tips change in merely a decade.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Another interview tip is that no matter how much your instincts are telling you to do so never go into an interview pantless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you had quads like I do, you wouldn't be saying that.

      Delete
  22. Functioning alcoholic is a strength, not a weakness...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It is SO much harder to show up to work drunk and still perform your job than it is to show up sober and well rested...

      Delete
  23. What I hate about interviews is being smarter than the person interviewing me. Seriously. Do you know how hard it is to dumb down answers to questions so that the interviewing can understand the answers, not mention to keep him/her from feeling threatened.

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    1. I hear this. I remember one time I was being asked technical questions at an interview (IT job) and I realized half way through that the woman I was talking to was the HR manager and not actually in IT, so she was smiling and nodding but she really had no idea what I was saying. I probably could have talked about a flux capacitor and she just would have been like, "Oh, yep, right, uh huh..."

      Delete
  24. I used to believe all that crap about what you're supposed to say in an interview and I've told many a prospective employer, for example, that my biggest weakness is my perfectionism. I've had lots of jobs, countless rejections, and more than enough stints of unemployment to show for it. I wish I'd been more honest, since interviews are just formalities anyway.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Have you tried being related to someone at the job? That seems to be like 99% of new hires...

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    2. Agree. I haven't tried to stoop that low.

      Delete
  25. There comes a time when you realize they need you as much as you need the job...and interviews get easier.

    Think the "where do you see yourself" question is tough in your 20's? Try it a couple of decades later.

    "I see myself living on a steam vent in Philadelphia because other entitlement programs squandered my social security contributions and I spent what money I should have been saving on each IPad upgrade...."

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    1. Or how about "I see myself resenting my boss, fresh out of college, half my age, and one step away from being legally declared brain dead, who makes 6 figures and does nothing but watch funny Youtube cat videos in his office all day while I slave over the grunt work for a quarter of the pay."

      Delete
  26. Good thing I read your post guys, as I'm about to write the phoniest resume ever, and I plan to use a lot of this BS on the cover letter, getting hired should be a breeze....The 10 year thin really gets me, what do I look like a freaking fortune teller? In 10 years, I hope to be retired on living large on my lottery winnings, just like everybody else...sheesh..

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In 10 years I hope to be the kingpin/drug lord of a major crime syndicate, but apparently that's not the correct answer at a job interview for Help Desk Support.

      Delete
  27. This is perfect because generally my responses to these questions ideally would be some of the other options but obviously they wouldn't work, great post guys, captured it perfectly!

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  28. I'm usually pretty straightforward with interviewers. Although, none of them have asked me the weakness question. What's up with that, anyway? It's not as though any of them actually want an honest answer to that question.

    "Well my greatest weakness is that I don't respond to people telling me what to do and how to do it. I also have a tendency to be rather bitter and resentful. I also know how to make napalm...you know what? I'll just let myself out..."

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  29. Great advice......hope applicants let us know how it's working for them.

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  30. Oddly the picture of your interviewer looks uncannily like a gal that interviewed me last week. I received a letter in the mail three business days later saying they had chosen another candidate. Strange how it got to me so fast considering we lost our mail distribution center and local mail takes at least 5 to 7 days anymore.

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  31. Job interviews are the pits. No matter which side of the desk you sit on. Great post!

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  32. I usually tell them my weakness is a peroxide blonde with long legs and a nice rack.

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    1. I bet it'd be really smooth if your interviewer WAS a peroxide blonde with long legs and a nice rack, and when she asked what's your weakness you said "You, baby," and winked really hard. If porn has taught me anything, it's that you'd get the job AND the screw of your life. Employment is great!

      Delete
  33. I could have used this post a few weeks ago. While in real life I believe that honesty is the best policy, let's face it, seeking gainful employment is NOT real life. Spent a lot of my career doing the interviewing, my best job applicant story was a guy who wanted a position working pretty much in the wilderness (in Colorado) because he wanted to be a part of the food chain. Seriously, he said that. While it was a possibility, we would have been sending him out with about $40K of technical equipment. Definitely a no hire.

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  34. This is helpful, as I may be going to an interview or two in the future. Do you think it would be bad to say my weakness is being too sexy for my uniform?

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    1. Not at all, especially if you're wearing a very, very low cut top and emphasize your point by squeezing your breasts together.

      Delete
  35. I've never used any of those answers. I was just straight out blunt when I got hired.

    "So you used to babysit for our cook?"
    "Yes, sir."
    "And now you don't? Why is that?"
    "I don't know. If you find out, I'd like an answer."

    He laughed. The owner of the restaurant I work in laughed and told he liked my honesty. Go figure.

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    1. Great answer. "Why don't you work at your previous employer?" can be such a ridiculous question sometimes.

      "Uh, because they paid me like shit, I was doing grunt work, and I'd rather work here instead. Isn't that kind of obvious by me BEING HERE right now?"

      Delete
  36. Oh, this was FUNNY! That line "...how much time have you got" had me laughing out loud so loud that I was afraid I was going to wake someone in the next room. (You probably think I'm "lying" since it's only 8:46 PM here, but Brother Nappy goes to bed at, like, 7:30 or 8:00 so he can get up at 3 AM to work out at the gym. I'd post a photo of his shirtless body, but no one would believe a guy could look like that sans steroids.)

    I should have read this blog bit BEFORE I spent 90 minutes after work taking a 40-minute online test for a new job. Seriously! I just got done about 20 minutes ago. I almost quit halfway through and sent them an Email saying, "Fu'k it! I don't want the job badly enough to answer one more of your online questions."

    How many ways are there to word the questions, "Do you think it's alright to use the company computer for personal use?" and "Do you think it's alright to drink alcohol on the job?" and "Do you think it's alright to compliment a coworker about their attractiveness?"

    Well, I happen to KNOW how many different ways there are to pose those questions, because I just got done answering them 60 times in 90 minutes while taking the 40-minute online test.

    I also know how many ways there are to say "Yes". ..."Yep", "Uh-huh", "Yeah", "Sure", "Righty-O", "Soitenly"... just for starters.

    4-B OLD SOUL... If I don't get my A's to your earlier Q's posted tonight, you'll know why. Hell, I still haven't made it to FAE's blog to listen to both of her BOTB songs. ...However, Brother, if I don't get the A's posted tonight, PLEASE don't give up on me, as I will DEFINITELY get there tomorrow after work, with a brew in my paw! (Which is a damn-sight better than a thorn in the paw.)

    Don't give up on me... I has something to say 'bout speaking in tongues and Summer beers. (Not much, but something.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    POSTSCRIPT: "Take this job you haven't yet offered me... and shove it!"

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Has anyone told your dear brother that gyms are open at more than just 3AM? I hear there's this place called 24 Hour Fitness, but for the life of me I can't remember what their hours are...

      "Do you think it's alright to use the company computer for personal use?"

      Hey, Facebook isn't going to check itself. Besides, don't tell me YOU don't do it, because you do, Mr. Interviewer. I caught you checking your Facebook as I walked in here, for God's sake... And I just sent you a friend request.

      "Do you think it's alright to drink alcohol on the job?"

      Do I think it's alright? Pssh, I think it's great!

      "Do you think it's alright to compliment a coworker about their attractiveness?"

      If he looks like he works out, shouldn't I tell him? Isn't that what he wants to hear? Right, Brother Nappy?

      Also, if I never tell that secretary that she has a sweet, sweet ass, how else is she going to find out?

      Delete
    2. >>... Has anyone told your dear brother that gyms are open at more than just 3AM?

      Ha!-Ha!
      You say that almost like you think my dear Brother goes to the gym only ONCE a day!

      (You don't know my Brother, do you? He very often goes to the gym more than ONCE a day, and he has the body to PROVE it. A-Rod would have to triple his dose of steroids to even get within my Bro's body league.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  37. My favorite interview question: "Have you ever had a difficult coworker?"

    My reply before my social editor could stop me: "Who hasn't?"

    Some of these people...well, I don't know how they can tie their shoes in the morning. Velcro was invented for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Have you ever had a difficult coworker?"

      Yes, he struggled for a while, but after the chloroform started taking effect, it was clear sailing from then on...

      Delete
  38. I'm happy to have known all my employers first-hand before any interview processes. Take that, common folk!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I don't know, can you really count being a functioning alcoholic as a weakness? You know, functioning and all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually function better when I'm drunk... or at least that's what my brain tells me when I'm drunk.

      Delete
  40. I had to go to 4 interviews for my current job...4 fecking interviews. I bullshit my way through. They also gave me some weird psychopath test which I am confident I must have nailed otherwise I wouldn't be here.

    Also if all small dogs bite are all dogs dangerous?

    What question is that???

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    1. Now that I have no interest in getting a regular job, I'd love to apply somewhere and fail a psychopath test. Like, just miserably bomb it. Do you think they call the police on you if you score high enough as a psychopath?

      "If all small dogs bite are all dogs dangerous?"

      Yes, all dogs are dangerous. And should be killed by my bare hands while I listen to ABBA and think about my mother.

      Delete
  41. Strangely enough, I had an interview yesterday. If I'd known about this post prior, I would've aced that dadgum interview.

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I always love the little unacknowledged touches in your drawings, like the suit t-shirt on Bryan. Of course, now I've done gone and acknowledged it. Crap!

    And what IS with these companies and "teamwork." I mean, I think teamwork is just as important as the next person, especially in a work environment where everyone's got a position to play and one weak link in the chain and you're all screwed. But these places talk about "teamwork" like there's some kind of religious brainwashing involved, like you have to completely surrender your mind and identity to the group, "One of us! One of us!" Yikes! Creepy!

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    1. Also, I want to know why it's always so important to mention "leadership" in that whole teamwork thing. You always have to want to be the "leader." What's wrong with saying "I'm a follower. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it"? Have you ever tried being in a team with 10 leaders? 10 alpha males that all want to do it their way? Hint: that don't work real good.

      Delete
    2. Oh, HELL YES! Thirty-three percent of the questions I had to answer last night addressed the topic of "teamwork".

      Yeah, I think "teamwork" is absolutely ESSENTIAL. That's why I'm applying for this graveyard shift job!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  43. I worked on the production floor and interviewed for a leadership/supervisory role and they asked me why I was qualified to lead a bunch of employees that had way more seniority than I did. I told them, "I know how to get shit done". True story. I got the position

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  44. The only thing I hate more than going on job interviews is being the one doing the job interview. Of course I was never very good at it. In hiring interns for the literary agency a few years ago, my interviewing was basically: "Can you read? Awesome, you're hired."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sadly, in the literary world, I bet that question still eliminates a LOT of options...

      Delete
  45. then you get the idiots who apply to. do you know how to find the start button on a computer? "is that like putting the key in the car"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My old company once interviewed a guy who didn't understand the concept of copy and paste... and he was applying for an IT job...

      Delete
  46. Great advice... :) Honesty...hmmm, I'll remember that next time.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A mirror.

    What's your biggest weakness? Bears.

    What is your biggest weakness? (Hand them a business card that says the following: "Sometimes my desire to overprepare can be seen as a form of arrogance".)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may be the greatest "what is your biggest weakness?" response I've ever heard. Bravo, good sir. Bravo.

      Delete
  48. As over the top as your examples are, they're still valid and oh so true. In some fields, they'll often be asking you a technical question or two as well. If you don't know the answer immediately (which is usually how it's set up), they expect you to come up with a possible way to solve the problem on the spot (and don't forget to add in the obligatory "if I had more time/resources available, I'd x and y"). At all costs, refrain from acting like you know anything for certain.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This one's always interviewer ear candy: "I'll admit I don't know the answers to everything, but I'm a quick learner and very willing to adapt to new challenges."

      Those magic words landed me just about every technical job I ever had.

      Delete
  49. I ABHOR interviews - I really do, to the point where its practically a phobia. I can think of nothing worse than talking about myself and previous jobs - I mean, lets not focus on the past, its history! lol I find the interview books interesting, especially as they tend to start with..the interviewer will make their decision about you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you, so please read the following 500 ages that wont help you whatsoever. Anyhoo...I could wail on indefinitely about job interviews but I shall save you that opinionated rant and discomfort.

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  50. I love that they obviously ask the same questions at job interviews the world over.

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  51. I hire people for our office, occasionally. One time, I spent the entire time we were interviewing a guy thinking "Who does he look like? WHO DOES HE LOOK LIKE?" At the very end of the interview, it hit me:

    He looked like Mr. Drummond, from "Diff'rent Strokes."

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    Replies
    1. So... whatchu talkin' bout, Willis? Did you hire Mr. Drummond?

      Delete
  52. I HATE the five and ten year questions, with a passion that is overwhelming. I was once asked what animal I would be, I left the interview.

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  53. I have a tip for you and your faithful followers, hobos don't have to subject themselves to interviews. Be a transient, that's where it's at. Don't interview, be a bum.

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    Replies
    1. In an unrelated note, and by pure happenstance, my next blog post will feature a man applying to be a homeless man. Hilarity will ensue.

      Delete
  54. I can give the excuse that I take your advice. I'm sure to not land a job that way, or maybe they'll be readers and be like "OMG you read ABFTS too? You're hired with a signing bonus!". It'd be the greatest day.

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  55. Call me crazy. I re-read this. I always prepared for the inevitable question,

    "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

    Even though job careers lasted back then, it was impossible to forecast that scenario. The smart alecks (SP) usually answered,

    "In YOUR job."

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    Replies
    1. I always liked the ever classy answer: "Doing your wife."

      Delete
  56. Great advice. I once lied on my CV to get an interview for a mangerial position at a PR firm, purely so I could meet the MD and ask for an internship. It worked well and I got one a few months later... but I absoutely wished I'd have saved myself the embarrassment of pretending to have 15 years experience at the age of 20 for the first half of the interview xx

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