What’s the question?

27 Mar

When I was job-hunting, I went to every interview prepared to answer the standard questions about qualifications, reasons for applying, felony convictions and so on. But the other questions? There’s no way to prepare.


“Do you do anything outdoors besides *sneer* take photos?” — I roll naked in pine needles.

“Do you know what a comma splice is?” — A young man asked this question, he obviously hadn’t read my resume.

“If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, what will you do?” — What are you asking me for?

“We deal with a lot of people in rural areas. Can you handle different kinds of people? — Can I wear gloves?

The worst question, however, was one of the standards: “What is your greatest weakness?” — My greatest weakness is not knowing how to answer this question. I mean, how do I decide which of my weaknesses is the greatest and which one applies to this job?


The greatest weakness question confounded me because I didn’t understand its purpose. What do employers hope to learn from the answer?

A friend in management who routinely interviews people for jobs explained this to me in a way that makes sense. She said she believes the answer to the question says a lot about an applicant, then provided a telling example:

“I was interviewing a young woman for a job in our office. When I asked her about her weaknesses, she said — she was completely serious — that she had a weakness for married men.

“That told me she’d probably create a lot of drama, an important thing to know. “


2 Responses to “What’s the question?”

  1. kristin March 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    What if you answer “I have no weaknesses.” ??

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