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.

Examples:

“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. “

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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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