Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interview Questions

So I did mention that I have a job waiting for me post-grad school. And that's pretty awesome, since I'm not one to enjoy uncertainty. But here's the thing - that set of interviews? Terrifying. There are a few reasons why, but two really stand out. I tend to be (too) honest when answering interview questions, and I really really wanted that job. I liked the job. I respect the company. I want to go back to Wisconsin. J really liked his old job too, and this would make things oh-so-straightforward. So it's safe to say that a lot was riding on that day of interviews.

As a side note, this was also the first on-site interview that I had been involved in where I was one of a very, very small number of people with technical backgrounds. I was interviewing for a position that didn't require an engineering, science, or math background, and it was a completely different experience. I know that there are stereotypes about technically oriented people, but they're... sorta true. These people? These people with sales, marketing, business, psych, whatever degrees? So much more talkative. Much more fluid in social situations, easier to hold a conversation with, and more extroverted. I was in heaven. We actually hung out at the hotel bar for hours after the employees dropped us off post-dinner the night before. Everyone just talked, and not always about the interviews the next day. I found out that one woman rode horses as well (!!!), one guy was super into sports and didn't believe that women's basketball was worth watching (BOO!), and more. Despite my nerves about the interview, getting to hang out with people like that was incredibly enjoyable. And it's a pretty good sign when you get along with basically all of the other interview candidates, right?

So. Interview questions. I (obviously) can't really talk about the more unique ones, but there is one that I had never heard that I did want to talk about. "Tell me five things you are not."

Yeah. I've never gotten that one. On and on with the "tell me about a time when..." questions, but never one like that. I was stumped. I mean, we always talk about what we are, but rarely what we are not. Ask me what I am? Feminist, runner, baker, confident, scientist, motivated, intelligent. The words just spill out. What I'm not? Uuuhhhhh...

So I tried. I'm not... lazy. late. patient. (shit! shouldn't have said that!) detail-oriented. (double shit. not that either!)

I don't even know what my fifth word was. And there were pauses. Big pauses. While I could have rattled off all sorts of things that I am, defining myself through antonyms was so much more difficult.

Why is that? Why would it be so much harder to answer the question, even if it was just asking the flip-side of a question that would be so simple? I wish I knew.


Eva said...

lol I think that's hilarious. I think the what am i not question would be SO much easier to answer. the question would be which are the first 5 that come to minde. not sure what that says about me.

Molly Nelis said...

Hmm that is a tough one.

Not Extroverted, or sharply dressed, or multitasking, or intimidating or gregarious.

I think the trick of the question is it brings into focus things that are bad about you, and you need to be sneaky about promoting your virtues through their antonyms. It did take me a minute to think of things though.

EngineerGirls said...

Oh man, that is probably one of the worst interview questions I've ever heard because who prepares for that one?? I'd probably dodge the question!

I once had an interview where I had to do engineering problems and brain teasers. It was soooo not what I was expecting, and I totally bombed it.


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