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>I am disturbed by question of this sort being used in
interviews. (I don't
>mean to pick in this example or on Lydia in particular, my
>against the whole genre of such questions. "What is your
>is a classic of the genre. Their use is very widespread.)</snip>
Of course, the advantage of stock questions is that you can
prepare for them in advance. :-)
Other stock questions (and the answers I'd love to give):
1.) Why did you apply at this company? (I need the money, and the
place sounds marginally better than a do-it-yourself trepan on
the street with my hat on the pavement to collect the quarters
2.) Tell me about a time you had difficulty with another employee
and what you did about it (I once had an office mate who objected
to me comig to work in a gorilla suit and reciting "Alice's
Restaurant" and jumping up and down shouting, "Kill, kill, kill"
at the appropriate part of the song. I frightened him off by
swinging from the light fixtures and shouting, "Ongowa!" followed
by my best Tarzan yell).
3.) Describe your ideal job/manager/work environment . (Tell me a
little more about this place, and I'll do my best to repeat what
you say in different words)
4.) Where do you expect to be five years from now? (In a remote
third world country, living on the money I siphon off your
All these questions are asked in such an artificial environment
that it's almost impossible to get meaningful answers from them.
I've seen HR experts ask these stock questions, and hire people
who turned out no better (and, often, far worst) than the people
hired on a good manager's intuition.
Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
3015 Aries Place, Burnaby, BC V37 7E8, Canada
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7189
"And you to whom adversity has dealt the final blow,
with smiling bastards lying 'bout you everywhere you go,
Stand tall and put forth all your strength of hand and heart and
And like the 'Mary Ellen Carter' rise again."
- Stan Rogers "The 'Mary Ellen Carter'"