Interviews are the grunt of necessity for many twenty-somethings, and even once we successfully get a job, most of us will one day have to do it again. I have met a few strange individuals who love the challenge an interview presents, but beneath the surface I’m sure they also feel frustrated if they don’t get the job and wonder about how they should have answered that one terrible question.
I stressed my way through a lot of interviews in the last year. Some of them went well, others were a free-fall where the parachute of my brain just never opened. Most of them ended with my head swirling because I couldn’t remember what I said versus what I was thinking or what the interviewer said to me versus what the subtext I was trying to read from what they said. Sounds fun right?
For your amusement today, and in honor of a recent successful interview that has landed me a new job, I thought I would share with you the real thoughts happening when I’m asked common interview questions. Thanks to multiple career seminars that brainwashed me into analyzing every moment of this process, I have a feeling I’m not the only person who gets jumbled thinking all of these things before I come up with my “presentable” answer.
Q: Describe yourself in three words
A: What three words are you looking for?
Q: What are your goals for your career? / Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Perhaps by then I will understand how health insurance works. Besides that, I have no clue. And seriously, when you were my age, were you right about where you would be five years later? THEN LEAVE ME ALONE.
Q: Tell me about a time when you had to juggle multiple tasks at once.
A: This interview comes to mind. I’m trying to juggle a professional appearance (sit up straight!), read your mind to anticipate how I should answer, and not look like a deer in the headlights. How am I doing?
Q: What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
A: Do you want the real answer or the “these are my weaknesses phrased in a way that makes them look like strengths” answer?
Q: What past experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
A: Didn’t I already write that in my cover letter? What are those things for anyways?!
Q: Why do you want this job?
A: I know I had some really good reasons in my head… but now I am somehow surprised by this question and my tongue can’t move… does income count as a reason?
As you can see most of my responses are simply more questions. After all, there is nothing like job searching to make you cross-examine your entire identity and worth!
What were some of your best or worst interview experiences?
If you were totally honest, how would you respond to these questions?