Pet Hates: Job Interview Platitudes

Sorry to keep you waiting, we’re very busy today.

Tempting answer: Are you suggesting I am not busy?


I can honestly say that I have seldom been seen at the agreed time.  It is the would be employer who sets the time of the interview and yet still manages to run late.  Is it his/her way of hinting from the very beginning that he/she is the one with the power to put food on your table… So don’t you forget it?


Tell us a little about yourself.

Tempting reply: Have you not read my CV?


Every job seeker knows that it is of paramount importance to research the potential employer thoroughly before the interview; and yet employers get away with this blatant proof that they have barely read your CV before you walked in.  They do not seem
to realise that it comes across as a lack of respect on their part.  However carefully they dress it up by pretending that they are either trying to spot inconsistencies (are they
measuring you with their yardstick?) or that they want to hear it “in your own words” (do they think you can afford to have your CV and covering letter ghost written?), the fact is, you go in prepared, and they demonstrate a cavalier attitude towards your efforts.



What do you think you would bring to this job?

Tempting reply: You tell me! You’ve read my CV, and decided to meet me.  You know what the job entails better than I do.


This is your cue to start performing, blindfolded, trying not to fall off the stage, while the would be employer judges the entertainment.  Forget all the modern advice about equality
in the workplace.  This question is living proof of the power imbalance between employee and employer.


How do you think your colleagues would describe you?

Tempting answer: Why don’t you ask them?


At this stage, the would be employer is inviting you for a stroll down Paranoia Lane.  Just to throw you off balance enough to make you cling to this job for support.


What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

Tempting answer: I don’t suffer fools gladly but I need money.  Respectively.


This is where the would be employer is testing your lying – I mean, creative – skills.  It is also your exercise in mind reading, and trying to second-guess what he/she wants to
hear.  For qualities, safe bets are: loving team work, attention to detail (though not too much – they do not want you to notice their incompetence), hard work, loyalty (as long as you accept to give it unconditionally) and reliability (think labrador).  For weaknesses: a good one is to admit to being so work driven, that you will work forsake evenings and weekends just to get the work done.  Consequently, you sacrifice your family and friends (watch them nod approvingly).


We will let you know.

Aaah… I dream of a would be employer who would say, “Shall we have a chat on the ‘phone, tomorrow, and see how we both feel about working together?”


How do you feel the interview went?

The ultimate cat and mouse game.  When the would be employer rings you, he/she
has already decided whether or not you will be offered the job.  He/she is just asking you that for extra sport.  Like the cat who lets the mouse run a bit further, knowing that it is still within easy reach of its paw.


We feel that you are overqualified for this job.

Tempting answer: Then take advantage of the fact that you are getting caviar for the price of cod roe.


But there is no point wasting your breath.  Remember, you do not suffer fools gladly.



© Scribe Doll


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1 Response to Pet Hates: Job Interview Platitudes

  1. I’ve felt the same way, although I’ve never been asked, “How do you feel the interview went?” The latter question is what my kids would call “lame.” That question reveals a complete lack of creativity and analytical ability on the part of an interviewer.

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