I’ve been to a good amount of job interviews in my life, while a select few have been great, I always hate when the interviewer asked typical generic questions to me that simply made no sense and had no specific focus. I always personally felt offended when this happened to me because if I took the time to research the company so that I can ask focused questions, wouldn’t you expect them to do the same for me? But then again, I’m the one being considered for a job so maybe I’m the one that needs to suck it up and shut up like the good millennial I am. Anyways, here are the five interview questions we all despise being asked.
“What is your greatest weakness?”
It shocks me that people still ask this question. How in the world is someone suppose to answer this? It’s just annoying because it sets people up to answer in a way where they frame their weakness as actually a strength (i.e. it basically invites the prospective employee to give a bullshit answer). In short, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
How to answer it: The best way is to be completely honest and tell them your weakness, but be sure to mention the steps you’ve taken to compensate for it and improve. Everyone has weaknesses and if they’re going to dock points from you for being honest, this is not a company you want to work at.
“Tell me about yourself”
Is this a date or a job interview? Did you even read my resume? The question itself is so general that the job applicant wouldn’t even know there to possibly start without repeating what’s already been written in his/her resume.
How to answer it: Forget mentioning anything about where you grew up or that you enjoy long walks on the beach, they are most likely not looking for an answer like that and probably don’t care either. Focus your answer on outlining a few main points of why you are competent enough for the job. Make sure to highlight accomplishments and milestones you hit from your past jobs.
“How would your friends or co-workers describe you?”
Are you out of your mind!? Why would I admit to all the negative things my peers have to say about me? Again, you’re pretty much begging for someone to give you a bullshit answer.
How to answer it: Obviously, the best option here would be to say great things about yourself. However, I would focus attention on telling stories about how you’ve helped friends out in the past or perhaps a time you helped a co-worker cover a shift. Such things will show that you are helpful and willing to do things to keep operations running when others can’t show up.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
If I answer “here,” I look like I have no ambition, if I say “getting a better position,” I seem impassionate in the job I’m being considered for, if I say “taking your job,” now I appear threatening to you. What if I honestly have no clue and I just need this job to survive? I’m losing either way, so how on God’s green earth do you expect me to give you a decent answer?!
How to answer it: Honestly, this is a tough one. I would suggest you give a semi-vague answer of expecting to deliver well on your job and excel within the company when you’re ready. This gives it the happy medium between showing you care for the job, but want to continue to grow.
“If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”
…Are you high?
How to answer it: The interviewer is most likely just trying to get to know you more in the most indirect way possible to see if you fit with their company culture. There is really no wrong answer here unless you give an answer along the lines of: “I want to be a rabid lion so that I can tear everyone apart in my sight.”