BEWARE: Tricky Interview Questions Ahead

24 Feb

You have submitted your resume, called back to see if they received it, and then, after what seems like an eternity, you FINALLY receive the call that they want to call you in for an interview. While this may seem like great news in today’s market, don’t get too excited. Remember, you always have to be prepared for an interview and the tricky questions the interviewer will have up their sleeves.

According to an article by Jenna Goudreau entitled Watch Out! Ten Interview Questions Designed To Trick You, Joyce Lain Kennedy, author of Job Interviews for Dummies, says that hiring managers spend countless hours interviewing potential candidate after potential candidate. In order to sift through the qualified candidates and the not so qualified candidates, Kennedy says that hiring managers often use “tricky questions.” According to Kennedy, the following are some of the “tricky questions” hiring managers ask to catch job hunters off guard:

1.  Why Have You Been Out of Work So Long, and Why Were You Laid Off?

If you read my post Why Are Gen Yers So Unhappy you will remember me saying that Gen Yers who sit around waiting for the right job will have a hard time explaining to potential employers why they have been unemployed for so long. According to Kennedy, the interviewer may be trying to determine whether you are a “second string employee.” Kennedy states that while the employer might not come straight out and ask why you were laid off right away, if they ask any questions regarding your lay off they will likely be trying to determine whether or not you were considered a “second string employee” that was not worth keeping around. Rather than answering the interviewer honestly, Kennedy suggests that you simply suggest that you have no idea why you were laid off because you were a great, hard-working employee.

I do think, however, that if you have seriously been looking for work and have been unable to find ANYTHING, then you should be honest about that aspect of your job hunting experience. Of course, if you were laid off because you stole something and can’t find a job because you don’t have reference, maybe telling the truth is not such a good idea.

2.  If You Are Employed Right Now, How Are You Able to Come to an Interview?

According to Kennedy, the interviewer is trying to see whether you have a pattern of short-changing and lying to employers. The best way to respond is to tell the interviewer that you have taken personal time for the interview and that you only go to interviews that seem like great opportunities and great fits. Kennedy suggests that if additional interviews are requested, you should ask for an interview time outside of normal work hours.

While job hunting when you currently have a job is tricky and maybe slightly unethical in some instances, it is possible. I found my current job while I was employed by someone else. I only went on two interviews the entire time I was looking and it was only because those jobs were jobs that sounded like jobs I wanted. I didn’t go on an interview for a job I wouldn’t have taken had they offered it to me on the spot. My advice is to be picky if you are employed and have that luxury. You definitely don’t want to give off the impression that you go on any interview that you have a chance to go on when you already have a job.

3.  Do You Know Anyone Who Works For Us?

A lot of times we assume that having a connection on the inside will help us. According to Kennedy, having a connection on the inside will only help you if you are absolutely sure of that person’s standing within the organization. It won’t help you to have a buddy pass along your resume if that buddy is seen as a slacker within the company. Kennedy suggests that, because the employer will likely associate your friend’s traits and characteristics with you, make sure you really know your friend and their standing within the organization.

4.  How Does This Positions Compare To Others You Are Applying For?

Kennedy states that the “intent is to gather intel on the competitive job market or what it will take to bring you on board.” According to Kennedy there are two ways to approach this issue, you can either say that you don’t talk about other interviews or you can say that you have received other competitive offers. Personally, I don’t like either approach. The first approach makes you sound stuffy and secretive, and the second option makes you sound cocky. Of course, if you have really received another offer you should bring it up as long as you are sure it won’t ruffle any feathers. But I would tread lightly and make think through whether or not the interviewer would react positively or negatively to this. If you don’t want to discuss other interviews that you have been on, then simply suggest that you have not been on any. Sure, this may make them think that you are not as highly demanded, but at least you don’t sound like a complete tool when you say you don’t feel comfortable discussing other interviews.

There are other deceptive questions that interviewers try to ask that you should check out in Jenna’s article on Forbes. The bottom line is that landing the interview does not mean that you have landed the job, so be prepared.

One Response to “BEWARE: Tricky Interview Questions Ahead”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. P.S. *ALL* Interview Questions Can Trick You » Utah Tech Jobs - February 28, 2012

    […] The article quotes heavily from Joyce Lain Kennedy, author of Job Interviews For Dummies, and outlines the following 10 interview questions designed to “quickly eliminate a less qualified candidate.” […]

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