Thursday, November 20, 2008

10 of the Toughest Interview Questions Ever

My last post generated a lot of comments regarding the tougher stance employers may be taking regarding truthfulness from job seekers based on President-Elect Obama's criteria, and it got me to thinking about just how far the new administration may be willing to go when it comes to vetting job candidates.

The Obama Administration is reportedly going to check into everything from an applicant's friends, family and associates to past e-mails, texts, online comments, etc., looking for anything that they believe might make a candidate unworthy to work in the "change" White House.

Recently I was able to get access to questions asked of a job seeker by an Obama hiring manager and thought they might give us insight into how tough the questions might be:

1. "I understand you had a dog named 'Cuddles' when you were 12-years-old. Did you remember to feed this Cuddles as you promised, or did a third party -- say, your mother -- have to step in when you forgot?"

2. "We have videotape of a high school basketball game and it appears to show you wearing hard shoes on the gym floor. Can you explain this clear violation of school policy?"

3. "On Twitter, we have found you made a request for Sarah Palin's moose chili. Care to comment?"

4. "Have you ever sent a text message with the words 'you suck' in it?"

5. "An off-duty Secret Service agent is willing to testify under oath that he saw you bringing in outside food to a showing of 'March of the Penguins.' Specifically, a box of Whoppers. Can you explain this clear violation of the movie theater rules?"

6. "Our records indicate you purchased 'Guitar Hero Aerosmith' through your company computer. Are you telling us that you expect a job in this administration when you have shopped online while at work?"

7. "On your best friend's Facebook page, we found a photo of you at a recent industry conference with a toilet seat around your neck, wearing a grass skirt and holding some kind of pink drink in your hand. Oh, yes, and a little blue umbrella appears to be stuck up your nose. Was this part of a specific training exercise?"

8. "Your blog claims that you have the record for taking the most photocopies of your face on the office copier, and you're going for your third straight win in the 'burping the alphabet' contest during this year's holiday party. Was there a reason you neglected to list these skills on your application?"

9. "As you know, we talk to family members. Your brother has admitted to us that you knowingly watched 'Catwoman,' even after the reviews came out. Can you explain why you would ever knowingly watch such a horrendously bad film?"

10. "Is it true that the last time someone touched something on your desk at work they required a tetanus shot?"

OK, I may have taken a few liberties with this fictional account, but do you know of any other tough questions that might be asked these days?


Ellen Weber said...

I am still laughing Anita! Perhaps we've titled windmills at freedom of privacy and are moving more toward freedom of integrity now. Wouldn't it be great if people could inquire with respect, and uncover genuine integrity - with its deep mutual benefits as we set out plans to work together! Love your site and thanks for the find!

Anita said...

Glad I gave you a laugh. Figure we all need one these days! Maybe if we point to how it can go overboard, they'll move toward genuine integrity, as you said. Great thoughts.

Martin Buckland said...


Thanks, brightened my day!

Anita said...

Martin, saying that brightened MY day!

Miriam Salpeter said...

I may need to throw one of these in next time I do a mock interview for a client...I can only envision the stunned silence!


Anita said...

I guess that would teach them to learn on their feet...they'd be prepared for anything!

Marsha Keeffer said...

Anita, maybe you took a few liberties, but when a friend who's a recruiter tells me she sees CEO candidates show up to interviews wearing t-shirts and jeans, you know some polishing is in order. It's never too soon to remove that charming picture of you at the beer bust from Facebook!

Anita said...

Thanks for sharing this story...I've been covering workplace/careers issues long enough to know that people continue to make these kinds of mistakes, and believe no one will care. Believe me, they will.

Stephen Hopson said...

I know I haven't been around lately as I've been busy catching up on reading my favs but just wanted to let you know the last few humorous blog posts put a smile on my face this morning.

Happy Thanksgiving! P.S. I'm just grateful I don't have to be the one being interviewed with questions like these. LOL.

Anita said...

Glad you dropped by to share your wonderful smile. Happy Thanksgiving to you also.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anita -

Laughing still...I found your blog on Alltop (Guy Kawasaki's new venture). Anyway, clicked on the title and up popped the blog and here I am with tired eyes and that photo! was such a shock and so fitting for how one must feel inside when heading into and interview - it gave me a real good giggle.

Just great - thanks for your entertaining wit and irony.


Anita said...

First, let me apologize for using an "anonymous" tag. I couldn't get this to post, so I just copied and pasted your comment.
Glad you got a chuckle. I seem to be looking for all the humor I can when it comes to the job market these days -- !

Hope you'll stop by more often!

Kathryn/ said...

Anita at her best.Love your sense of humor, Anita!

Anita said...

Well, thank you!

David Benjamin said...

I'm so glad I've stumbled upon your writing. I enjoy both your style as well as your content. I anticipate reading through the collection as time permits.

So, can you write my posts for me :)

Just finishing up one and it's abundently clear...I'm not a writer.

Anita said...

Well, thanks very much! I appreciate your kind words.
As for the writing: I've been doing this a long, long....LONG time. Some days I think I do OK and others -- well, let's just say I'm never completely satisfied. The way to get better is to simply keep at it.
I hope you'll be a regular visitor to this blog. It's fun getting to know you.