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Why I Would Make a Terrible Traditional Candidate

Please don’t ask me to name 10 things I could do with a pencil.

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BY Suzanne Lucas - 18 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I haven't looked for a traditional job for years--I've been self-employed for the past 8. But, yesterday a recruiter sent me a job description for a job that actually fit my talents, was in my local area, and that I was qualified for. This never happens. I get lots of info from recruiters in Connecticut (I live almost 4,000 miles from Connecticut, but some database somewhere has me with a Connecticut zip code), and lots of recruiters asking if I'd be interested in jobs that I wouldn't be remotely qualified for, so this was a bit of a shock.

In considering whether or not to consider the position, I took a look at few "top job interview questions" articles and decided that nope, I could never get through a typical job interview anymore. Here are some of the questions I found and the answers I'd give.

From Monster.

  • How many times do a clock's hands overlap in a day? I don't know, I look at the time on my phone like everyone else, even though I wear a watch.
  • Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than writing. Pulling my hair back, murder, and 8 other things.
  • Sell me this pencil. Psst, buddy, wanna buy a pencil? You can use it for 10 different things other than writing.
  • If you were an animal, which one would you want to be? A human. Yes, a human is an animal. What? Are you a science denier?

From my Inc. colleague, Jeff Haden:

  • What are your biggest weaknesses? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • Tell me about the last time a co-worker or customer got angry with you. What happened? I took away the WiFi for 24 hours. Did I mention I'm self-employed and work from home and that I have children?
  • Describe your dream job. It involves plenty of access to my biggest weaknesses, and lots of vacation time, plus plenty of praise. Did you want to know about the actual work?
  • Tell me how you think other people would describe you? About 5'8", brown hair, purple glasses, speaks highly accented German with bad grammar, and has an unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who.

From Glassdoor.

  • Discuss your resume. Why? Did you not have time to look at it? I'll wait.
  • What gets you up in the morning? My alarm.
  • If I called your boss right now and asked him/her what is an area that you could improve on, what would he/she say? She's practically perfect in every way. (Did I mention I'm self-employed?)
  • What is your favorite website? Evil HR Lady. It really should be everyone's favorite website, actually.

Now, I'm not saying any of these questions are bad. In fact, with the exception of some of the ones from Monster, they are great questions. It's just that I'd have a very hard time taking them seriously. When I try to recruit new clients, they never ask me questions like this. It's much better for my slightly snarky personality.

So, if I ever decide to go back to the corporate world with a traditional job, I better find it by networking so I won't have to go through this type of interview. I'd never make it past the initial phone screen.


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