Post the Thirty-Third “Interview with the Dummy: Me”

Ever interview for a job? Not the most easy thing to do is it?  Depending on the job you’re applying for and the person or persons (love those interviews) sitting across from you you’re alternatively putting out the most worst part of your personality or the false best. Either way, you’re establishing a lie from day one, which is actively encouraged by the company that you’re interviewing with. But thats how it works.

Everyone knows that you’re supposed to put your best foot forward during an interview, but for the most part thats not who you are through the workday and yes, more often than not, you aren’t hired for the sum total of your skills but some other ratio of how best you fit in with the team or co workers. Basically; is this person going to fit in with our corporate culture and add value to the team? No wonder its so difficult to interview, how can you know what a company’s Kool Aide tastes like, without, you know, actually tasting it?

I think we would all like to be hired on our own merit and sometimes, miraculously that does happen from time to time! Were it not for all those times in the past when we just needed a job, any job!

I’ve always gotten a kick out of certain questions asked during the interview process and especially considering my technical background, I analyze every one after the fact. One of my particular favorites is “Why do you want this job?”

Dunno, I like to eat? Um, my last one fired me? Uh, my girlfriend said if I didn’t get a job she’d stop sleeping with me? My bookie says pay up or its the kneecaps…?

All of those are probably true, but you can’t say it can you? Back to the lie: “Because I feel as though I’m a synergistic match for the skill set required to perform this task and I love helping people” is the most likely appropriate answer or some other nonsense reply that really doesn’t give any clue as to who you are or what you want. Are there people that genuinely like to help others? Sure. But they already have a job at the Convent and won’t be wanting this one! Also, when was the last time you said “synergistic” in normal day to day speech?!

Another of my favorites is the pseudo-psychological questions aimed at determining your goals and personalities: This one I was asked directly by a company here in South Florida when I was interviewing to take over their badly managed and under budgeted IT shop;

“If you were a tree, what tree would you be?”

That was a first, it actually left me speechless for a moment! After trying desperately to figure out the appropriate response: Oak, Birch, Kudzu, Palm, I don’t know I’m not a friggin arborist, I just need a stinkin JOB!! I took a deep breath and realized that anybody asking the soon to be head of IT what type of tree they would be simply has no concept of what the job entails, who they would be looking for, and realised that no matter what: if I got hired there I wouldn’t be able to effect change here at all.  So I answered:

I can see from the question that personal relationships are very important to you here and that the ideal candidate will have that skill set. However, you’re looking for a tech, programmer, LAN/WAN Engineer, comptroller, and Director IT all in the same job, and you also want that person to have extraordinary personal skills.   Oh, and you want all that for $50k a year. So, no, I do not know what type of tree I want to be when I grow up, but I do know very clearly where I do not want to work!

See, one of the things that sometimes even I forget is; you have to work there if you get hired! You should be using that time during the interview to understand them as much as they are trying to figure us out. I worked at one business a few years ago where everyone, including me, was miserable. But interestingly, we all liked each other! We just hated the nature of what we were doing and what the core business product was. If I had understood the nature of the environment there, I probably would not have taken the job, probably…

I gotta eat, same as you!





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