The job interview is a bit of a charade. We all know that.
One person wants the job, the other wants the perfect hire. So, the first says the things they think the other wants to hear while the other digs for information and, obviously, there’s an element of dishonesty. This isn’t such a terrible thing. Dishonesty keeps us civil. You can’t walk through life telling everyone what you actually think all the time. Similarly, hiring managers don’t really expect you to share you real biggest weakness. They want to see how you handle the question.
“What’s your biggest weakness?” is, of course, one of the most common job interview questions, along with “What’s your dream job?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
We thought it would be fun to ask some people how they would answer some of the most common interview questions honestly “if you weren’t necessarily trying to impress anyone.”
Here’s some of what they had to say, for amusement purposes only:
What is your dream job?
“Writer, but for myself, not for other people.”
“New York Times bestselling novelist, or travel TV host.”
What is your greatest weakness?
“I have a mild anxiety disorder and I tend to fixate on one little thing and get super worked up about it. Like, someone will look at me the wrong way and I will think they hate me and go into a paranoid spiral about how everyone in the office hates me and I won’t be able to concentrate on my work. Then, when the work isn’t done and you ask me about it, I will basically have a full-blown panic attack and start hyperventilating and crying.”
“My constant need for reassurance and praise.”
“I am unable to keep an opinion to myself.”
“I am terrible at clerical tasks (ask me to mail a letter for you and it may not happen for three weeks) and when I paint myself into a corner by failing to do something incredibly easy and simple, I lie about it.”
“Why are you interested in this position?”
“I’m not. I need a job.”
Are you a team player?
“I’m not a team player because I prefer working by myself.”
“I’m a team player as long as I am the captain, or the captain is a person who has established their competence and control of the situation.”
How do you handle criticism?
“I smile and nod on the outside but inside I am plotting my revenge.”
“I outwardly handle criticism well but internally agonize, sometimes for years.”
“I usually get mad and think you’re wrong. This is a knee jerk reaction. I will later think about it and realize that you were probably right and that I can learn from listening but in the moment, I’ll hate you and have to refrain from punching you in the face.”
“I loudly object, deflect and then I misdirect onto whoever it can stick to.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“The thought of the future makes me sweat. I have no grasp of it. I mean, I understand the future as a concept but am unable to place myself in it. I’ve always been this way. When I was younger I thought I’d be dead by now. I’m glad I’m not and I don’t plan on dying soon if I can help it, but I’m still not able to envision myself in a future, five years from now. Does that make sense?”
“Sitting where you are, but in a much better suit, and a nicer chair. And better looking.”
“I don’t know but not doing this crappy job.”
“Why should I hire you?”
“You probably shouldn’t. I’ll leave as soon as I find something better.”