Interviews serve two purposes. First, they allow employers to compare and contrast applicants to assist in deducing the best anthropoid for the position. Second, and this is not explicitly stated, the physical act of interviewing allows an employer the relatively rare opportunity to ask completely inane questions that, while having nothing at all to do with the job or one’s qualifications, will still be considered with the same gravity as the demands issued during a hostage negotiation.
Interviewer: If you were an edible plant, what would you be?
Correct answer: A tomato! Delicious and versatile!
Incorrect answer: Hemlock.
Though with that said, it should also be acknowledged that interviews are often a form of cosmic karmic justice. The average resume is less factually accurate than Joe Biden, and often the very fact one was invited to interview for a position is proof in and of itself that one in no way deserves said position.
Interviewer: Describe yourself in five adjectives.
Correct answer: Friendly, organized, hard-working, self-starting, and adaptable.
Incorrect answer: Ruthless, obsessive, unpredictable, twice-acquitted, and adaptable.
But I, as per usual, digress. There are ten thousand books gobbled up by HR departments each and every year claiming to reveal the secret of differentiating the next Bill Gates from the next Hannibal Lector via a series of seemingly unrelated inquiries. This is true despite the fact that I very much want to believe the majority of employers understand these sorts of questions test very little about the applicant, save his or her patience, of course. I would also like to further conjecture that, within the morass of seemingly important requests for information, there are approximately three truly-important questions.
Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Correct answer: Here.
Incorrect answer: Where you are presently sitting. Or possibly back in prison. Depends on how plan A goes.
No. That was not one of the three.
The three questions, in order from least to most important, are as follows: (1) What is your name? (2) What is your reason for wanting to work here? (3) Tell me about yourself. Let’s field them in the same order.
First: What is your name? With the possible exceptions of tax time and when the townsfolk accuse you of constructing a seven foot green man with bolts in his neck, this is one of the questions it is almost always a good idea to answer honestly.
Second: What is your reason for wanting to work here? Unlike the previous question, honesty is probably to your detriment here. It is best to focus less on the practical, such as being able to fill one’s belly, cover one’s naughty bits, and purchase vast quantities of mood and mind altering substances. Instead, one should focus on the absurdly impractical – things like achieving mental tranquility, perfection in physical form, and knowledge of the lost city of El Dorado via whatever career one happens to be pursuing.
Third: Presuming no interruption for talk of favored colors or the air speed of swallows, tell me about yourself. This is hands down the most difficult question that can be put to a potential candidate, seeing how the average individual (myself included) has a list of personal accomplishments that starts and ends with continued homeostasis. Needless to say, this is not what the average employer wants to hear. Simultaneously, that same employer will likely struggle to care about one’s sleep patterns, television habits, or skill at launching acorns from their belly button.
To that end, I have concluded that the best answer to this question is less of a response and more of a counter attack. Lean forward. Look them in the eye. And in one’s most monotone voice respond, “I can kill a man with my bare hands.”
At this point, one will either be hired on the spot or escorted from the property. Either way is a win because, and I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting for rejection letters.