I know a thing or two about job interviews. I’ve had more than my fair share over my career. On more than a few occasions, the employer even wrote me a personal note saying they would “keep your name on file” if a more suitable opportunity arose or whenever Hell froze over.
Of course, in most cases, your goal in any job interview is to make a good impression. At last count, there are 15,473 different advice books out there pitching strategies to help you prepare for job interviews. These experts offer time-proven, practical tips like Don’t forget to shower before you show up or this useful suggestion: Arrive at least five minutes before your scheduled appointment time, but not seven hours before, as that just comes off as creepy.
But there are no advice books out there on how to blow the interview. That’s where I come in. Say you’re in the middle of a high-stress interview, and it suddenly becomes clear the people at this company are a bunch of a-holes. You conclude you’d rather sit through a three-day insurance presentation on the benefits of whole life over term than ever work for these jerks. What are you going to do? Oh sure, you could just endure the rest of the interview, making steady eye contact, extend a firm handshake, thank the recruiter for her time and exit gracefully – just like every other lame job candidate would do. But since when did you just follow the crowd?
The next time you’re faced with the job interview from Hell, and you know you’d rather take a job as a great white shark feeder with one of those underwater metal cages as your “cubicle” than work one minute for this toxic employer, don’t go walking. Start talking. To help you out, I’ve crafted some handy responses to frequently asked job interview questions, designed to ensure they’ll never invite you back:
Interview question: Why should we hire you over any of the many other highly qualified candidates we are talking to?
Your response: Well, for one thing, can any of them belch the National Anthem on key? Also, if you hire me, your other employees will start to look outstanding by comparison, and that will really help their morale. By the way, I’ve checked into the backgrounds of some of your other candidates. I’m pretty sure I saw the previous interview candidate on an episode of To Catch a Predator. Hey, not to brag, but I have a totally clean criminal record – because they never could prove the arson charges. Also, I never say ugly, racist comments. I always keep those thoughts to myself.
Interview question: What would you consider to be your greatest strengths?
Your response: In 5th grade, I crushed it at dodge ball. I can hold my breath for a minute – longer if I’m drunk. I always arrive to work within an hour of my start time – unless the fish are biting that day. Then you know where to find me, if you catch my drift.
I used to steal office supplies, but now I have everything I need, so I won’t need to steal from you. I can withstand enormous amounts of pain. Go ahead and punch me in the stomach as hard as you can. I can say with almost complete certainty I can’t be bribed into becoming a Russian spy. But then, every man has his price, am I right? Did I mention, I have an awesome Pez dispenser collection?
Interview question: What would you say are areas you need to work on somewhat?
Your response: Well, I’m kind of a mean drunk. But I’m working hard most evenings at becoming a nice drunk. When someone asks me the time, sometimes I’ll lash out and accuse them of stealing from me. I probably should stop doing that. On occasion, I will yell FOOD FIGHT in a grocery store and start throwing baked goods at anybody who makes eye contact. When napping at my desk, I tend to snore extremely loudly. I never learned how to eat with cutlery. Sometimes I forget I’m not invisible.
Interview question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Your response: You mean assuming I haven’t taken over your job by then? Ha, that’s a joke. I’m a real jokester. I should have listed that as one of my strengths. Can you make a note of that? Seriously, buddy – can I call you buddy? I have no idea where I’ll be in five years. Hell, I usually don’t know where I’ll wake up the next morning. But if I had to guess, I’d say I’ll probably be an astronaut or maybe an oil rig worker or the Chief of Staff to the next American president…. Or a rodeo clown…. Or perhaps in rehab again. It’s really hard to say. I like to keep my options open.
Interview question: If we hired you, what would be your first priorities in your new job?
Your response: Well, it would for sure not be to raid the office supply cabinet. I think we’ve covered that. First priority? Probably to ask for a raise. I sure won’t be able to support my crack habit on this salary. Next, I’d ask to take the rest of the week off – because the pressure of your first day at a new job can be overwhelming, know what I mean? Then I’d probably ask someone to point out where all the hot chicks are in the office.
Your response: Yes, I do. First, do you share my belief that Hitler was just misunderstood? Hey, mind if I do a little cocaine on your desk? Oh, and will I have my own secretary? I’m not picky, but I’d really prefer a buxom blonde. What do you think the chances are your company will follow through on my suggestion to install a free beer dispenser in the break room? Would there be any problem if I brought my pet anaconda to work? Don’t worry, he’s only dangerous if he’s hungry, and I always bring plenty of live rats to keep him well-fed.
Oh, one more question: When do I start?
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Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2016