Interviewing at my company is a grueling process filled with phone interviews, group presentation and interview, and one-on-one interviews. One of the one-on-one interviews is usually a behavioral interview. You know the kind, "If two people you worked with were having an argument about something what would you do?" or "When you start a project, walk me through the steps you take to make sure that you are successful." Most candidates will pass the behavioral part fairly easily since the phone interview should have weeded out most of the duds. That's why it was so amusing when one managed to slip through.
When asked the question, "If you finished your part of a project early while others around you were still struggling to finish their parts, what would you do?"
Now I know what you are thinking a good answer would be, "I'd see if I could help them in some way" or "I'd check with the project manager to see where I could be of use."
This particular interviewee had a more honest answer though. "Well, I really like watching TV. I'd probably go home early and watch some."
After a moment of silence the interviewer could not help but let out a chuckle and wrap up the interview.
Umm, Steve Got Lost
I'll never forget my first job interview, err, almost-interview. I was a plucky young student, thrilled to find a company that was willing to interview me for a year-long internship. I truly believed that only the hard working, intelligent people succeed, and that'd this internship would be a great way to learn from a success. And then I met Steve, the lead developer.
Well, I say met, but I didn't actually meet him at the interview. I arrived at the company bang on time and was led into the conference room to wait for Steve.
Ten minutes later, a fellow by the name of Neil stopped in. "Err, we can't seem to find Steve," he said, a bit awkwardly, "ummm, he went out for a jog and hasn't come back."
I chatted with Neil for a half-hour or so about the company, my schooling, the town, and that sort of thing. I'm not quite sure if it was part of the interview, it seemed more like a way to pass time while we waited for Steve. After we wrapped up our conversation, Neil said he'd try to find Steve again and left me in the conference room.
Ten minutes passed.
Twenty five minutes passed.
Neil stopped in again and I asked if he had any luck locating Steve.
"Well," Neil replied, "sort of. He got lost when he went out for his jog and is trying to find his way back. You might as well go now, I'm not sure when he'll be back."
In the end, I accepted the position they offered. As far as how the internship went, I'll just say that, next time my to-be boss gets lost while going for a jog, I'll be a lot more apprehensive.
I Think I Have A Tick
Several years ago, I interviewed for a systems administration position at a very small web hosting company.
Near the end of the interview, the conversation veered towards personality questions and we discussed my hobbies: camping, boating, that sort of thing. I'm carrying on a bit when the guy gets out a camera. I'm thinking he's going to take my picture, so I ask him to please not do so. He tells me to keep talking while he plugs the camera into his computer. So I keep talking and less than a minute later, he interrupts me.
"I think I have a tick."
"A facial tic? A Ben Edlund Tick?" I ask.
Whereupon he explains that he'd been doing some yard work over the weekend, points to his posterior and says, "A tick... here. What do you think?" And he swivels the monitor around to show me an enlarged picture of his rump with a slightly blurry, reddish bump in the middle.
Of all the things I could think of to say, I proceeded to give him instructions on how to extract it. You know, some alcohol on a cotton ball to suffocate it ... once dead, it will be easily removed. He thanked me and then handed me a written test and directed me towards a conference room. I finished the test hastily, asked for a copy and then left. To this day I do not know why I didn't just get up and leave immediately.