This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at Paddington today.
There appears to be a shift towards competency style interviews. In case you don’t know what that means, it’s the type of interview where they ask you to describe relevant experiences you’ve had that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for. These include things such as:
- Describe a time you’ve worked in a team.
- Tell me about a time you managed a project.
- What is your greatest achievement?
Now if you’ve done a shred of preparation, you will have answers to the popular questions but you often find yourself exaggerating your role or just bullshitting till the cows come home. I have met people who completely fabricate some of their experiences and to be honest I think very few people can pull that off.
I thought I’d give my ‘real’ answers to some of the questions out there.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Aliya. I’m studying Mathematics at university. I have feelings towards numbers, in particular 3 is my favourite number. My star sign is Aquarius. I love to read, tell stories, gossip and watch movies. I really love Harry Potter and I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life but I want to be good at what I do. I am extremely clumsy and a little weird most of the time but I like to think that makes me entertaining to be around. I really think you ought to hire me.
What do you know about the role you applied for?
I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing but I need the experience. Instead I will regurgitate anything I’ve read on your company website including lots of terminology I don’t understand so please don’t ask me what anything means. Kthanks.
Give an example of when you’ve been a leader.
My friends can never decide where to go for lunch. This usually leads to five minutes of everyone asking everyone else where they want to go to lunch and finally ending with me deciding. I believe this shows real leadership on a daily basis. I’m also really bossy so if people can’t make decisions and they ask for my advice, I make their decisions for them. If you don’t like it, don’t ask me.
Tell me about a time you missed a deadline.
I’m being brutally honest here when I say I have never missed any deadline of importance unless I was physically ill. I don’t see why I should have to make up some fake reason and use it to explain what I’ve learnt and how that developed my ‘character’. Leave me alone.
Tell us about a situation when you failed to communicate appropriately.
That would be most of the time. I find myself increasingly searching for the right word and getting phrases jumbled in my mouth. I also have a tendency to switch accents unnecessarily and turn into a freshie when I’m feeling awkward. Don’t even get me started on what happens to my verbal communication skills when I’m around someone I find attractive. I either become mute or babble like a crazy woman. I am sure one day I will seduce someone with my awkwardness.
How do you adapt to change?
I hate change but I understand it is inevitable. It will never be something I embrace because I am a stickler for routine but if the change is permanent, then I will do my best to adapt to it. Take my mobile phone for example. I upgraded from a brick to a Blackberry. I really missed my brick initially but now I can’t imagine being without my Blackberry. That’s my adaptive skills right there.
What is your weakness?
I don’t have faith in people’s abilities until I’ve seen it with my own eyes. This prevents me delegating effectively because I don’t trust that people can do things to the standard that I can. This sounds incredibly pompous but hey once I am convinced you can do what you say you do, then I am very happy to share the responsibility and workload. But I need convincing first.
What is your biggest mistake?
Well that’s a loaded question. Excluding an array of personal mistakes, I think my biggest blunder was getting the date of my driving test wrong. That was the height of idiotic. I genuinely thought it was on a Wednesday but it turned out to be on Tuesday. I still think the person examining me must have been on something because I am a threat to society behind a wheel.
Describe a situation where you had a disagreement or an argument. How did you handle it?
There are few things I’ve fought as hard for as I did to study Mathematics at university. I was destined to go down the medicine route according to my parents and the rest of my family and normally I just cave to their demands. However I felt very strongly that medicine wasn’t right for me and for the first time I grew some balls and stood my ground. I am not exaggerating when I said numerous dinner discussions, tears and emotional breakdowns followed. This was probably not the best way to handle it but it worked so I don’t regret it.
And there you have it. ‘Real’ interview answers!
Over and Out.