For me... I have to go back a few years...okay A LOT of years. Back to the days when email just came out and YAHOO! was the #1 search engine. I was as eager as could be and thought that I could get any job I wanted. That is until I had my first interview. In fact, this was my very first "grown-up" interview. Keep in mind, I really did not have a Career Advisor to talk to as a resource, all I had was family and friends to coach me through this nerve-racking experience.
My degree was a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Psychology. Typically the jobs I applied for were in the area of Social Work. My very first interview was for a well known non-for-profit organization and I was interviewing for an entry-level social worker position. I showed up on time, nicely dressed with my portfolio in hand. As I was waiting for my interviewer to come and get me, I kept rehearsing over and over again in my mind how to answer the "typical interview questions." Eventually, I got into the interview and I was feeling really confident. I was saying to myself, "Yea, I got this." I WAS thinking that until I was asked "the question" that did me in! What was this horrific question in which my immediate response was a blank stare followed by a few stuttering grunts?
Here it is: "What is your weakness?"
WHAT? HUH? I prepared for all possible interview questions, but that one. How do I handle it? What do I say? Well the blank stare slapped on my face said it all to the employer and the longer the time passed the more I felt pressure to blurt out anything. "Come on' Erin...quick...think...say something...ANYTHING or this guy is going to think I am a stuttering moron full of nerves!"
I finally mustered a response that was just barely audible. By the look on the employer's face, I knew I blew it. Arghhh! Why on earth did I just say that as my weakness? Can you guess what I said? Keep in mind...I was interviewing for a Social Worker position. You know, dealing with the public, dealing with kids....dealing with PEOPLE!
And I brilliantly replied "I am not a patient person." WHAT? If I only knew then, what I know now. If I could just go back in time and tell myself "NEVER BE THAT HONEST" with a trick question like that! Can you believe it? What an awful answer. I kick myself for saying that, but now realize if it wasn't for that one nervous response of mine, I wouldn't have this story to share with all of you. Only after the interview I realized why I was no longer being considered for the position. This was a learning experience for sure. Heck, we all have them...mine was just pretty embarrassing. I quickly went from an over confident soon-to-be graduate to a humbled graduate desperate to find a job in my field of study! Oh, and I have more to share with you...but those will have to wait for another blog.
Now, it's your time to share...what was the worst or toughest interview question that you answered? And what was your response?