Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interview Questions

Over the past two weeks I've had interviews with six accounting firms and have been going to pre-interview socials the night before each interview. The pre-interview socials are information sessions and dinners that the firms provide to give students a chance to meet their interviewer in a social setting. The whole process has been fun, but draining. I'll be happy when it's all over and I won't have to wear dress shoes or answer anymore interview questions.

Interview questions are an interesting thing: sometimes during an interview you get the guy that just wants to shoot the breeze; sometimes you get the lady that yawns through the questions as she reads them from her company produced interviewer booklet; sometimes you get the guy that asks weird questions, like if you've ever read Harry Potter, and if yes, did you recommend it to a friend; and, sometimes you get the interviewer that asks the types of questions you'd expect to hear, just presented in a different way.

During a couple of my interviews, I was asked some questions that really made me think. One interviewer asked me what one thing I would keep on my resume if I were only allowed to keep one thing. Though he wasn't LDS, I had to go with my mission for a variety reasons. I guess when you ask a question like that you have to be prepared for a very honest answer. The other interesting thing I was asked was to talk about my biggest success I've experienced so far in life and also to talk about my biggest failure. I was able to answer both questions well and then the my interviewer said, "Yeah, I always like asking that question about the failure. There's really no right or wrong answer, but I just like to see how people answer the question."

Then, he told me that one of his friends was conducting an interview and she asked the girl she was interviewing to talk about her biggest failure she's had in life.

The girl looked at her and said, "Oh, I haven't had any failures."

The interviewer paused for a second and thought maybe the girl just didn't understand the question, so she said, "Okay, let me rephrase the question. Could you please tell me about a time in life when you were unsuccessful."

The girl said, "Yeah, I've never really been unsuccessful. Everything has always just kind of worked out for me. I've always succeeded at everything I've done."

The interviewer then said, "Okay, well, you just failed this interview with Ernst & Young and you're not going to get a job working for us. Talk about how you're going to deal with that."

Oh snap! I loved that story. I called the ending before it began. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any strange interview questions you'd like to relate?

1 comment:

Andrew and/or Jenny said...

So I wonder- did the girl actually fail the interview, or was the interviewer giving her a hypothetical to respond to?

I know I'm a little untimely seeing as how you wrote this over a month ago, but I had an interesting interview for pharmacy school. I studied philosophy at BYU, so I expected questions about why I chose to study that instead of some science based field. I had some very good responses prepared. When the question finally came I explained very well all the ways that a degree in philosophy would make me a better pharmacist. The interviewer looked me in the eye and said, "I completely disagree." He then went on to explain why he thinks liberal arts degrees are worthless. Awkward! Somehow I still got in, but it has given me a little more motivation to succeed and prove that philosophy is not a worthless field of study.