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     Volume 11 |Issue 18 | May 04, 2012 |


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Bizarre Job Interviews

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Job interviews are considered one of the most stressful activities - right next to things like one's own wedding, dental appointments and being called by the boss after a definite botch up. A job interview, after all, may be a deciding factor of what turn your life may take, who you may end up with and what you may end up as.

Most prospective candidates will take great lengths to do the research on the organisation they are hoping to be hired by, or on the key people whose ultimate decision is the deciding factor. They will spend hours trying out various looks (outfits, hairdos, make-up, facial expressions) before deciding on the right one. Some people even go as far as putting on deep voices to make themselves sound mature and reliable.

Image: Courtesy

But there are many out there who seem to go to interviews with the goal to merely shock and awe. According to an internet survey, people at human resources of various Canadian organisations experienced the most bizarre encounters with interviewees. These include: constantly chewing gum and blowing bubbles occasionally; throwing up on the desk and then continuing the conversation as if nothing had happened; offering cocaine before the interview; threatening to bomb the place if the job was not given then turning on a switch when the interviewer said the police would be called (minor blast, no injuries); pulling out a Polaroid camera and taking a snap of the interviewer (apparently he was a collector of interviewers' snapshots); coming to the interview with one shoe on because the other one had been 'stolen on the bus'; taking off one shoe and sock and applying medicated foot powder as 'it was time to do so'; and interrupting the interviewer to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.

These may sound completely made up but they're not; many people who have had to interview candidates will tell you similar stories. Take a few answers to questions at the interview of short listed candidates for the post of 'full-time writer' at a newspaper magazine.

So what made you want to work for the Star magazine? Answer: Oh this is for a job at the magazine? I thought it was for another section. Oh well okay, since I'm here...

So do you read the magazine regularly? Answer: Not really. I don't really like the Star... Then why are you applying for a job here? Answer: I don't know, just thought I'd see how it is.

Candidate comes in sweating profusely and with a recalcitrant look on his face.

So why did you apply here?

Answer: Oh, I just like to write.

So have you published anything or have any unpublished work?

Answer: Actually I haven't really written anything, I just want to write.

Interviewer is by now a little tired of this.

And how do you propose to write for a newspaper magazine if you haven't written anything in your life?

Answer: I figured I would just work from home, you know, go on the internet, send stuff from time to time.

You do realise this is an interview for a regular staff member?

Answer: Yeah sure. I'll just be writing from home, regularly.

It's not just the candidates that turn out to be oddballs. Interviewers have their share of quirkiness too. Sometimes candidates are rejected on rather flimsy grounds. One candidate who had excellent qualifications and just the right kind of job experience as well as a very pleasant disposition didn't get the job because he was from a certain district. One of the interviewers just didn't like people from that place as they were considered very cliquey. Another candidate got disqualified because he was too hairy - the interviewer was so distracted by the amount of hair - on his face, head, arms and tufts coming out his shirt front that she couldn't concentrate on his answers.

The stress factor at job interviews, therefore, relates to the unpredictability of the way things will go. Whatever you do, at least know what organisation/department you are giving the interview for. Don't be like the enthusiastic candidate who went into the office of a company and told the interviewers that he was an extremely honest person, paid all his taxes, never lied or cheated and always stood up for justice. The representatives of the mafia organisation thought it was a great joke and hired him.



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