"When was the last time you told a lie?" and other tough interview questions

 image from YouTube video produced by Wah! Banana

Interviewing for a job means that you have your "foot in the door." You have made the "paper cut" and the employer is interested enough in you as a future employee to take the time to meet you. But a job interview can be more stressful than a first date. A person can do their homework on the company and have excellent qualifications, but might be get flummoxed when asked one of several tricky and tough interview questions--designed to put an interviewee on the spot. Here are a few from Forbes Magazine

  • Why have you been out of work so long, and how many others were laid off?
  • If employed, how do you manage time for interviews?
  • How did you prepare for this interview?
  • Do you know anyone who works for us?
  • Where would you really like to work?
  • What bugs you about coworkers or bosses?
  • Can you describe how you solved a work or school problem?
  • Can you describe a work or school instance in which you messed up?
  • How does this position compare with others you’re applying for?
  • If you won the lottery, would you still work?

A few of the above questions shouldn't surprise anyone who is preparing for the interview process--experience solving problems or learning from mistakes is pretty standard interview fare. But some of the other questions can test for emotional intelligence and, without asking directly, for honesty. 

Here are a few more tough questions, these from Onward Search

  • What kind of tree is your career?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is the last book you've read? (I was asked this when applying for my full time position at SMC)
  • What is the one question you were hoping I wouldn't ask you today?
  • How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

And, especially if a person has been stretching the truth in the interview process, the really tough question to answer is: When was the last time you told a lie?


Follow up

  • How would you answer the question: "When have you lied at work and gotten away with it?" What was your motivation? What might you do differently?
  • Discuss how the article suggests answering several of the questions above. Prepare your own answers to the questions. 
  • Why might an interviewer ask you to describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?