I know there are nearly five people for every job right now, but that doesn’t mean you hiring managers out there have to act like pompous jerks.
A good friend of mine told me yesterday that her son was recently interviewing for a finance job and got a question that stumped him. The hiring manager asked her kid to:
“Teach me something.”
Ugh, was my first thought. What an arrogant interview question. To be honest, I wasn’t totally surprised at the audacity of the question because employers are getting the stupid notion lately that they are all-knowing, and omnipotent, given how many people are begging them for jobs.
Roy Cohen, a New York-based career counselor and executive coach, said, “It’s a tough market and it will continue to be for the indefinite future.” With 9 percent unemployment, he added, “employers have plenty of candidates to choose from, or not to. That’s what I’m really seeing: a beauty contest. We’ll hire you only if you fit the following very challenging criteria.”
Damn I hate beauty contests. But Cohen may be onto something. Where do you find the dumbest questions of all? Here’s a sample of a beauty pageant question:
If there is one thing you could do to change the world what would it be?
I love to hate that one. And everyone says, “stop war” or “save the starving babies,” no?
As for the “Teach Me Something” question, Dr. Gaby Cora, a leadership and well-being expert, said: “This is a charged question. It reminds me about being put on the spot in so many ways: ‘Teach me something.’ ‘Illuminate me.’ or ‘Entertain me.’”
I told my friend her son should have shown the hiring person how to do the decapitating thumb trick that makes it look like your thumb is being cut in half. You know, the one you do to toddlers and it excites them. My 11-year-old daughter just told me it doesn’t work on her anymore, so it’s probably perfect for this idiot interviewer.
My buddy didn’t think my suggestion was very funny since she wants her son to land the gig. So, I asked some experts how they’d answer this dumb query. (more…)