My last blog was an interview with Napoleon Dynamite. Assuming Napoleon gets the job, I've noted a few real-life examples of questions he should avoid once he's an employee.
But first, since we're talking interviews...I'll stay just for a moment on the subject of "questions asked by the candidate during the interview."
For the record, yes, we do encourage candidates to ask thoughtful questions. It is assumed that the candidate will come to the interview fully prepared. A large part of the preparation should come in the form of "research." Do yourself a big favor - research the company prior to the interview, then use your noggin.' Hoovers.com can be a great tool for this type of activity - research your employer of choice and take notes. Use the notes to develop insightful questions that will let the interviewer know you've done your homework.
Don't overdo it - some folks get a lil' bent-out-of-shape if it seems the candidate is trying to "take-over" the interview. And, make sure the questions are truly pertinent. I interviewed a candidate last week that was a bit of a stretch for the position. She was not the strongest candidate, yet her interview strategy was to "interview-the-interviewer." It didn't work. I finally gave in to exasperation when she curtly blurted, "So, tell me why you think I should take this position." It's not that this is a completely unfair question. If the ball were in her court I would certainly put my best foot forward and convincingly answer the question. But the ball was not in her court.
She obviously didn't have a good "feel" for where we were in the interview process.
Well, 'nuf about my interviews. Here's a few questions that will raise an eyebrow or two - asked by employees once they'd already nailed down the job they wanted:
Can I have my salary deferred until next year so I don't have to pay taxes this year? I don't need the money this year.
You may not need the money this year, but the IRS does.
I falsified my resume. Now that I'm working here, can I change it?
Sure. Can we change your employment status?
Which exit should I use on the evacuation map - primary or secondary?
Which thought process were you using when you asked that question? Primary or secondary?
Why do we have to offer family leave to male employees?
Because male employees have families, and if we don't they'll leave.
Can my supervisor require me to have specific working hours?
We could waive the requirement if you waive the requirement that we provide a specific paycheck at a specific time.
Can I wear a swimsuit and towel on casual day?
It'd be appropriate for taking a dip in the job candidate pool.
Every day my supervisor tells me to stop chatting and get back to work. Can he do that?
Yes. Now get back to work.
Will you give me a raise if I stop smoking marijuana?
Sorry. There's no rainbow at the end of this pot.
I know I've been terminated, but shouldn't the insurance cover the hospital bills from the birth of my baby since the child was conceived in accordance with the guidelines of the insurance policy manual?
Sorry. We've read the manual, too, and we can't conceive how we can help.
Since my mother and father both died before I came to work at this company, will I be credited for bereavement leave I didn't have to take?
Well, you've apparently been credited with intelligence you don't intend to use, so let's call it even.
Workforce, June 1999, Vol. 78, No.6, p.44
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