How Badly Do You Want this Job?

November 22, 2013 | 1

How would you respond if someone asked you, “If you walk into a liquor store to count the unsold bottles, but the clerk is screaming at you to leave, what do you do?” during a job interview? At The Morning News, Giles Turnbull tried to answer the weirdest job interview questions. His answer to the question: “What in the name of God would I be doing counting unsold bottles in a liquor store? Are you trying to fuck with my mind?”

is an associate editor for The Millions and an editor in Atlanta. She tweets at @temalone.

One comment:

  1. Since a high proportion of (notably fiction) writers need to earn their bread in some way or another and be forced to put up with such idiocy, I would advise pretending you are a 1950’s era secret agent and the entire job interviewing/hiring/work-life environment is East Berlin:

    a.) Beware intelligence and quirkiness in answering questions of this type. The fact you have to go through this process is a sign you are applying for a job in which such qualities are not valued. Do not abandon assumption without extensive verification situation is otherwise.

    a.) Seek to blend in and subvert them from the inside for your own gain. Keep an eye out for excess staplers, note pads, and pencils. There is nothing like writing with note pads and pencils.

    b.) Develop careful alliances with others of like mind (ideally from the shipping company downstairs). Ridicule entire system with abandon in neutral territory. Develop new ideas for subversion.

    c.) Know the terrain and hostile forces. I could have accurately predicted one layoff in Feb 2008 by correctly assessing the passive-aggressive body language of the person who hired me the previous August. Another person gave away his obsessive compulsive micromanaging in the simple act of putting on and taking off his winter gloves several times during the interview. If you have an overwhelming, gut-deep urge to run out the door in a cold sweat during the interview, for God sakes, RUN!

    d.) Get the ‘canned answers’ to these questions. Practice until you can recite them automatically and with a fanatical gleam in your eye. (Repeat 1000 times.. “The bottles WILL be counted! The bottles WILL be counted!)

    Good luck. I will deny ever having briefed you on any of this. If caught, you are on your own.

    Moe Murph
    Battle-Hardened Administrative Dogsbody

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