Job interviews and difficult questions

Job interviews are notoriously nerve wracking to begin with, for both the interviewee and the interviewer, even in the absence of necessary embarrassing questions. But throw in those intimate questions, and you have a recipe for a red-faced job candidate wriggling, and shifting in their chair, thinking that they would rather be feeding pork chops to a junk yard dog through a chain link fence.

With that stated, let’s discuss what constitutes an embarrassing or intrusive question and try to address how to pose that question in the most comfortable way possible. By comparing and contrasting different approaches, we can begin to understand that everyone will not react to the same question the same way.

Consider the scenario where a position for a lucrative secretarial position is on the line. The interviewer knows that the phones are nearly unmanageable from 8 am to 12 and it is crucial that they do not miss any calls – a tactless interviewer might pose specific questions regarding regularity and bowel movements.

And, while a well-seasoned candidate might stare them straight in the face and say something like, “I never poop before noon,” conversely, to an inexperienced candidate, that same exact question could be just traumatic enough to induce an unplanned bowel movement, right there, on the spot – the tragedy is that the second interviewee may have had far superior skill sets to the afternoon pooper.

There are a number of awkward questions that have to be navigated in various job application situations. To determine whether or not a job applicant is a good fit in a particular position, an interviewer sometimes has to ask unusual or intrusive questions, and tact and good judgment are their most reliable allies. Trial and error are also of considerable value, but not without guinea pigs.

A job candidate’s initial impression of a company is as important as the company’s impression of the candidate – this implicit premise of mutual respect is crucial because it serves to nurture healthy interactions in successful business relationships.

Perhaps the least intrusive way to pose embarrassing questions is in writing, so that job candidates can be spared those undignified or intrusive questions.

Craig Fleming

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)