According to James Reed, author of “Why You?: 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again,” and chairman of Reed, one of the top UK job sites, some hiring managers ask awkward questions as a way of uncovering any lies in your CV and to find out who you really are by the way you handle a difficult situation.
Going into any job interview, you can anticipate questions like, “What’s your greatest weakness?” and “Why should we hire you?” One you probably wouldn’t expect is: “Every résumé has at least one lie in it. What’s yours?”
This will most likely catch anyone off guard, but as always keep cool as your reactions speak louder than words.
Reed says there’s no doubt this question is a “stinger,” but there’s a good reason employers ask it. “One recent survey found that as many as 20% of job seekers admitted they’re prepared to lie on their résumés.”
Hopefully, he says, you’re not one of them. Not only would fibbing hurt your chances of getting the job if it’s discovered, but it’s also a “sure-fire way to end up with a job you’re poorly prepared to handle.”
If this question is asked then try to bounce back with a quick joke, if this fails then deny everything. Reed suggests trying something like:
“Well, it says under hobbies there that I enjoy keeping fit. My wife would say that’s stretching the truth! Seriously, though, I don’t believe there are any lies on my résumé. I believe integrity on the job is very important and that starts with your résumé.”
If the hiring manager is like a dog with a bone and doesn’t let this drop, then this should raise a red flag for you and the type of company you are interviewing for.
Interviews generally flow the same way – the interviewer sits in the big chair whilst you take the plastic hot seat whilst praying that everything goes well.
Another weird and wonderful question that may crop up is “what are your thoughts on the interview process so far?”.
“At first glance this is a truly weird question,” he writes. “Your answer couldn’t be in any way relevant to the job at hand, could it? But maybe in a sort of sneaky way, it could.
“While your ability to critique your interviewer is highly unlikely to be an essential skill should you get the job, the ability to offer constructive feedback while maintaining pleasant relations with colleagues almost certainly will come in handy. In all likelihood that’s the essential political skill your interviewer is trying to test here.”
Reed suggests a candidate should avoid “pointless and obvious flattery,” that you remain calm, and maintain your poise, while “channelling your inner diplomat”.
He crafted his perfect response as:
“Well, I enjoyed the fact that we started off with a little tour of the facility on the way to the conference room and I definitely think you’ve done a great job of examining my job-specific skills. I really had to dig deep and think carefully when you quizzed me on how I’d handle the quality control issues you’ve been facing, which pushed me to get into the nitty-gritty of how I work and also have me a better idea of the challenges I’d be facing should I be offered the job.
“I don’t think we’ve discussed my work style and the culture of the team I’d be joining as much, however. I’d love to get into how the team interacts and how I’d fit in. Is that something we’ll be talking about later in the interview process?”
If you are attending an interview, then we recommend you to prepare as much as possible for these new whacky questions that may get thrown your way. Reading up on interview responses and tips is a great start. With so many talented fish in the pool, the interviewer has to come up with new questions to help pull you out of the pond.