Bastard Jobseeker From Hell Interviewing On skype

BJFH Goes Looking For Work

You can find millions of interview-tips articles on the Internet that purport to tell you how you can land that ‘dream job’. It is not our intention to use this article to add yet another to the pile, and our attitude to such articles is that they are mostly a waste of time.

The hiring decision is one fundamentally based on whether or not you ‘click’ in the interview, in spite of several decades of the psychologists, sociologists, astrologists, and the neuro-linguistic programmers of HR trying to turn recruitment into something predictable. In vain, as it’s turned out. We humans, it has transpired, are not resources.

Hiring, in essence, is like dating and there simply are no sure-fire ways to success. Although there are plenty of people with snake-oil solutions to sell that will assure you there are. Instead, we’ve sent the Bastard Jobseeker From Hell out to do a bunch of interviews for IT contracts for him to gather his thoughts on how one is to retain one’s humanity when confronted by those junior IT managers and their team-leading captains who think they’ve got what it takes to ask, let alone interpret the answers to, ‘difficult’ interview questions.

Here is the after-action report in the form of the questions that the Bastard Jobseeker From Hell has recently been asked during job interviews, and the answers he thinks that are most appropriate to give. We denote line-manager questions LM, teamlead questions TL, and human resources HR.

We present them in no particular order, having aggregated them over many tiresome interview sessions. Although some, such as the first pair of questions and answers follow a logical progression and will be kept together.

LM: What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?
Are we just chatting now, or is this still part of the interview?

LM: It’s Part of the Interview
Apologies. Of course I have weaknesses. I know what that they are, and I have developed strategies to mitigate if not eliminate them. In the best-case scenarios I have made them my strengths. But what makes you think I would tell you what they are? I have studied the thinking of many of the great strategists from Alexander the Great, Bagration, Clauswitz, all the way through to King Shaka of the Zulus. I think he is my favourite. There is an elan about Shaka’s strategizing that I find hard to match. However, I am not sure which one of these strategists ever advised anybody to “let the adversary know what your weaknesses are“.

That is something one only reveals to one’s counsel, close family members, comrades, co-workers and friends. Which is why I asked if we were just chatting now.

LM: I See From Your Resume That You’ve Worked On A Lot of Short-Term Projects, Why Is That?
Because low-level IT line managers like you who are not trusted with hiring-budgets and are doled them out in six-monthly or quarterly increments lest you screw-up or attempt to cheat your employers out of them, cannot comprehend the consequences of putting hiring decisions into the hands of those incapable of making them.

LM: You Are Obviously Over-Qualified for the Role So How Can You Convince Me That You Wouldn’t Get Bored and Leave?
Listen mush, if I wasn’t prepared to take the job on I wouldn’t have applied for it. You acknowlege that I am not an idiot like Captain Atlassian over there chomping away on his biro, yet insist on asking me dumb questions. You’re offering three-months worth of work mate. There isn’t going to be time for either of us to get bored. It’ll be like, “Hi I’m the bastard ex-jobseeker from hell reporting in for my first day of work. Here’s your badge. Thanks, where’s the bog? Down there, second on the left” and my contract will have expired and I’ll be back on the bleeding dole again.

These “other offers” that I am going to tempted away by exist only in your imagination. They swirl around your head fueled by dreams of the well-functioning, prosperous, vibrant, and above all thriving economy in which we all operate. Lucky us. As opposed to the nightmarish reality that your pathetic little permie job shields you from. Don’t you think that if there were better jobs around I wouldn’t have already applied and been hired for them?

Why do you persist in insulting me by asking me entry-level questions and presuming that I am going to break my word to you at the first opportunity? It’s because, deep-down, and you’re an intelligent man even if your employers are treating you otherwise, you know that the job you have to offer is, in the final analysis, shit. That’s the bottom line, if you’ll pardon the pun. You wouldn’t want to have to take it yourself. The job I mean.

You think only an idiot would take the kind of job you are offering. You see them around you on your own team every day. That’s why your questions are limited in scope, lacking in depth, let alone possessing the qualities of wit and insight. Because you are depressed by your job. This shows up in the quality of your work. Hence, you spend most of your time getting bollockings from the customer complaints department but not getting the budget you require for remediation because you do not even know how to ask for it, let alone demand.

Yeah, I really want to come and work here. Three months will be just about as much as I can take, but it’ll give me a lot of laughs. I’ll enjoy watching you guys running about like headless chickens.

HR: Tell Me About The Three Worst Mistakes You Made
The Three Worst, eh? Like I have some league table of worst mistakes that I carry around in my head because I’ve made so many of them. Is that what you are implying? I make mistakes all the time, just like we all do. Errare humanum est. The only person that never makes any mistakes, apart from your good self of course, is the one who never attempts to do anything. I neither dwell upon, grade, nor priortise the severity of my own errors since that would be imprudent, and it is rather naive of you to expect me to do so. The only people who can judge the severity of my prior blunders are the many victims of them and/or their widows and orphans.

Are you really planning to hire somebody who continually fucks-up and then tells you about it during the interview? You’ve got other candidates for this role, right? Go ask them to tell you about how they’ve bungled it in the past and I’m certain that as far as mistakes are concerned you’ll find they’ve made some corkers, but I’m not going to destroy the success-focused context of my own interview by discussing such negativity as failure. What I am prepared to discuss are the methods I have acquired to predict, assess, mitigate, manage the risk of, and perhaps even avoid causing some of those inevitable foul-ups that are yet to come. So why don’t you ask me about that instead?

HR: What’s The Most Embarassing Thing That You’ve Done?
Passing a bowel movement to a standing ovation. This has happened a few times when I’ve given speeches or presentations. I often receive standing ovations for them. I find it most unnerving to be in front of so many people admiring and applauding me that I don’t know whether to shit or wind my wristwatch. I usually opt for the latter, but every now and again…

LM: What Do You See Yourself Doing In Five Years?
I’ll answer that with a question, if I may, which will be ‘how long is the contract you are offering me?‘, and you should not respond by saying ‘three months, why?‘ because it will have been asked rhetorically.

LM: Are You Able To Work Alone?
I’m an independent contractor for fuck’s sake.

TL: Are You Able To Work With A Team?
No. Not at all. That’s why I’ve spent the last twenty-five years working on forty-five leading-edge projects for twenty-seven Fortune 500 companies as a core, respected, and reliable member of teams. I’m hoping this will help improve my skills in this area.

HR: Do You Think You Have Any Mannerisms or Habits You Are Unware Of?
Interesting question, and I noticed the way you rather ostentatiously placed your hand on your chin while you were asking it, indicating you feel it’s a difficult question to ask. But I’m glad you’ve asked because prior to the interview I had been forewarned of your interest in and reliance upon the debunked methods of NLP and the other psuedosciences that appeal to your hit-or-miss department of the firm. So as part of my preparation I decided I would effect the mannerism of holding my chin while speaking, solely for your benefit. If you would care to examine the notebook I bought with me, on the second page, third bullet-point under “HR” you will find I have written a priori, “see if the HR lady realises the beard-stroking contemplation posture is just for her“. I’m glad to see you’ve picked up on it. Now, having established that you are going to be making the hiring decision based upon methodologies for which there is no empirical or even theoretical evidence to suggest they are any better than tossing a coin I suggest we save everybody’s time and money and do just that. Heads I got the job, tails we end the interview. It’s come up heads. When do I start?

HR: We’re not really looking for an IT person, how do you see yourself fitting in?
If you’re not really looking for an IT person what the fuck did you invite me here for? To pass the time? Don’t you think we IT people, as you so graciously categorise us, haven’t got more important things to do than indulge you in wasting your employer’s time and money? Did you cunts even read my CV?

LM: We’ve No More Questions. Do You Have Any?
Since we’ve only been here for 15 mins and you’ve run out of questions to ask me already because you’ve either decided not to offer me the job and have neither the courage nor the decency to tell me to my face, or you have come so breathtakingly ill-prepared for this meeting that you will be unable to coherently answer any but the simplest of questions such as what is your name and do you need to go to the toilet, no.

–Bastard Jobseeker From Hell

See Also
Senior Engineer Interview Skills
The Bastard Jobseeker From Hell is Jack’s Complete Lack of Surprise
The Art of Skype
Interviewed by the Titty-Woman
HR Interview ends in a bollocking – for HR