For the last three and a half months, I have been seriously job hunting. Actually, ever since graduating college, I have been looking for a good position to get settled into. With a background in creative writing and no strong career callings, deciding on a life trajectory has not been easy. Our little town of Ortonville did not offer many opportunities, but once I arrived in Dallas, I was sure the perfect job would present itself. As I applied for my 55th job, I was getting a bit discouraged. Suddenly, the 14th job I applied for three months previously came through, and I began my new job last week. While I was waiting for it, I had some other memorable job interviews in the meantime. Here are some of the questions I was asked and how I responded. Perhaps they will help you in your next interview.
1. Shepler’s Interview: What do you know about western wear?
The question took me by surprise. I was sitting across from a lady in cowboy boots and plaid, and she was interviewing me for a a copy writing position with this western fashion store. I had researched the brands sold and the history of the business, but I wasn’t prepared for this open-ended question. Truth-be-told, I knew nothing about western wear. I had lived in Michigan the last ten years, for heaven’s sake! With a swallow and a stammer, I said something like, “My Aunt Connie has horses, and she has Levi jeans and stuff.” The words slipped out before I could completely develop them. It was a total guess. For the next three days, I was guilt-ridden. I had no idea if my adopted aunt had Levis, but I figured everyone had owned a pair at one point or another. When my thoughts were confirmed, I was greatly relieved. Needless to say, I was not offered that job.
2. The Dallas Standard: If you had a week and unlimited funds to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?
As a final interview question, this one was a fun to answer. While I wasn’t sure about my interviewer’s personality, I answered truthfully: the Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand is what I’d do. The answer elicited a smile so I suppose it was well-said.
3. Numerous Interviews: When did you experience conflict in the work place and how did you deal with it?
While it might sound unbelievable, I don’t usually experience conflict in the workplace. Perhaps it’s because I try to take a learner perspective in my positions or because I’ve never been in one job long enough to take sides in an epic coworker battle. I’d love to tell a story of an obnoxious college student who refused my writing tutor advice and we had to arm wrestle to win the debate, but that has never happened. My response to this question is usually some vague answer about getting contradictory directions from coworkers.
4. Neiman Marcus Interview: If you were an animal, what would you be?
As the girl in the orange rimmed glasses asked me the question, I stared back at the three people facing me. This was the first time I had been asked this, and the three sets of eyes were staring at me in expectation. I tried to come up with some witty response, but nothing came. Suddenly, I remembered the animal I always told my family I wanted to be. “I’d be a duck,” I stated. “I’d be able to fly and be in the water, and they are just so much fun to watch.” My response was met by three deadpan expressions. The silence stretched, and I began to feel very stupid. Finally, one of the other women spoke up. “Yes, a duck would have a good life–especially if it lived on a golf course.” She paused for a moment. “I think I’d be a turtle.” The conversation went on from there. I realized how much fun a room full of writers could have as they discussed random questions.
As my job search has drawn to a close, I am pleased to leave the endless applications, repetitive questions, and interview prep behind me. In the meantime, perhaps you can form a response to the above questions so you won’t be in the same situation I was.