Impossible job interview questions

Photo from ABC News

The following is not word for word, it’s just how I remember a piece of my interview happening this morning. I don’t think that I have, ever in my life, experienced job interview questions so difficult as I had this morning.

Interviewer: So Vee (my full name was used), I’m going to give you hypothetical scenario and I want you to tell me what you would do in this scenario.

Me: Sounds great, I am ready.

Interviewer: You’ve been involved in a car accident. While you were extremely lucky and walked away from the crash unscathed, there is both a family member in your vehicle and a young child in the other vehicle that are in desperate need of medical attention, and your immediate help prior to paramedics being able to get there. Who do you help first? Please explain the reasoning for your answer.

Long pause for me to think about it.

Me: Is there an adult in the other vehicle to help the young child?

Interviewer: The adult in the other vehicle is safe, stable, but pinned in the drivers seat and will need help from firefighters to be removed from the car.

Me: How severe are each of their injuries?

Interviewer: You don’t know. All you know is that they both need help and there’s two of them and one of you.

Me: I’d help the child. I’d run to the child. As much as I love my family, I’d help the child until the paramedics arrive. If I don’t know how injured either of them are, and just know that they need help, I’d operate under the thought that my family member, being a grown adult, can hold on longer and deal with the pain and stress longer than that of a small child. Id think that a grown adult has a stronger heart and organs that can handle more stress and that if they’re conscious or not, they can deal with it better than that of a small child.

Interviewer: That’s a great answer. Thank you for providing your reasoning. Now tell me, would that answer change if your family member was also a young child?

Me: Wow, you’re hitting me with the hard questions today.

Interviewer laughs.

Interviewer: I get that a lot. I find that, even under a hypothetical scenario, people can still feel somewhat stressed about the answer to questions like these, so I get to test a candidate’s critical thinking ability, understand the the train of thought based on their reasoning and test how they handle stress.

Me: If my family member was also a small child and I was unable to tell which child’s injuries were worse, I’d help him/her first.

I was not interviewing to be a paramedic, a first responder, or anything related to the medical industry whatsoever. Actually, I was interviewing for a Marketing position. A position that would have me sitting in a desk, in an office, in a sky-rise in the middle of the city.

I was shocked at the extent of the questions that I was asked. It was both refreshing and scary to be asked questions so far out of the norm. Throughout this year I’ve done interview after interview in which they all ask the same questions again… almost as if they’ve googled job interview questions and they’re all reading from the first page that popped up on google. I liked the fact that she was asking different questions, but I was also worrisome that I was answering incorrectly.

I hope that she liked my answers. I hope that she understood them. As I’m not a paramedic, I’m really not sure how you’re supposed to answer questions like these. Is there a right answer? Because to me, it doesn’t seem like any answer is the right answer. If you’re not qualified to know who’s injuries are worse and who’s injuries need attention first, you just do what you do and you do all that you can do.

I think the interview this morning went really well. I’m hopeful. I don’t like talking about when I get my hopes up because, if 2019 has proven anything, it’s that when I get my hopes up, they get knocked down twice as hard. That being said, I’ll say it anyway. I’m hopeful.

Applying for jobs is a frustrating process.

I miss the days when you could walk into a place of employment and ask for an application. The wonderful soul working there would hand you a piece of paper and you could fill it out. That’s it, that’s all. And then, your ability to get an interview was measured based off what was listed on your application.

Those were the good ole days.

Yesterday I spent one hour and fourteen minutes submitting an application for ONE PLACE. ONE PLACE. They had my resume and cover letter submitted through LinkedIn. Once that was submitted I was sent an email exclaiming that I needed to “apply” and that those who applied had a 60% higher chance of getting an interview.

I thought that I had applied – silly me.

Nevertheless, I bit the bullet, clicked the link and started to ‘apply’. What followed was more than thirty minutes of every question that could, and should, actually be asked during a job interview. What would you bring to our team culture? If we have a staff game night, what game are you bringing? What is your biggest weakeness? And on, and on, and on.

This got me thinking… if you’re asking these questions to candidates during the application process, what do you actually ask during a job interview? Or do you even host an interview? Maybe you just make candidates jump through so many hoops that whoever is left standing at the end, you think ‘yeah, they put up with all that shit, we better hire them’.

Following the thirty minutes of job interview questions that I had to fill out, I thought ‘I’m done. Thank goodness’. I went on to researching more positions I’m qualified for and just a few short minutes later heard my phone beep with the email noise.

It was this company, again.

‘Please complete the pre-interview cognitive assessment test’, the email read. ‘Candidates who complete this test prove they’re intelligence and ability to work and therefore have advantages over candidates who don’t complete this assessment.’

Well, shit. I don’t want to have gotten this far into it and not completed the application now. So, I caved… clicked the link and started the test.

What I got was thirty minutes of infuriating math and pattern questions that have nothing to do with marketing, communications or public relations. My ability to determine what symbol comes next after a row of 20 symbols, that’s going to make me a better public relations specialist? My ability to remember the ‘FOIL’ technique to do timed math equations, that is going to make me a better marketer?

I don’t understand this company. I don’t. An ability to answer math questions or complete pattern recognition does not measure my culpability in an office environment. It does not tell you if I can write press releases, it does not explain whether or not I can handle stress. It tells you that I paid attention in math class when I was in school.

Job hunting is infuriating. When did it get this why? Why did it get this way? What is the point of even having a resume and cover letter anymore if all that really matters is how well you can jump through these hoops for a potential employer? What is my actual education and experience worth right now if pattern recognition is what makes me a beneficial employee to an organization?

I’m ranting. I know that. I know that I just need to suck it up and deal with it. I swear though, I swear right now that if I ever become a hiring manager or have a role that involves being a part of the hiring process in an organization EVER, I will make it simple. It will be basic. We will measure candidates for their qualifications and their education and we will be efficient. I’m not going to waste the time of job hunters. That pisses me off. I will do it better.

Okay, I better go back to my job hunting now. Crossing my fingers that it’s a little less infuriating today.

Side note – is instagram down right now? I can’t get on mine at all today. Or perhaps, maybe my account got blacklisted? I don’t know.

Okay, bye.