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“Why SHOULDN’T I Hire You?” Trick Question, or Opportunity to Reflect and Impress?

November 18th, 2011

Every now and then, especially when dealing with novice hiring managers, you may find yourself fielding odd, intentionally quirky, or even insulting interview questions. Hiring managers sometimes present these questions because

1. It makes them seem innovative or offbeat, and presumably sets them apart from other employers

2. They genuinely want to ask candidates something off-putting to see how well the candidates think on their feet

3. They simply want candidates to grovel for the job, since the willingness to do this may suggest higher levels of dedication down the road.

Ideally, an interview should be a civilized conversation designed to assess your skill sets and readiness for a specific position. As they help employers get to know you on a personal level, questions should stay straightforward and should focus on your qualifications. But like life, interviews aren’t always perfectly predictable, and interviewers aren’t always perfectly professional.

If you’re presented with something that seems like a trick question designed to test you, pause and reflect before answering. Ask yourself how badly you want this particular job.

If you’re desperate for the job and are willing to put up with a bit of nonsense, give the interviewers what they want. Answer in a thoughtful way that highlights your humility, your grace and your wits. You can also answer by politely taking control of the conversation and steering the interview back on track. For example, if your interviewer asks for a list of reasons not to hire you, you can simply use the question as another opportunity to list your qualifications, gently but firmly bringing the interview back where it needs to be. Politicians do this all the time. But remember: If you get this job, you’ll be working with these people all day, every day. Make sure you’ll be comfortable within this company culture.

If you aren’t desperate for this particular job (and you shouldn’t be), then you have every right to politely decline the question. No job is as costly as your dignity. Your skills and qualifications were hard- earned, and as a candidate and a person, you are worthy of respect. Stay confident, patient, and self-possessed, and the right job will come your way in time. For more interview opportunities contact your local employment staffing services at Merritt Staffing for help.

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