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Was this an odd interview question?

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Old 02-04-10, 04:36 PM
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Was this an odd interview question?

"Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success in life is showing up, do you agree?"

This is a question I was asked in an interview today. I've never been asked this before during an interview, and needless to say it struck me as odd. Would this be considered an unusual question?
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Old 02-04-10, 04:40 PM
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For the record, my answer to the question was something like this:

If Woody Allen is talking about success in career, he's probably incorrect. Certainly showing up is mandatory, but certainly performance -- the stuff you do after showing up -- leads to greater success in a career.
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Old 02-04-10, 04:50 PM
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If the job can be done via telecommute, then showing up doesn't even factor into the equation.
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Old 02-04-10, 04:57 PM
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What if you are interviewing for a job as the invisible man? Seems like showing up would be a detriment.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 02-04-10, 04:58 PM
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THis was an interview with the EPA. It should be known that the interview was via telephone.
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Old 02-04-10, 04:58 PM
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Nah...lots of interviewers like to throw in a question that they think will reveal some deep insight into a person's character. They're usually pretty off-the-wall, and few of them do any more, in my opinion, than tell the interviewer how clever you are at making up pretty-sounding statements on the fly. No one is going to say, "Sure I think he's right. I plan to show up all the time and work 20% of the time I'm there."

Your answer sounds good. You showed you're not a shirker and you understand the job is about accomplishing something other than keeping a chair warm.

I'd personally try something along the lines of:

Woody Allen is a humorist. Statements like that are fun, especially when we meet people who seem to live by such a philosophy, but ultimately pithy. Showing up is easy, but it doesn't make a person successful, nor their employer. I noticed in the job description that "showing up" wasn't one of the listed duties, nor was "good attendance" a required skill. My success will, I hope, be based on how well I apply skills X, Y, Z to fulfill duties 1, 2, 3. I don't think I'd find working for a company where my success if based 80% on being able to get out of bed in the morning very satisfying...and it would probably make getting out of bed in the morning very uninspiring.
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Old 02-04-10, 04:59 PM
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Seems the least they could have done was video chat via skype if they wanted you to show up.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 02-04-10, 05:14 PM
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I guess I can see how it can be a tool to gain some insight about the interviewee. They also asked the question I thought was extinct: what is your greatest weakness? I told them I sometimes get so into a stressful project that my desk gets cluttered

The lady goes "You're telling me this?" TO which I responded, "You'd rather I lie?"

In retrospect, I think I blew it
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Old 02-04-10, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I guess I can see how it can be a tool to gain some insight about the interviewee. They also asked the question I thought was extinct: what is your greatest weakness? I told them I sometimes get so into a stressful project that my desk gets cluttered

The lady goes "You're telling me this?" TO which I responded, "You'd rather I lie?"

In retrospect, I think I blew it
the first question seems harmless. as a poster above said, just to see how you think on the spot & how you improvise when thrown a curveball. med schools and consultant jobs are known for wacky questions like this

the second seems, to some point, rude. if you get the job, in the back of your mind, you begin worrying about effing up & exposing your weakness. the way that people normally parry question like this is to talk about an experience from which they learned something, or something upon which they'd like to improve. no cutesy my weakness is that i'm hard on myself, nor things that you actually think are your weakest points. the interviewer is not a shrink, and there's no reason to reveal anything personal/compromising when you don't need to. really don't think you lost out on much. i'd hate to work for someone picky like that
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Old 02-04-10, 06:01 PM
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Whenever someone asks my greatest weakness I reply "kryptonite," or "chocolate." If I'm feeling really quirky, I respond "chocolate coated kryptonite."
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
Whenever someone asks my greatest weakness I reply "kryptonite," or "chocolate." If I'm feeling really quirky, I respond "chocolate coated kryptonite."
I hate it when Lex pulls that trick. Last time I chipped a tooth.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I guess I can see how it can be a tool to gain some insight about the interviewee. They also asked the question I thought was extinct: what is your greatest weakness? I told them I sometimes get so into a stressful project that my desk gets cluttered

The lady goes "You're telling me this?" TO which I responded, "You'd rather I lie?"

In retrospect, I think I blew it
You should have looked her in the eye and said, "Blondes," or whatever color her hair was. Even if you didn't get the job, she might have gotten up and made sure the door was locked.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gitarzan View Post
You should have looked her in the eye and said, "Blondes," or whatever color her hair was. Even if you didn't get the job, she might have gotten up and made sure the door was locked.
And we have the winner!
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.
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Old 02-04-10, 06:35 PM
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It was a phone interview.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 06:39 PM
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no question is odd in an interview. It's not what you answer but how you answer that matters.
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Old 02-04-10, 07:12 PM
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Old 02-04-10, 07:23 PM
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Not an unusual question at all - interviewer wanted to see how you would react to the expectation of needing to be at work on time and when needed. My response would have been: "80%? If you want to do your job right, you need to show up 100% of the time! "

I interview people for a living... know all the tricks myself!
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Old 02-04-10, 07:27 PM
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Also if someone ask "what is your greatest weakest" they are not a skilled interviewer. Of course one can lie and say "Taking my job too seriously and putting in alot of time, making sure things are done right..." All bull-s--t.

A better question would have been "Tell me of a time when one of your projects went array and management got angry. How did you handle that?" The problem tells me one time, how the prospect handled the problem another.
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Old 02-04-10, 08:03 PM
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Hmm. Project gone awry....

Management never had a chance to get angry; I did it for them, and rather assertively solved the problem. They may not have approved of the solution, but they applauded my application of effort.
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Old 02-04-10, 08:46 PM
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They asked one other peculiar question: Suppose you came into work one day and your boss told you something needed to be done right away, like by noon, how do you proceed?

What do they expect me to say? That I'll procrastinate till the last possible moment or not do it at all? I told them that assuming I was settled into the job, I'd check my emails looking for anything more pressing and get to it right away.
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Old 02-04-10, 09:32 PM
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I've heard that first question elaborated upon.

Showing up, on time, with a good attitude. That's what gets people employed, and keeps them employed.
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Old 02-04-10, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
They asked one other peculiar question: Suppose you came into work one day and your boss told you something needed to be done right away, like by noon, how do you proceed?

What do they expect me to say?
"First, I would form a committee".
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Old 02-04-10, 11:26 PM
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I was once asked, " You are sitting at your desk and closed your eyes. When you opened them again, you were in a jungle and had no supplies. What would you do"?

My answer " That would be a supplies. But to answer the question, I suppose I would close my eyes and hope for a better outcome".

The interviewer had a good laugh and I got the job. I asked her what response she was looking for and she said "I just look to avoid people that go off on "find water, find shelter etc".
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Old 02-05-10, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
They asked one other peculiar question: Suppose you came into work one day and your boss told you something needed to be done right away, like by noon, how do you proceed?
"I would get to work immediately... on resetting the time on every clock in the office. I would expect adjusting the time on the boss's wristwatch to be the most challenging."

Originally Posted by jdon View Post
I was once asked, " You are sitting at your desk and closed your eyes. When you opened them again, you were in a jungle and had no supplies. What would you do"?
"I would ask the pizza shop where they had gotten the mushrooms on that pizza I had last night, and if they had any more."
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Old 02-05-10, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by gitarzan View Post
You should have looked her in the eye and said, "Blondes," or whatever color her hair was. Even if you didn't get the job, she might have gotten up and made sure the door was locked.
I did this on an interview once then got the job. It was weird. I'm married and she kept hitting on me. At one point she hugged me then dry humped the hell out of my leg. Things you never tell the wife.
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