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Midnight in a Perfect World

31 Oct ’08

This is from 2 years ago. This year, not so much. Maybe next year we’ll be in a better position, and better mood to go all out with the costumes and such. This year, just having some quiet friends over + drinks + scary movies (do those still exist?).

I went to my first mandatory ‘unemployment’ training class last Tuesday – it was on interviewing skills. It seemed like most of the people in my class had read this blog since the class of roughly 40 people all kept relatively quiet and we were out of there in an hour flat. I go to the Toco Hills location and they actually run a pretty efficient operation it seems. Still. So this was the Interviewing Skills class. The instructor was more of a ‘motivational speaker’ or ‘corporate trainer’ – and he did a fine job – except you could tell that he hadn’t searched for a job in quite some time. 

He spoke with all of the passion of a Tony Robbins, with varied inflection and colorful vocabulary – but I know the exact point when I decided that he was out of touch with the current interview experience. 

One of the trick questions that they often ask now is that, “What is your greatest weakness?” – Now, before we go into right and wrong ways to answer, let me tell you what the instructor’s answer was:

“I am a passionate perfectionists.” 

Right. Granted, he delivered it with lots of verbage backing up the statement – all with the intention of ‘turning a negative into a positive’ and logically it works, except that it’s not a real answer and the problem I have with it is that it’s just garbage. 

WTF type of answer is that? If I was the person conducting the interview I’d probably burst out laughing – and I almost did during the class. Seriously? Yes. He said that his greatest weakness was that he was a passionate perfectionist. So he proceeded to mention how that ‘IS’ a negative, but then went on to highlight how it’s a good thing. Whatever. F’in lame answer is what it is. 

That’s like saying ‘I’m too awesome’. So from there I zoned out and starting thinking about fried chicken because that was more useful.

Oh. He also seemed to really like to dwell on that interview question, ‘If you could be any type of animal, what would you be?’ – to which he said a Cheetah – because it’s fast and nimble and whatever other adjective he could give that would also relate to business (fast, nimble, creative, agile) – which again, I don’t know what people he keeps interviewing with that would take to his over the top BS answers – even with his much too earnest delivery.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a degree of talking that goes on during interviews – and much of it IS BS – but when everything that comes out of your mouth is hyperbole – it’s not hard to see through everything you’re saying. 

I suppose the real problem I had with the class is that he didn’t give these people real strategies for answering any of the example interview questions. Like what? – For example, that greatest weakness question. You obviously don’t say something REALLY damaging – but instead what you do is choose something neutral and something that isn’t a fundamental skill of the job you’re going for. Then no matter what you say is your greatest weakness, you make sure that you also give examples of things that you do to overcome that weakness. See? 

Not once during the class was any sort of basic question answering strategy given – while many of the people there did need some level of motivational lifting – they also probably could have used some nuts and bolts interviewing strategy and technique. Not just overhyped examples that would get most of them laughed at once the interview finished.

Filing. For. Unemployment. In. Georgia. How. When. About. Much. Tips. Mandatory. Classes. 

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