By Wilma Bedford
At an interview you would expect to be questioned about your experience and one of the easier ones for which you will be prepared, is why you want this job and why you think the firm should appoint you? You may be requested to tell more about yourself, to say what your passion is and to give a reason for wanting to change jobs. Such questions give you an opportunity to introduce yourself and to make clear what your expectations for the future are.
But what do you say after recovering from the shock and astonishment when the interviewer asks you: if you were a fruit pizza, what would your top layer be? This may sound like a silly question, but your reply will reveal a lot about yourself and will be interpreted much deeper. Are you the strawberry that everybody likes, or the pineapple that brings freshness?
The purpose of these questions is to catch you off balance to see how you handle yourself in unexpected situations, and to find out about your real life and your personality. Your soft human skills or diversity are tested, and even how you handle disputes.
Then there is the uncomfortable question that tests your adaptability. Another unusual question would be to say what bothered and irritated you in your previous job, and the follow-up question will be how you handled it.
You could mention things such as noise in the office, dirty cups in the tearoom, colleagues with feeble excuses for negligence or coming late or poor communication, but once more you are evaluated regarding your ability to adapt to the company culture and where in the company to place you where you would do well. Be prepared for what the company culture could be like. If it is a company where people dress informally, it would be held against you if you were to say that you are irritated by employees who come to work in jeans and tackies or gym gear, and, unless you are adaptable, it would perhaps be in your own interests not to work for this firm.
Explain why certain things irritate you, but focus on your own experience. Explain that you are irritated when a colleague who comes late affects your productivity and compels you to work longer hours. Say how you handled the problem. Change a negative to a positive, for instance that it bothered you when your previous head repeatedly enquired about your work and how it was getting along. I had a weekly meeting with my departmental head at which I discussed my progress.
Be calm and collected when you talk about these irritations because it shows that you can handle high-stress situations.
Keep it short and sweet and do not be tempted to say bad things about previous employers or colleagues. Focus on one irritation and answer tricky questions honestly to bring out your true personality. It will help the employer to place you in the right position or not to employ you in a firm where you will not fit in.
6 Tips for Answering ‘What Are Your Pet Peeves?” in an Interview.
Bense, Kiley. The Muse. http://www.themuse.com