Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm Gonna Hire You As My Latex Salesman?

I recently returned to my MBA school as a volunteer helping conduct mock interviews. The interview process at the MBA level is fairly grueling. As such, programs hope to give their graduates every advantage which primarily comes from experience. Unlike most college graduates striking out with a bachelor's degree, MBA students generally have some professional experience and in some cases quite a bit. They are hard driven people who take the process seriously.

I was happy to accommodate. But unlike the position they found themselves, highly stressed, I was totally relaxed. They had just finished a final exam that day and were now facing a potential future employer who will both grade their performance and report back to the career services staff as to how capable I feel they are as a candidate which may affect the opportunities put in front of them. I gave an honest effort to put them through the paces and provide constructive feedback. They did very well--much better than I ever did when I went through the program.

Knowing what the process was going to be, this was my fourth time to conduct mock interviews, I thought wouldn't it be fun to give the candidates absurd questions to see how they handled them. They desperately want to succeed in the interview, which means giving a convincing and meaningful answer in a confident manner. I challenged myself and some drinking buddies to come up with the most ridiculous questions we could short of the truly offensive (that would be too easy). Here is the output of our creative effort. (Note: I did not actually use any of these questions in the mock interviews, but I kind of wish I had.)

Mock Interview Questions for MBA Candidates:

Pretend you are a salesperson and convince me to purchase your soul.

Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you.*

What is the most offensive question I could ask you?

As we go through the rest of this interview I would like for you to answer each of the questions alternating between a Queen's Standard English accent and a Cockney British accent.

Solve this puzzle: There are three strands of string of varying lengths each of a different color (red, blue, and yellow) in a sealed box. You can pull only two of the strands out to compare those two for length. There is a wise man who knows the lengths of all three, but you can only ask him two questions. The questions can only be answered yes or no and he lies every fourth time he is asked a question. You are in a long line of people asking him questions about many topics and you cannot hear the other questions but you can hear the answers. You have the option to make one cut of the strand you do not pull from the box to measure making it two pieces. Describe how you can definitely determine that the red strand is longest. You have 30 seconds. Go!

Would you rather be stranded on an island where after a couple months you eventually die or wrongfully imprisoned in a maximum security facility in a foreign country where you don't speak the language and you eventually die after 20 years?

Thinking about employee morale, which is definitively more appropriate: enjoyment or pleasure?

What are three reasons Mickey Mouse would be your ideal supervisor?

Could you fire your own mother if I promised you a small bonus to do it.

Fart for me just once.

If you were to put $1 into a vending machine to purchase a $.50 item and both the item and the change dropped down to separate bins at the same time, which would you pick up first and why? I expect a thorough answer.

How big a bubble can you blow?

Describe your first haircut.

Pantomime your favorite textbook.

Give me you most fake, fake laugh.

If you were an NFL player, what are three reasons you would resent and two reasons you would not resent Major League Baseball mascots.

What is your favorite shape and why isn't your favorite shape a triangle?

Describe your ideal workday that ends with you being fired.

Give me directions to a place you've never been and don't otherwise know where it is located.

Imagine you had a twin. Now convince me I should not hire your twin.

Name seven competitive advantages of toothpicks as compared to toothfaires.

If you were to add an eighth deadly sin, what would it be?

Give my shoes a backhanded compliment.

Why didn't you bring me a gift today?

*From Darth Plagueis 

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