We’ve all been there, sat in a job interview, heart pounding, palms sweaty awaiting the impending doom of the first question.
And then it arrives…
“How was your journey here today?”
Your chest tightens, you feel like you’re at Guantanamo Bay. What do they mean? Are they assessing your ability to navigate? Are they probing you for your capability of making small talk? Is the prostate exam next?
There is the distinct possibility that they may actually be asking you if your journey was eventful or otherwise. But we’ll gloss over that fact and translate some potentially cryptic interview questions from “interview speak” into English for humans.
When they say: “So, tell me about yourself.”
They mean: “Please take this early opportunity to destroy your chances of working here. Here’s a noose.”
When they say: “You seem to have a gap in your employment history, could you tell me about that?”
They mean: “What did you go to prison for?”
When they say: “What’s your greatest weakness?”
They mean: “I googled ‘interview questions’ 10 minutes ago when I remembered you were coming. I insist you humour me and my tortuous job title”
When they say: “Why do you want to work here?”
They mean: “Obviously the money’s great and you get a swivel chair, but I need you to put your head in my backside for a few minutes. Go ahead.”
When they say: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
They mean: “Despite that fact that I know the outcome of this interview will change your answer, and that you’re not thinking far beyond this Friday evening, please pull out your crystal ball and answer my question.
In an economy with so many people applying for so few positions, the pressure is really on in interviews as the chances are whatever experience you have, there’s somebody else who has been doing it longer and knew how to polish their shoes better than you.
Going into an interview with some coaching can put the odds in your favour as being prepared can make you feel confident and collected, two qualities that can make even the most unlikely candidates look appealing.