As most of you may know, I currently have the privilege of spending the majority of my days working deep underground in a place called the Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections. I have held this job for exactly 2 years this month, and while it hasn't always been the most cerebrally stimulating job in the world, it has defnitely had its' perks. One being the annual Christmas party we have every year where at least one person gets up during the talent segment and embarrasses themselves, thus heavily taxing the social sympathies of every person in attendance. Another is our weekly work meetings where we generally spend 45 minutes every thursday talking about the exact same problems we discussed the previous week while we gorge ourselves on delicious treats...today it was cupcakes. Then there's the period each semester during finals where I get to tell at least a dozen people a day that they cannot in fact study in the Special Collections reading room because the things being viewed in there are generally worth more than their puny little lives.
But of all the great things about my job, my favorite just might be the chance I get to help interview prospective employees. As a department we get to meticulously scrutinize each resume, which often results in nasty comments written in the margins. I know, it's not really very nice, but if they never see them than what can it hurt? After this tedious process, generally there are 5-10 applicants chosen from the stack who everyone collectively deems worth an interview. Once the interviews are scheduled, I get to sit down and think up questions to ask them that will help narrow the pool of qualified applicants. Call me sadistic, but I thoroughly enjoy dreaming up questions that will make people squirm. It's even more fun when I get to the interview and watch the process of agony. This generally seperates said applicants into two groups: the verbally competent and the socially awkward. While this round of interviews was a slight disappointment in that we did not merit any extreme cases, I can't help but reflect back on some of my favorite responses. So for your reading pleasure, here the top 2...
Me: We are looking for people that are natural problem solvers. Could you give us an example of a time where you encountered a problem with either a customer and co-worker, and how you came to a solution?
Applicant: Well, in my last job there was a girl that I didn't like very much. So I just quit talking to her and avoided her. I did not like her at all.
Me: In our workplace we have a great need for people who are detail-oriented and organized. Could you give us an example of something you keep well-organized?
Applicant: Well, in high school my older brother didn't allow me to borrow his movies, so when he was out I would sneak into his room and take them, but not without first checking to see precisely how it was placed on his shelf. After I used them, I would carefully put it back in the same way I found it. (The kicker is that we actually hired this kid. Yeah...)