Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, October 4

Gapers Block

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Andrew / December 5, 2008 8:27 AM

Mary asks, "As more and more people are being laid off and looking for jobs, I'm wondering what interview questions people have had to answer that were particularly interesting, tough to answer, or just ridiculous."

Val / December 5, 2008 10:29 AM

The sad part is that in the two jobs I have had, the actual interview involved them talking a lot and not asking me questions. I just injected stuff into the constant talking.

sal / December 5, 2008 10:35 AM

How much room do you have on your personal credit card? Can you carry company travel expenses for months at a time until you're reimbursed? Oh wait, that all happened after the interview. And it was assumed that I would.

jaime / December 5, 2008 11:36 AM

i got grilled because of a gaper's block article from 2004. THANKS GUYS.

charlie / December 5, 2008 11:56 AM


eee / December 5, 2008 2:48 PM

At my last interview, they asked me how I deal with problem coworkers. It's a pretty standard question, but my Ultimate Work Nemesis from a previous job had also worked for the company at which I was interviewing. Needless to say, I had to word my response very carefully. It was only after they offered me the job that they informed me that they knew EXACTLY whom I was speaking of, and they hated him as well. Boo-ya!

I've also been asked what I like to do for fun, and when I say that I watch bad movies with friends all MST3K-style, it inevitably leads to a side conversation about the worst movies ever seen. So that's an entertaining way to kill time at a job interview.

Mo / December 5, 2008 6:07 PM

"If you spent a huge amount of time working on a project, you know you did a great job on it, and you were very proud of it, and your boss ripped it to shreds and told you to do it over again, even though you know it was done correctly the first time, how would you respond?" Unfortunately, I had to take that job out of desperation, but that was a spot-on question. That boss was a monster.

Leelah / December 6, 2008 11:06 AM

The hardest one I ever had was "How do you know you're a good listener?"

Pedro / December 6, 2008 11:28 AM

I always hated the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question.

Totally pointless.

lv / December 6, 2008 1:07 PM

"Are you married? No? Okay, don't worry, we'll find you a husband."

lv / December 6, 2008 1:10 PM

Leelah, how did you answer that?

Leelah / December 6, 2008 9:19 PM

I stammered over it a little bit, repeated it a few times. Eventually, I made my way around to discussing how my students come to me with their problems, and they come back and talk to me time and again.
It was the right answer.

In the WORST interview I ever had, the seven people interviewing me asked what I could bring to their department. I said, "I don't know your department, so I have no idea what I could bring to it." I did not get that job.

Mo / December 6, 2008 11:07 PM

lv's comment reminded me of another interview question. I had one guy ask me, "So why did you move to Chicago? Just tagging along with your husband because he got transferred?" I wasn't married. The woman in the office said, "Uh, that's actually illegal to ask." And the man said all pissy, "What? I don't CARE if she's married." I didn't get that job.

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