If you go online and look up interview questions – you’re bound to get hundreds of articles and suggestions on how to answer your interview perfectly, as well as real life people saying what “odd ball” questions you should prepare for when you’re interviewing at a specific company.
Some of these are totally helpful, especially if you’re looking at a specific company that is known for always asking the same question at all interviews.
None of these could’ve prepared me for this set of interview questions. Hell, I still don’t know the answer.
I was interviewing for my first internship position. I had only interviewed for retail positions before, since it was only my sophomore year of college. I was so ready to get out there and start experiencing business instead of learning about it! Then they started grilling me with questions.
It was one of those interviews where one person would ask a question – and they would proceed to write down every word I said. Talk about nerve-wracking for your first serious interview!
There were SO many questions I flubbed in this interview that I’d love to spend time finding quality answers to – but for now, I’ll tell you about the most awkward one.
The HR Manager said something along the lines of “So our founder created this trio of questions – and believes they can truly tell us if a candidate will fit into our company”
Ok. Ready to blow your mind with my skills, Mrs. Recruiter.
What do you sing about? What do you cry about? What do you read about?
I had a complete deer in headlights moment. I didn’t know where to start – I had no idea where my answer was supposed to land. I couldn’t even think of the songs I had listened to on the drive to the interview. What bands do I even like that are appropriate to talk about to an employer? How do I make an instance where I cried seem like it was a strength?
I still don’t have the answers to these – so if you’re looking for the best answer ever to these, you’ll be sorely disappointed by the rest of this article. But hey, I do have the Perfect Interview Guide available now if that’d suit you better 😉
What Do You Sing About?
So, I LOVE music. I love to sing, I love listening to music at pretty much all times. But the kind of music is not the *office party* brand. For example, the only time I was asked to make a playlist for work – it consisted of 1990’s- early 2000’s punk rock music. I could NOT tell them that I constantly sing along loudly to Blink 182 and the Beatles and Panic! At the Disco…. So I didn’t.
I ended up saying that I liked to listen to songs about accomplishments and independence – I’m not a listen to sad songs and cry about your ex type of gal. There was a specific song I was thinking of when I answered – and the music video is insanely weird. Here it is. Therefore, I couldn’t start naming songs or bands I like. Click play to see what I mean.
What Do You Cry About?
This was the worst one for me – I’m not a cryer. I like to think things through rationally, and it’s impossible to do that if you’re weeping. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic; true power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you; breathe and allow things to pass” Unfortunately, I found this message long after this interview.
What was I supposed to say to this one? I figured honesty was the best policy, so I simply stated that it takes quite a force to upset me enough to cry, but what truly upsets me is when I’m disrespected or not taken seriously.
What Do You Read About?
This was also very tough to answer – I literally said “I only have time to read my textbooks for school.” They got a pretty good laugh out, but then repeated the question: “No, really, what do you like to read about?” I couldn’t even remember the last time I had an opportunity to sit down and finish a book, so I said I liked to read productivity and self-development books. More scribbles went onto their papers. I was just so happy to be through this uncomfortable moment.
I was devastated.
I knew after this that they’d already decided I wasn’t a good fit, but they finished the interview with me to be courteous. As I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about these questions: Why couldn’t I express myself to them? Why do they choose to continuously ask them? What do others say, and how does it indicate they’ll fit into the culture?
To no surprise – I did not receive this internship. I felt crushed – what if I couldn’t get any internships because my music taste is strange, and I couldn’t answer the question correctly?
I did find another internship for that summer, and that interview went much better. I was able to sit and have a conversation with the VP and HR Manager, and it felt very natural and comfortable. This taught me a very valuable lesson about the recruiting process; Although it feels like you’re the one being judged throughout the interviews, you should be evaluating them just as much, if not more. Sure, they think you’re qualified and want to give you an offer – but did the interview make you uncomfortable? Do you see yourself fitting in? If not, why not look for better?
I’m sure many of you have had this experience of being crushed by interviews, but it does get better. This devastating interview was two years ago now, and since then I’ve had five other internships. I’ve even turned one down, because I knew I would be unhappy there, and it didn’t fit my interests.