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Thread: Interview questions (was: Odd interview questions: what are they really asking)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Interview questions (was: Odd interview questions: what are they really asking)

    Just back from an interview and was asked this question:

    Describe how you would design and manufacture an iron for ironing wrinkles out of all types of fabric.

    I had been warned about this type of question at school and am wondering how you answer them and what they are looking for.

    My answer focussed on following points

    balance of tool
    qulaity materials
    ease of use
    fair price
    quality materials
    treating employees who make iron fairly
    ability to recycle the iron
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    donk

    how about this answer:

    "why would I spend time on this if a perfectly useful iron has already been invented?"

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    this is a good FAC-like thread, poor donk, I can't believe someone would ask that (it is hard to conduct an interview such that you can get an understanding of the person, but this is a little over the top)

    as in:

    wth/wtf does industrial design processes have to do with this job? hello? do I really want to work here?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    what a horrible question! i probably would've just sat there and stared. and then tried not to say, "WTF kind of question is that?"
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    "Describe how you would design and manufacture an iron for ironing wrinkles out of all types of fabric."

    Well, I probably would have been kinda peeved at such a novelty question. There is no right or wrong answer to these types of questions. What they were trying to gain is a little insight on your decision making process and ability to think on your feet.

    How you responded tells them a bit about your own values. From what I see, you talked extensively about "efficiency" measures of the iron itself (balance of tool, quality materials, ease of use, fair price). Nothing wrong with that response at all.

    Another person might have focused on "effectiveness" measures of an iron such as: "gets wrinkles out in just one pass" or "works without electricity, water or spray starch", etc.

    I probably would have taken a more literal interpretation of the question such as: "First, I don't know a thing about designing irons. So, I would probably seek out professional engineers (most likely from India or China because that is where stuff gets designed these days on the cheap). At the same time, I would get professionals to help be determine what materials could be ironed. That might send me to a college that specializes in textiles. Then, I would...."

    Naaaaa, I would have said "why would I spend time on this if a perfectly useful iron has already been invented?"
    Last edited by mallen; 03 Jan 2007 at 3:45 PM.

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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Someone once told me they were asked what kind of wild animal would they be. I don't think I would be able to not laugh if someone asked me that.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    my BF just went through an interview and one of the questions they asked him was, "if you were a sport, what sport would you be?"

    ehhhh? he was quick on his feet and answered "golf, blah blah blah".
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I'm looking forward to the point in my career when I will run the interview.

    "What does 7 taste like?"

    "If blue was an auto part, which would it be?"

    "Describe which letter of alphabet most resembeles your personality."

    good times
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I'm looking forward to the point in my career when I will run the interview.

    "What does 7 taste like?"

    "If blue was an auto part, which would it be?"

    "Describe which letter of alphabet most resembeles your personality."

    good times
    7 tastes like rye as in rye and 7 up, a waste of both perfectly good rey and 7 up

    blue has to be an air filter

    as for the letter of the alphabet, I'm going to guess y as in "y the hell are you asking me these inane questions?" Figure that would give a pretty good indication of my personality.

    How did I do?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk View post
    7 tastes like rye as in rye and 7 up, a waste of both perfectly good rey and 7 up

    blue has to be an air filter

    as for the letter of the alphabet, I'm going to guess y as in "y the hell are you asking me these inane questions?" Figure that would give a pretty good indication of my personality.

    How did I do?
    Your hired! Welcome to the firm of Curmudgeon, Malcontent & Associates, Inc. We think you’ll fit right in.





    Never have I ever been asked such odd questions. I honestly don't know how I would respond to them with a straight face.

  11. #11
    Respond with: "I'm a professional planner - my code of ethics does not let me take on jobs I know nothing about."

    or.....

    Respond with: A chop to the adam's apple.


    What a stupid question. At least the other "silly" questions get to some aspect of your personality and how you think.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Other Random Questions

    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I'm looking forward to the point in my career when I will run the interview.

    "What does 7 taste like?"

    "If blue was an auto part, which would it be?"

    "Describe which letter of alphabet most resembeles your personality."

    good times
    I remember a dorm from my college where you had to submit a questionnaire to get in. One of the questions was "Why is a Mouse When it Spins?"

  13. #13
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Wow Donk, that is an awful question. I'd probably just ask "are these winkles a metaphor for problems, and I'm suppose to be the iron? or what?"

    When I interviewed for my previous job it was with the HR guy and the head of the planning department. The HR guy asked me to describe what I thought my typical day would be like at that job, starting at 8 am and working through the day. The PD woman yelled at him that that was an unfair question cause they hadn't even told me much about the job yet. He got snippy with her, looked me straight in the eye and said "come on, you can do this. Let's just start at 8 o'clock and tell me what you would be doing then." I couldn't believe it. I kind of him-hawed and said "well, I usually start each day with checking my email..." The PD woman started screaming "stop! you don't have to do this! This is a stupid question and we're moving on!" I was pretty surprised when they called me for a second interview, and as soon as I arrived for it the PD woman told me I didn't have to worry, cause the "jerk from HR" wasn't going to be in on it.

    For the job before that the boss said "let me just try something with you." then he stuck out his index finger and said "stick your index finger out like this." and then he touched his finger to his cheek and said "now touch your finger to your chin." I touched my finger to my chin, even though he was obviously touching his cheek. He said "very good, you're more of a listener and you don't rely on what you see." I thought that was pretty strange.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    At that point I might have just stuck my finger up my nose and stared intensly at the person who asked that question.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Not a serious response, AIB Monty Python -

    Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
    The rest of the line of questions are at http://imdb.com/title/tt0071853/quotes
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    "What does 7 taste like?"
    7 tastes like 2

    I was once asked what I'd do if all the work was done. I kept giving answers and he'd say "what if that was done, what then?" I finally gave up and said I'd go home. I didn't get the job, and I still don't know what answer he was looking for.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    "What does 7 taste like?"

    Wouldn't the question be ...... Seven 8 (ate) Nine?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The correct answer is to hire a design consultant to engineer it, outsource manufacturing to an inexpensive firm in China, and sell it through Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, you can explain that you will be carefully monitoring the situation while on a fishing trip to Florida.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Off topic, but I don't think it merits a new thread.

    [rant]
    When you are interviewing and get to that inevitable final question: "Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that we haven't covered that would assist in making a hiring decision?" the answer is not "No, I don't think so, we've covered everything."

    Tell me something, anything! Comment on the color of the walls in my office!
    [/rant]

    There, I feel better. Carry on.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    agree

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Off topic, but I don't think it merits a new thread.

    [rant]
    When you are interviewing and get to that inevitable final question: "Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that we haven't covered that would assist in making a hiring decision?" the answer is not "No, I don't think so, we've covered everything."

    Tell me something, anything! Comment on the color of the walls in my office!
    [/rant]

    There, I feel better. Carry on.
    hear-hear!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Off topic, but I don't think it merits a new thread.

    [rant]
    When you are interviewing and get to that inevitable final question: "Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that we haven't covered that would assist in making a hiring decision?" the answer is not "No, I don't think so, we've covered everything."

    Tell me something, anything! Comment on the color of the walls in my office!
    [/rant]

    There, I feel better. Carry on.
    Would you prefer if the interviewee said something obvious like 'I'd really like to work here' or 'I think I'd be very good at this job'? If so, what's the point of the question? I've always gotten the 'do you have any questions for us?' bit at the end, which seems more reasonable.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally posted by SpringfieldMonorail View post
    Would you prefer if the interviewee said something obvious like 'I'd really like to work here' or 'I think I'd be very good at this job'? If so, what's the point of the question? I've always gotten the 'do you have any questions for us?' bit at the end, which seems more reasonable.
    I think that the manner in which you answer a question can often convey as much, if not more, information to the interviewer. I would think that even if you get an off-the-wall question, if you answer it with conviction and confidence you will come across quite well. "You know, if I was a tree, I would be an oak tree, and this is why..." The words you use in an interview are important, but the delivery can't be overlooked or minimized. I think this is especially critical in the planning field, where communication is so vital.

  23. #23
          bluehour's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SpringfieldMonorail View post
    Would you prefer if the interviewee said something obvious like 'I'd really like to work here' or 'I think I'd be very good at this job'? If so, what's the point of the question? I've always gotten the 'do you have any questions for us?' bit at the end, which seems more reasonable.
    Nooo, see the "is there anything else you'd like to tell us?" question is giving you room for a closer. As in, seal the deal, make then sign the papers, leave them with a lasting memory about how amazing you are. I try and crack a joke too so they're thinking-- wow, this person is great and they have a happy association.

    This is the time at which you point out all those other skills/experiences that you didn't mention because you were too putting your finger to your chin or whatever else crazy questions you have to answer.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    New Iron Design

    What exactly was wrong with the old iron?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    i got asked to describe myself in 3 words

    i don't know why but I really thought that was lame. I was being interviewed by 3 people at the same time and the other two I thought had thoughtful and useful questions about my past work experience, and my strengths and weaknesses, etc. All good.

    But the "kid" who asked me to describe myself in 3 words! I thought to myself, is this a personality test. My answer shouldn't be "no longer interested" :P

    I jsut thought "did you read that in a how to interview for dummies"?

    WTF4 grrrrrrrrr

    just had to rant

    but really being asked that question took away my interest in the internship.

    but i really liked the other two people's questions!!! hmmm

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