What do beauty contests and job interviews have in common? They both feature monumentally stupid questions that serve no useful purpose whatsoever.
And now that I’m on the hunt for a new job*, I feel stuck in what can only be described as boardroom purgatory—a grey and soulless zone where I’ve been asked more than once to reveal the three wishes I’d ask of a genie after a lamp rubdown. The right answer for both beauty queens and job interviewees: a better world, a productive career, personal and spiritual growth. The wrong answer: the truth. Honourable members of the panel, I would request the genie to grant me a pleasure palace in the Bahamas, a perfect rack, and the young Sean Connery as a personal sex slave. Can’t see that going down too well.
Why don’t job interviewers realize that repeating the same pointless questions year after year will only inspire the same rehearsed answers or, as in my case, dumbstruck incredulity. I suppose some of these asinine queries work for some jobs such as advertising (sell yourself to us) or zookeeping (describe which animal you resemble), but I’m a journalist and editor, so could we keep it relevant please? Read my resume, halfwits. Check my references. Give me a written test. Ask me specific questions that apply to the skills I’ll need on the job. Hint: the kind of work I do does not require me to ad-lib or persuade people to buy hand-sanitizing toilet paper.
Here are five commonly asked questions—and answers I’ve longed to give— that have contributed directly to the diseased layer of bilious fat on my pre-cirrhotic liver.
Q. Why should we hire you?
A. Because I say so. I am the star of the galaxy. I am the wind in your hair. I’ll eat reeking platefuls of fecal matter with a cheerful smile and a howdy-do if you give me medical insurance.
Q. Can you tell us three positive things about yourself?
A. Blood group, STD test results, my answer to your question: “do you take us for fools?”
Q. Can you tell us three negative things about yourself?
A. No, because no one likes bedwetters who set dustbins on fire and fantasize about microwaving babies. Does anyone answer this question honestly or is always a sanctimonious: “Oh I work way too hard. I’m such a perfectionist. And sometimes I perform so outstandingly that it makes my poor colleagues look bad.”
Q. Which animal do you most resemble?
A. I am the boa constrictor to your tender little pot-bellied pig.
Q. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A. My name is Zorah, Mistress of the Future, therefore I see you cleaning my kickass $1000 stilettos with the sweat you worked up while performing a hula dance for my entertainment.
* I am now gainfully employed. I didn’t give them stupid answers because they didn’t ask me stupid questions.