The Worst Interview Ever: Ridiculous Questions With No Good Answers
A few years ago, I applied to work as the head coordinator of a summer day camp. I had worked at day camps since the age of 13 years old, and I was 23 at the time. I woke up early, got ready, put on my good pair of pants, threw on my genuine smile, and headed out the door. I sat in the waiting room for a good twenty minutes until a nice woman wearing a red dress, approximately 5’6, 40-years-old, escorted me to a tiny office room in the back of the first floor.
At first she left me in the room and closed the door. Paranoia sparked the neurons in my brain and I looked up and down at the grey, old walls in front of me. My nerves excited themselves as I waited, and waited, for the interview process to commence.
All of a sudden, a man in his early forties came into the room, without knocking. He introduced himself to me as “Matt” and sat down after briefly shaking my hand in a firm grip. I smiled my usual smile and waited for the first question.
A few questions went by and I felt fine! Excellent, in fact. But then, I started to shake a bit when he asked me the next question: “So, Emily… what is your worst quality?” Shit. I shook in my seat. My eyes grew wide and my face probably looked ghostly and terrified. “Um…my worst quality?” I asked. “Yes, Emily. What would you say is the worst part about YOU?” He asked again, impatiently.
“Well, I’m a bit of a perfectionist at times,” I said. I tried maintaining eye contact…but who the hell asks a question like this? Wouldn’t you want to hear about the positive qualities of a potential employee? I didn’t understand why, and was totally caught off-guard.
“That’s not a bad quality. Explain to me your worst quality,” his patience grew tired and his eyes started to roll (he thought I couldn’t see them, but I see everything; I saw straight through his arrogance).
“Um. Well. I tend to be incredibly organized and like things done a certain way…” My eyes started to water.
“Again, not a bad quality. Alright, let’s just move on to the next question,” he crossed his legs and wrote in his black book.
“Um… um…wait. I mean. I can be emotional? But I would never bring that into the workplace…” I said, with a confused tone.
“I see,” he looked at his female colleague in the red dress; they exchanged glances and I knew it was over.
“I think we’re done here,” Matt said. “Thanks for coming in.” He shook my hand again and I started to tear up like a girl who lost her candy bar.
As I walked out, more and more tears fell down my face. I really wanted this job. I tried to answer that question to the best of my ability, but it was no use. They clearly had someone in mind for the position and they wanted to “weed me out” like a plant in a garden of flowers.
I walked home, head down, sad, and cried my head off. Then, I realized something. That question was bogus. It was mean and it was not necessary. To ask someone what they thought was “bad” about themselves is like asking someone who suffers from an eating disorder what kind of food he/she likes best. It was a nasty question that provoked only negativity…and I realized I did not want to be in an environment that made me question my own potential.
If ever you were wondering, kind reader…I got a better job as a Coordinator with better pay at a better day camp elsewhere for that summer. And, it was a positive, excellent environment and daily vibe.
If you are to take anything away from this post, it is to not let someone get in your way of finding your true potential; whether it is a job you want, or a position, or something involving education, etc. Don’t let one person, or one question, ruin your process. You will find something else, and one day you’ll tell yourself that it was an experience you needed to have, in order to be the person you are today. And, you’re pretty great, if I do say so myself.