Really, really weird interview...

I've just had a second interview with a local medium-sized company for the role of HR manager. First interview was standard with several 'Give an example of when you...' and 'What would you do if...' questions. So far, so good.

I was one of two asked back for a second interview. The second interview, which with the same two interviewers as before but also the CEO, was an hour of 'If you were an animal, what would it be', 'Who would you most like to have round for dinner', 'Where's your ideal holiday', and 'What's your perfect weekend'. 

Eh??? Did I miss the CIPD's briefing on new questioning regime?

Were they just trying to see if I'd fit in (which is what I was told) or were there ulterior motives behind each of the questions. Because I said 'hedgehog' to the animal question does this mean I'm prickly and hide from conflict; should I have said something more aggressive like Rottweiler or polecat? As 'Italy' was my ideal holiday does that mean I'm unadventurous and conventional; should I have gone backpacking in the Andes or building schools in Malawi? By the end of the hour I was absolutely drained. 

Joking aside, it was actually a surreal experience and made me wonder what I was getting myself into. Luckily, I didn't get the job. Anyone else had - or conducted - an interview like this?

  • In reply to Tania:

    Fabulous news! :-))
  • In reply to Sue Eakin:

    Bovver - I knew I should have stuck with the hedgehog! :)
  • I once had an interview that went really, really well until the last question they asked me was: If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?
    Now me, I love a biscuit, so that's my nightmare question - how could I decide on one? I said Fox's assorted, because I couldn't just pick one.
    I didn't get the job. Maybe they deemed me too greedy!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    5 Sep, 2019 15:16

    In reply to Liisa:

    Ah, well Liisa... you should have followed my advice above.

  • In reply to Liisa:

    Hindsight really no use for such moments Lisa, save for future guidance should similar happen again - appropriate answer to that maybe something like: “Carr’s Table Water - crisp and smooth, not flaky, and generally much-esteemed......”

    .....such as that might impress them, save for those who just might recoil and gape and ask what the heck are Carr’s Table Water biscuits - eg


    A (too flippant / complacent?) response to that question too might be something like “I suppose it means that I’m simply a little cracker”

    - here endeth the biscuitology lesson, but vividly recall seeing them being made in their traditional brick ovens in Carlisle and those at McVities there who make them seemed exceedingly proud of their being able to craft these rather sophisticated and palatable biscuits from simply flour and water and a little veg oil.

  • I am looking for a new role and my last interview asked me "What have you been doing since being made redundant?" - err looking for a permanent challenging role. Maybe, they wanted and hour by hour of my day between waking to sleeping.
  • In reply to Jules:

    I think that's a valid question Jules. Looking for a new job is of course one thing you have been doing. They want to hear that you have just not been watching Bargain Hunt or playing computer games all day. Good responses would include some voluntary work (planting trees for the Woodland Trust; sorting clothes for a local charity shop; etc); or perhaps doing some research on a topic of interest; attending CIPD branch meetings/seminars; attending an employment tribunal; networking; doing your CIPD assignments. The list of things you could be doing while you look for a new job is as long as you want to make it.
  • In reply to Judy Williams:

    I have finished my CIPD L5 and graduation is next week, so when I was made redundant I was nearly finished and am waiting to be able to update my profile with Assoc CIPD. I am booked in for a CIPD Branch seminar for the 17th September. I think I wasn't expecting that sort of question and to be honest it has been quite nice just dealing with the domestic life without the rushing about and I don;t seem to have enough time to sit down. I am considering volunteering, but our charity shops seem to be fully staffed and are not taking in donations at the moment in my area. Sometimes it is good to take a slower look at life and take time for your health and wellbeing. I will be prepared next time it comes up. I needed some "me time" and I believe my family have benefitted from it. I have been doing car engine repairs on my Daughters car, but that may be too unconventional for some employers.
  • In reply to Jules:

    I like it when people are honest and say I have taken some time to xyz. It doesn't matter if that's enjoying the school holidays with the kids, finishing the decorating, refurbing a house or in your case car maintenance - if it's something you enjoy and have been able to take the time to do, make it into a positive. It also helps if you can also add some skills related things like CPD etc but it doesn't always matter.
  • Today's interview was an interesting experience.. Arrived at 9am as requested prior to a 9.15am interview. Two security guards had a loud row over procedure for notifying departments that interviewees had arrived (in front of myself and another candidate for a different role). Was not taken through for interview until 9.35am, no right to work checks or qualification checks done (I had brought everything along as requested in the invite) 20 min basic chat and out again. The other candidate was left waiting until 9.30am too!
  • In reply to Carlie:

    I think that says a lot about the company. I too have an interview tomorrow and am preparing now.
  • In reply to Jules:

    Good luck Jules!

    I agree - it was a major government department which makes it worse in my opinion, it should be a well oiled machine.
  • I have been asked "if I was a tree, what tree would I be?" this was a Higher Education establishment and the question came out of nowhere. I did respond after stipulating it's not something I've given much thought to, but gave my answer. I did politely ask during one of my questions back to them what was the purpose of the tree question? apparently they were just curious.....
  • In reply to Carlie:

    Thank you
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    4 Nov, 2019 13:54

    In reply to Jules:

    Good luck, Jules!

    If you were a Superhero... which one would you be? (Better get ready for that one...)