An unfair interview question

You might run into an unscrupulous interviewer or two who will ask an unfair interview question or two. Among the worst of the worst is when you’re interviewed for a job that doesn’t exist. You’re there to be pumped for information that will solve an interviewer’s problem.

You’ll know when you’re being scammed when asked how you would solve a particular problem. You’ll either be asked to provide the answer on the spot or to work on it as homework. I advise my job finding clients not to fall for it. If this happens to you, demur with a smile and say, “give me the job and I’ll be happy to solve the problem.”

Now that the weasel knows you’re on to his game, say, “let’s face it, this is how I make a living.” Then, on the unlikely chance there could be a real job there, talk about some of your accomplishments in solving problems for other employers. Use the SIR format. Explain the situation you confronted, your input—what you did to solve the problem, and describe the results of your efforts. Although you’re probably making a futile effort, it’s good practice for upcoming interviews that are legitimate.

Most interviewers are honest and above board. But a few are snakes in the grass who will ask unfair interview questions. You can learn how to handle them, along with dozens of other answering strategies that will make you the winning candidate, in my book Your One Minute Job Finding Coach.

Copyright ©2015 by Ransom (Randy) Place


About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.