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Re^4: On Interviewing and Interview Questions

by sfink (Deacon)
on Aug 29, 2005 at 05:23 UTC ( #487331=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^3: On Interviewing and Interview Questions
in thread On Interviewing and Interview Questions

because I hate my current job

Like I said, I don't think there's any completely right or wrong answer. But this is about as close to a wrong answer as you can get.

"So, honey, I hear that you've found yourself somebody. What's he like? Are you happy with him? Does he really love you?"

"Oh yes, Daddy, he loves me a lot! I can tell, because he just murdered his wife in order to be with me!"

A bit of a stretch, but the point is that your dislike of your current situation doesn't say anything encouraging about how much you'll like your new job, and in fact makes the interviewer worry about your history repeating itself.

You hate your current job. Um... okay, so do you think you'd like this job, or are you desperate enough to take anything because you figure nothing could be as bad as where you are now? Are you justified in hating your current job, or are you one of those people who ends up hating any job? If something is so awful about your current situation, couldn't you have done something about it rather than giving up and hating it? Have you learned anything from the experiences you've had at your current job, and if so, why aren't you talking about things from that perspective rather than starting out with the negative?

And considering the field full of red flags that you raise by telling an interviewer that you hate your current job, why aren't you being a little more discreet about it?

Now, there's nothing really wrong with hating your job, and there are many legitimate reasons for doing so. And if you're getting the new job through contacts, then you may very well be in a situation where they already know something of your current situation, so it's the right thing to do to tackle the big issue head on. But generally speaking, I'd have to say that your answer is about the worst you could give, and I would probably spend the rest of the interview trying to put my mind at ease about the dozens of danger signals that your answer kicked off in my head.

because X (the person who referred me) said that this is an awesome group to work with, and if he lived here, this is where he'd work

This isn't the greatest answer either, except that I would still be very inclined towards you if you came to me through someone I trusted. The answer gives you points for enthusiasm-by-proxy, but I'd still want to hear it from you. The problem with this answer is that it doesn't directly answer the question -- you're not giving any characteristic of the job that makes you want to take it; you're only saying that you're interested in the job because someone you trust is interested in the job. I guess this would be appropriate if you were asked the question early enough that you hadn't had a chance to figure out anything about what the job would be like. But it's still weak unless you eventually bolstered it with a reason why you, personally, find this exact job appealing.

I work for Reactrix Systems, and am willing to admit it.
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Re^5: On Interviewing and Interview Questions
by tilly (Archbishop) on Aug 29, 2005 at 11:56 UTC
    Then you would have missed out on a great employee. Twice.

    About the first case. They asked me why I wanted a new job so soon. (I'd been at my previous job for 10 months.) My answer was that I was working for a churn-and-burn consultancy. Great for learning skills and getting work experience. Horrible for everything else. I'd actually survived there longer than average.

    Luckily for me, the interviewer was familiar with churn-and-burn consultancies.

    As for the second, you'd have completely missed the boat. I've already given the reason. I value work environment and co-workers more than I do the details of my job responsibilities. The details of the job responsibilities were virtually irrelevant (other than the fact that I was qualified to do them). What mattered was the opportunity to work with a group of competent people who get a lot done in a low-stress environment.

    Luckily for me, the interviewers knew that they were offering what I wanted, and valued the same thing about their work situation.

    Incidentally, if you are near Santa Monica, we're hiring. (Note what the ad says about the work environment. Believe it. It's true.)

      My answer was that I was working for a churn-and-burn consultancy.

      Which is a very different answer from "I hate my job". You're saying why you don't like it.

      "I hate my job" is a lousy answer because you have to spend time separating the "I hate my job because my job sucked" group from the "I hate my job because I'm a complete ass" group.

      The "I hate my job" answer raises red flags with me too. In my experience people who say that are usually in the "ass" group.

        Actually I was not really saying why I didn't like it. I just gave an acceptable excuse which happened to be true.

        Would your impression have changed if I said that in 2 weeks I was going to be transferred to be working full-time under a manager at a client who I had grounds to file a sexual harrasment lawsuit against? I think that that answer would raise bigger flags for most employers than the original "I hate my job" answer!

        I'd intended to stick the place out a year. That was the proximate reason for my not doing so.

        But yes, I agree that "I hate my job" is a legitimate red flag. However I don't make nearly as big a black mark out of it as most people seem to (as long as there is a reason to hate the job).

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