So what goes on in your head before you articulate some witty, professional answer during an interview? We all have our formal answers that sound like automated emails, but what would happen if you said what you REALLY thought?
Disclaimer: These are not really MY OWN thoughts nor my actions when I’m interviewing or at work. Ask my former employers and professors if you don’t believe me. This is supposed to be funny. Haha…get it?
First, I present the “Too Honest” Cover Letter
“Dear: some HR representative that is sifting through 10,000 of these (or if you’re lucky, the person hiring you got through a contact who was nice enough to pass along the name),
Or the worst: Dear some random person I didn’t take to time to figure out or that the website/ad made impossible to find,
Obviously, I’m writing because I’m applying for this job. I have done some stuff in the past related to the job, and I qualify for the skills you laid out. I might mask some of the requirements I don’t QUITE qualify for by talking about something else for a second. If I’m a recent grad, I’m going to exaggerate my internship experience as real experience (HEY…it is!!) But I’m special–more special than everyone else, I swear. Here’s why.
I know this guy who you kinda know, or who is prominent in this field, who inspired me to apply. I did this project at this one place that will impress you and I used this skill that you would like. Here’s a fun fact about your company I Googled and here I am relating it to myself.
In conclusion, I really want the job, otherwise I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing this. You really should skip this and just look at my resume or take five minutes out of your day to get to know me on the phone. I promise I won’t bite. Even if I’m missing a small requirement, give me a chance, why don’t ya?
Please email me back a response—even a “no” is better than nothing,
Onto the Interview…let’s pretend it’s for a law firm.
1. Why are you interested in this firm?
What you said: Because your firm has a reputation for excellence and dedicates itself to serving the community.
What you thought: Because you pay $2000 a week. WOOT
2. Why did you go to law school?
What you said: I went to law school because I want to be able to make a difference. Legal work allows me to be competitive and to work for justice, both of which are important things in my life. (ya this is the gist)
What you thought: Don’t ask me this now when I prepared for this interview in between cramming for class and paying the first installment of my tuition. But I mean…I went to law school to work for some place like you, so help a sista out.
3. Do you think your grades are an accurate reflection of the kind of work you will do as an attorney?
What you said: Oh yes, and my work performance will improve just like my grades are!
What you thought: Umm you should only ask me about my Legal Research grades because Legal Research is the only knowledge I will use on this job. And the whole point of school is to do well at a job, right?
4. What would you say is your greatest weakness?
What you said: My greatest weakness is that I get too personally involved with my work….
What you thought: G-CHAT. And food. I wont give up lunch breaks…
5. Tell us about a recent mistake that you have made.
What you said: i did a memo for my boss that my boss didn’t even need but he loved anyway! Bonus points!
What you thought: Flat out fucking up an assignment b/c it was too difficult for me and I was too worried about impressing the boss to tell him. But luckily it was a dumb assignment no one cared about, so why mention it, ya know?
6. What do you do for fun?
What you said: Reading, going to my local church, volunteering, being outdoorsy.
What you thought: Come on, you were in college too. You know what we do for fun. And I fucking hate nature, but it’s really uncool to hate nature.
7. Tell us about your style of leadership.
What you said: I lead by taking the initiative and working proactively with my peers to come up with solutions.
What you thought: Befriending everyone with my awkward humor…heh heh
8. If you don’t get hired by this firm, what will you do?
What you said: I will analyze what I could have done better during the interview and take that knowledge with me into my next interview with [rival firm name].
What you thought: Cry and hate you guys until something equal or better comes along, just like in real life relationships…. and blame your rejection on the fact that I’m either overqualified or a student who can’t catch a break!
9. Do you have any questions for us?
What you said: What sort of pro bono opportunities do you offer?
What you hought: Do I even have a shot? Who else are you talking to? Do you like me? Will you even tell me yes or no?
10. We value creativity among our associates. With that in mind, what kind of plant would you be, and why?
What you said: I would be a tree, because they are tall, strong, and live a long life.
What you thought: It’s Wisconsin, most plants die in the winter. I’ll be a cactus or something.