I’ve told you about the time I went on a job interview, back during my West Virginia days, and they asked one question: What would you do if I gave you an elephant? That was the entire interview, and it was for a bank teller position. What in the long swingin’ crap?
Apparently I didn’t provide a satisfactory answer, because a form letter arrived in the mail a few days later that began, “Thank you for your interest in Magnet Bank. Unfortunately…” And it went downhill from there. I still don’t know what the “correct” answer to such a question would be. Any ideas?
I was thinking about that ridiculous episode last night at work, and started wondering… If I were in charge of hiring at a large corporation, wanted to “weed out the shitty” as my brother would put it, and was limited to just one question, what would it be? And I think I’ve got it pegged.
I’d ask: What would you do if you won five million dollars in the lottery?
Is that perfect, or what? Much better than a goddamn elephant, that’s for sure. The person’s answer would tell me many things about him/her, and would allow me to gauge their intelligence, common sense, and decision-making skills.
For instance, here’s how I’d read a couple of the anticipated answers:
Buy a ludicrously expensive car A pure dumbass who doesn’t have a place in the company. Especially if he starts talking about Italian sports cars, complete with model numbers, or mentions Bentley and/or Rolls Royce. If that’s the first thing that pops into his mind, a rapidly depreciating piece of flash, he should be given the opportunity to work elsewhere. Because he’s a bag of shit.
Continue working This person is a liar, and doesn’t have a place in the company. He’s the type who tells people what he thinks they want to hear, with little regard for the truth. He should receive one of the form letters that contain the word “unfortunately.”
Give most of it to charity Ha! Even worse than the “continue working” folks… Especially if the person provides this boolshit answer with a concerned, deeply saddened expression on his face. It’s an Oprah-tinged manipulation, and the person doesn’t have a place in the company. He should be escorted from the building by security guards, and thrown to the pavement in the parking lot.
You see, it’s easy to analyze every answer. It’s perfect! I should be heading up an HR department somewhere, with such innovative techniques bubbling up in my brain.. I really should.
Can you think of any other one-question interviews that would give you a window into the soul of applicants? Since this is just imaginary, let’s not worry about ethics or laws, or any of that pesky stuff… That’s for suckers.
Also, I’m sure we’ve all engaged in conversations with friends and coworkers about imaginary lottery windfalls. “What would you do if you won five million dollars?” or whatever. Why not attempt to analyze the common answers in the comments? Do it, it’s fun!
And that’s gonna do it for today, my friends. Please remember the ongoing Yurtathon 2010. I sincerely appreciate everyone who’s already donated, or purchased shirts, to help me spend a week (or so) in a ridiculous roundhouse in the forest — and finish (finally finish!) my book. If you’d like to chip in, every little bit helps. Thanks in advance!
I probably won’t be able to post a real update again until Sunday, but be on the lookout for another blues singer exercise. I’ve chosen the next room, and know it’ll be a lot of fun. I’ll try to get that going on Friday.
Have a great day, boys and girls!
I’ll see ya next time.
Bill Roehl says
I had a job interview like that once for a mail room clerk position. I had just lost my job and I was desperate for anything with a paycheck. They asked me, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?”
Now at the time I was slow on the uptake. I sat there and seriously considered how I should properly answer this question. After announcing that I needed to give it some though and being told take all the time you need I finally came to my senses and replied: “If an HR rep asks you a stupid and unrelated question in a job interview do you really think they deserve an intelligent reply?”
I was told the interview was over and shown the door. Can’t say I’m disappointed in how that turned out. As if I was going to work for a company, part time and making $8.25 hour, where they asked ridiculousness like that.
First, I think.
Swami Bologna says
2? or 3?
Swami Bologna says
Swami Bologna says
I wonder if that bank’s process for “weeding out the shitty” was as soon as someone who is obviously NOT the right candidate walks in they ask them one ludicrous question then show them the door? 😉 It’d be rude not to at least interview them a little, say one question about an elephant…
If someone gave me $5M I’d buy a fancy car or three. Probably one Italian, one German and one English. The person who says they’d still drive their Toyota is as full of shit as the person who says they’d keep working.
Mmmmmm, elephant steaks! Zesty! I’d invest about 90% of the 5 mil, and blow the rest.
Chuck in Belpre says
What the hell is a fancy English car? I kid…I kid!
If I won a few million no one would see me again unless they had a helicopter to get to my mountain top hide-away.
I hate those long assed questionnaires you have to fill out for jobs. What a time-waster especially for the low-paying job being applied for.
One computer tech job I applied for (with 25 years experience mind you) the interviewer just stared at me for 5 minutes then asked me to talk about myself. After I did so for several minutes, which I hate to do, he stared at me some more and then showed me the door. He had decided upon seeing the silver hair he wasn’t hiring me. I’m convinced of it.
Best one question interview question:
“What the hell?”
If i were to win a few million, not like the 133 mil jackpot, i would write a check to my boss, the government, for two months worth of my pay and leave.
Just like that, heres 2 months worth of severence and just throw all the shit in my desk away.
Then i would go be some strange eclectice man in an outragious nice house that doesn’t fit the regional style or form. I would do something like hand out nickles to people of particular eye colors each day to pass the time.
And build a music studio.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
If I won a 5 million dollar lottery prize, I would go out and get drunk, a DUI, then get another DUI, then another, and then spend my jail time getting some seriously fucked-up jailhouse tattoos. I’d pick fights while in jail so that most of my front teeth would be missing by the time I got out. I would buy a house with room for a number of seedy house-mates that would leach most of my money away from me, then murder me for whatever cash I happened to have in my wallet. They would probably roll me up in an old rug and toss me down into a ravine somewhere, where my remains would eventually be discovered, perhaps.
Isn’t that how these stories usually end?
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Stoopid interview question I’ve encountered over and over:
Q: “Describe your strengths and weaknesses”
A: “Well, I’m a people-person, but also a serial killer”
If I won 5 million dollars, I would definitely quit my job, but I would probably try to find something just to keep me from dying of boredom. Except I’m not sure how bored I would be because I’d be out shopping all day and constantly on vacation.
I would walk the elephant to a homeless “tent city”, build a fire then shoot the elephant and feed the poor! SMARMY!
4.5 Million in an annuity, 500K for a luxury vacation including a frickin safari!
Root 66 says
An even better question…
“If I gave an elephant $5,000,000.00, what would you do?”
“Can you think out side of the box?”
“Yes, and right up the snatch”
If I won 5 Million, which by today’s standards isn’t much, I’d probably have to keep working for medical insurance but I’d use that money to set up our what is now part time business into a full blown affair.
And buy a house. Not a mansion – just soemthign with maybe 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.
If you gave me an elephant, I would instantly start to worry about where I’m going to put all the elephant shit.
Root 66 says
People who say they’d keep working need to have their head examined. All you would see of me is a cloud of dust singin’ Johnny Paycheck’s big hit!
Most folks who win the lottery look like they should invest in some teef and a bump out for the trailer!
If I were to win $5 million big ones– I’d probably just buy some third-world country and become king…or something.
The last time I was interviewed it was for a hospital. The little tomato that interviewed me from their Human Resources Dept. was probably 20 years younger than me, gum-crackin, huge attitude. In fact I think she drove her Big Wheel to and from work. She asked me “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” You kiddin?? 5 years AGO…YOU were still suckin your thumb.
The question an applicant should ask a possible employer, ie physician…”are you the doctor’s wife/husband?” If the answer is “yes”…run like a fat kid after an ice cream truck. No shit. I am in that situation now. Didn’t know the office manager was the Mrs. until two weeks in. Never a good situation.
Oh..and if I won 5 mil….right after I pick up the turdlets I’d drop…I’d most definately quit my fucking job. Puh-leez. I wouldn’t even call in. Those mofo’s can come find me. I would buy a farm house to rehab in the country but not too far out though. I don’t want the Funny Farm mailman or anything like that. I would concentrate on my business. Travel to fleamarkets and antique shows all over the country and Paris. Vacations galore. I would make a amall donation to the Humane Society. Make sure my sister, who has been quite ill, is taken care of. Also, a few select friends and my boyfriends family.
@Bikerchick- I work for a medical university and the whole place is run by family members, except for us 4 girls in this office. I think I know exactly what you’re going through!
If I had an elephant.
I would chop off its feet and make them into foot stools.
I would use its tusks to make pool balls.
Eat the tenderloin.
And let the rest rot on the lawn out of disrespect.
I had the 5 Million conversation with a Dbag that I work with and he went on a rant about how he would give exactly $10K each to his family members and after that they had better not expect him to always buy the turkey at Thanksgiving. ha.
Shiny Rod says
5 Mil, I’d be travelling the Germany country side sampling on the local sausage and beer. Maybe I can get Brynhildr to travel with me.
If I had an elephant….I would charge neighborhood brats for rides & would even let them clean it & feed it for me. (They’d need to learn the entire ropes of caring for such an animal; plus that would mean I wouldn’t have to). I’d be making money from it though!
If I won $5mil….If I had $5mil clean (no taxes), I’d make sure my family (parents, brother, in-laws) were taken care of (houses paid for, spare change, etc), would make sure the house I just bought would fixed to my exact liking (I’d still live there) & I’d buy my boyfriend a new car. I’d also buy us a one-way ticket to Europe & spend as much time as we legally could travelling from country to country, staying wherever we wanted & experiencing the world. Of course a whole heck of a lot of our time would be lounging in certain “cafes” in Amsterdam enjoying the…scenery….ahem.
As for my job they can suck it. I’d of course let my boss know only because she is my friend outside of work (I’d also hook her up a bit, but don’t think she’d take a penny of it) but the rest of them can have fun clearing out my junk.
I guess I must be the only one that actually likes what I do. I’d keep working. Seriously, I would. But with a few added perks that amount to saying what pops into mind, or taking an extended break-kick back when it suits me. You wanna fire me? go ahead, I’ve got 5 mil working for me.
See? There is a major problem with those questions. If you go in with the mindset your job is toil, and you get somebody like me who actually works at what they like, you’re going to miss out on somebody who gets things done. Of course, in an interview I would leave out the fact I’d call you every name under the sun if you come to me later and ask me a fucked up questions about elephants and lottery winnings.
Now, elephants and banks. They probably want to hear that you will lease the elephant out to Ringling Brothers, purchase an elephant transportation car and lease it out at inflated rates to Ringling Brothers, with a ridiculous opt out clause that would allow you to purchase two more elephants to lease to a Zoo in some god forsaken place, with further options to take over their zoo in the event of improper elephant feeding, and in turn find a way to charge that back to Ringling brothers… etc. Its about making money baby. You may only be a teller today, but if you show the hunger for dollar signs they’ll track you into management.
AND, whats wrong with the answer of buying a ridicuoulsly expensive car? Maybe I can already afford one, just because I drive a 27 year old rusty truck doesn’t mean I can’t afford a fully restored southern truck. Just because the interviewer can’t save a buck doesn’t mean mr I won 5 million doesn;t already have a healthy nest egg built up. Nobody wants to hear about filling up a retirement fund, investments and shit, they want to hear about the fun expensive car. So fuck you mr interviewer.
I think I resent the fact that interviewers think everybody must hate their work, or is just throwing money away. Those questions need to be accompanied by followups to quantify and dig a bit further. Like what else beside the expensive cars and fun stuff would you do.
Where will I be in 5 years? Doing exactly what I am doing now. Why? Because I damn well like it. Been doing it for 18 years already.
Shiny Rod says
Oh, the correct answer to the elephant question is to ask if the elephant has an account at this branch..
Casey J says
5 million. I would buy a camaro exactly like Bumblebee in Transform. mother fucker better transform to. and dance. then I would pay off my house, but stay here and giggle in my pile of money. I would enjoy all my new “friends” coming to get a piece of the pie.
and no. My parents might get some and that is it. my little boys better stake their claim, with questions of my nursing home and daughter in laws on their applications. I hate job interviews, I don’t get the reverse psychology trick questions they ask you. what happened to the days they tell you what to do and you say yep, be here in the morning!!
good old days.
Casey J says
Transformers. wtf. then I would buy spell check. 🙂
5 million after taxes?
I’m assuming it is. Otherwise it’s closer to 3 million.
Anyway, I’d pay off my parents house, I’d hook my brother up with a decent car (SUV or some such for his 4 kids and wife) and a reasonable house in our hometown.
I’d put about 1 million in safe investments (passbook savings, etc, bonds)
I’d invest about 1 million in some of the stocks I already own (Boeing, Lockheed, GE, Oil Stocks, WWE (yes, that WWE), etc.
Those two would give me income of about $60,000 a year.
By my take I have about $2,555,000 left or so.
I’d buy a decent house for me in Cincy and maybe one in St. Louis, and one in my hometown, there’s another $375,000 down.
I’d spend some significant time travelling. I’d probably get rid of my Echo and get some sort of hybrid.
I’d quit my job and probably open my own business(s).
I’d like to own a bar and if given the oppurtunity I’d build one in the development that is currently going up between Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium, the bar/land/building it would probably push about $500,000.
The other business would be something with solar panels/ wind turbines/ etc.
$200,000 for that.
Third business: Green taxi company, hybrid taxis.
That’s another $250,000.
I’d buy Jeff 5 kegs.
By my count I’m at about $1,142,750 still.
Roughly $20,000 per year to get the Drive By Truckers, Slobberbone, and Two Cow Garage to play my birthday party.
Spending that much money is a bitch.
I’d hole political rallies/fund raisers where for a certain donation (a la cart) you get to do whatever you want to the politician in question.
$10 you get to hug the politician
$100 You get a hug, a kiss if you want, and a signed picture.
$100,000 you get to physically assault them.
$1,000,000 you get to ask them one question and they have to answer honestly but it can’t affect national security.
At one job interview the room was set up with a small table that had two chair sat it, that is where the interviewers sat. The only other chair in the office was about 15 feet away. When they said sit down I took the chair from far away and brought it to the table to sit down. They said I was the first person to do that all day (it was an afternoon interview).
They asked “Why did you move the chair to the table?”.
I said: “Because I’m not an idiot and I know how to use a chair and table set.”
I knew they were trying some psych bullshit game, and homie don’t play that.
I did not get the job.
Icecycle66 were you interviewing for the men in black?
In Red Dawn, what was the character’s name who suggested, and then had to piss in the radiator?
Casey J says
oh…I used to watch Red dawn. let me see….
Not Oprah says
Lee Harvey – For your own sake, I’m hoping that you don’t win.
I’m pretty darn sure I won’t win the lottery so never get it any thought. Obviously T-storm doesn’t think the same way.
Can’t think of any particularly stupid questions that I’ve been to, but can think of a completely awkward one with some young CA’s at a large oil company. They only asked me if I ever did analysis. WTF – ‘analysis of what dumb asses’ is what I’m thinking. Don’t remember how I answered but they didn’t hardly talk the entire interview. It was awkward, I just went on and on and on. Then when I stopped talking it was awkward silence – didn’t work out thank God!!!
Maybe a good one question would be – ‘how do you handle working with dumbasses? ‘ that’s a person that I would want to work with.
I have a lot of alone time, I think about shit like that. I buy lotto tix about once a month but I don’t expect to win and would actually like to see some proof that anyone did. Proof, not anecdotes.
The set up. Two plastic patio chairs facing each other about 3 feet apart. I’m sitting in one, the interviewee walks in and right as they are sitting down I violently kick out their chair so they fall, I stand up quickly sending my chair across the room and I scream “What’s are you looking at dickworm?”.
I think any answer would be acceptable.
Not Oprah says
T-storm – if we don’t win the lottery, we’ll split it. Actually I’ll share with everyone.
Sharing is caring. I’d easily pay for a night out with you weirdos with airfare and hotel stays. Well, maybe not that much.
I think when someone asks what you’d do with [some huge amount of money], the real question is “what would you do with your life if money were no object?” I’m with Alex – I actually like my job, and I’d like to keep doing it. Maybe as a freelancer rather than an employee, because freelancers are allowed to say “No” to foul-smelling assignments.
Other than that, pay off the mortgages of everyone in my family and make investments that will provide me an income. Maybe buy a fancy car after I have the house and garage to support it.
When I interviewed for my present job, they asked a very good question: “What was your first ‘paycheck’ job?” The idea is to get an idea of the person’s work ethic. If they lack certain job-specific skills, those can be taught, but they need to have a good attitude towards work in general, and that is not so easily taught.
If i won 5 million dollars in the lottery i think i would.
I’d take the first million and buy as many apartment buildings as i could afford with 1 mil. So i would have a monthly income If i blew the other money.
I’d take about 500k and starting buying online business that make 1-10k a month as many as i could.
With the other 1.5 million i would probably use it have fun and keep some aside in case things fell through
I Would give 2 million to my dad because without my dad owning his own business and me growing up learning how to run a business and always thinking of new ideas i wouldn’t have the same mindset i have today.
hot fuzz says
I always interview with a question like Ginger or Mary-Anne? Big Brother or Survivor? Ronnie or The Situation? The idea being:
1. Get them to laugh and lower their guard to cut the bull shit answers they think I want to hear.
2. I’m going to spend 40 hrs a week with you, you better have a sense of humour.
3. Can they think on their feet if they are given a question that catches them off guard?
4. Can you tell when people are pulling your leg?
I hear grilled elephant is delicious.
$5m isn’t a lot after an executive estate, cottage, vacation home, toys, cars, travel, bills, family, charity. I would have to quit and would probably try to do something fun like lead a marching band through the office to announce it.
One of my fears is that I don’t check the ticket on the weekend and actually work when I didn’t have to
--- Steve says
my last interview: “Sure you want to come over here and do this? (Yeah, why not?) “When can you start?
When my $5 Million check arrives, my first expenditure will be with a financial consultant. It’s hard to pick someone to help decide how to handle your money – fortunately I have some great questions to ask when I interview them.
One thing I’d ask during an interview (if I were the boss) is this: ” Do you like it up the ass?”
Any women that answer, “yes!” are hired. Any men that answer, “yes” are denied, or fired (if they already work for me). I don’t give a fuck. I discriminate. So what? Go fuck yourselves. Lesbos are hot. The same cannot be said of man that chooses another man’s hairy ass over a soft, beautiful woman.
I need closure.
I relation to yesterdays question about the favorite 15 albums someone did a quick tally of most mentioned. Exile on Main Street and Blood on the Tracks were the most frequently listed.
Blood On the Tracks- we have all been there
Exile On Main Street – we wish we would have been there
WB in OH says
Jason …Rosie O’Donnell and her girlfriend making out. Oh baby, hot, hot, hot!
Not Oprah says
Jason, Although I love your comments,you are still such an idiot.
Jason is agencies yes agencies of genius
A lottery win would result in me falling into Jeff’s “pure dumbass” category I’m afraid.
I’d buy a ridiculously expensive car and drive round all day laughing at poor people.
Some brief comments on yesterday’s QOD (Like my uncle, I can’t quite let go).
Jeff rarely askes a music-related QOD (I’m afraid blues singers in the kitchen doesn’t count as a music question). He did yesterday, and the comment count exceeded the average daily (non-weekend) count over the last three months by 31 percent. Why does Jeff think we don’t like music questions?
I notice my 15 albums almost completely matched Gretchen’s. Since we were born over 22 years apart, I think this demolishes the notion of a musical generation gap.
If you were standing in the middle of yesterday’s lists, we look like a pretty diverse lot. However, from the sidelines something like 90 percent of the albums were rock or alt.rock. Almost no country, very little jazz, virtually no soul/Motown, no classical to speak of, some roots music but not much, some blues but only a few, not much world music.
We are not a very diverse group, and I cast no aspersions. Of my 15, 13 were rock or alt.rock. I’m just saying that Jeff attracts people with the same general musical tastes. No surprise. We might have different political views, social views, spiritual views, incomes and ages, but in the most accurate measure of homogeneity, favorite music albums, we are peas in a pod.