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Curveball Questions

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Not-Eric, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Hi, quite new to the board, been a bit of a loiterer as not really had anything interesting to say. --In the same boat as so many others, NQT in despair at the lack of actual jobs
    I was takling to a friend in the same boat (must be a massive sea-faring vessel [​IMG]) and we were comparing notes on interviews. I thought I'd share a couple of questions I've had that have thrown me in an interview- she found it interesting so hope others might too...
    1- If you were an instrument in an orchestra which would you be and why? (Seriously! Even the interviewer seemed embarassed to be asking it!)
    2- If I asked a friend of yours to describe you, what would they tell me?
    --> with the 2nd one I think it threw me as I'd been spending so much time preparing for the interview thinking about me as the professional, me as the teacher and me as the learner etc I'd almost forgotten I was a person!
    Anyway- thought I'd share, and would be great to hear if anyone else has come across a question that sticks in the mind as a bit of a curveball.
    *waves and walks away quickly having written first ever post*

     
  2. Hi, quite new to the board, been a bit of a loiterer as not really had anything interesting to say. --In the same boat as so many others, NQT in despair at the lack of actual jobs
    I was takling to a friend in the same boat (must be a massive sea-faring vessel [​IMG]) and we were comparing notes on interviews. I thought I'd share a couple of questions I've had that have thrown me in an interview- she found it interesting so hope others might too...
    1- If you were an instrument in an orchestra which would you be and why? (Seriously! Even the interviewer seemed embarassed to be asking it!)
    2- If I asked a friend of yours to describe you, what would they tell me?
    --> with the 2nd one I think it threw me as I'd been spending so much time preparing for the interview thinking about me as the professional, me as the teacher and me as the learner etc I'd almost forgotten I was a person!
    Anyway- thought I'd share, and would be great to hear if anyone else has come across a question that sticks in the mind as a bit of a curveball.
    *waves and walks away quickly having written first ever post*

     
  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    Welcome to TES Not-Eric! Congratulations on your first post!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Actually rather than a curveball, I think these are quite common 'getting to know the candidate' type questions, where you get your confidence by talking about yourself first, particularly for younger applicants unused to interviews.
    So get thinking folks.

     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Q1 is not all that uncommon, in its many guises: If you were a car, which one would you be? If you were a pudding, which one would you be? If you were an animal, which one would you be?
    They are signs of an appointing committee which is not trained in teaching interviews; this is the type of question that was popular in the States a decade or so ago for hiring business executives.
    You are supposed to identify your own outstanding characteristic, ascribe that to the instrument, the car or whatever, and give that as an answer.
    I would be a violin because I shall soar to the heights. I would be a people carrier because I like to carry others with me. I would be a treacle pudding, because I am soft inside. I would be a dog because I protect children.
    Daft isn't the word for it.
    I hope not, Lara, I hope not!
    I cannot imagine how being asked what make of chocolate biscuit you would be would get up the confidence of anyone - probably make your mind go blank and panic, total panic, set in at the thought of being interviewed by people who think that is a good question.
    To say nothing of the thought of having to work with them! [​IMG]
    Best wishes
    ___________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     

  6. Once, during a job interview (not teaching-related though), I was asked if I liked cinema. After answering "yes", I was asked which was my favourite film. I went absolutely blank. I couldn't remember a single title, not even from classic films. And I do love cinema. That kind of questions are useless and unfair, because they just make you panic and the rest of the interview is then compromised. And the answers can't reflect who you are. As it was an interview for a book publisher, I was ready for questions about my literary likes and dislikes, but not about cinema! Finally I got the job, but I think that after that question that was my worse interview ever.

     
  7. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    I was once asked the question someone mentioned about "How would your best friend describe you?" and I gave what I thought was a good answer, eg confident, funny, a good friend etc.. Then the interview demanded my phone, asked me to RING my best friend DURING the interview and then hand the phone over to her so he could speak to her and confirm what I had said!!!!

    Luckily my friend gave a good answer, despite sounding very nervous and wary on the phone and i was offered the job! ... I was left stunned by that one! lol!
     

  8. Oh my goodness. Was that for a teaching job? I'm fairly sure if most of my close friends were rung up in the middle of the day they wouldn't be able to answer their phone due to being at work! (Because, unlike me, they actually chose a career path where available jobs were involved)!
     
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Before I scrolled down and saw Theo's answer (above), I was about to post exactly the same words. Such questions are often the work of governors who want desperately to be involved in the interview process and so offer (in some cases, insist on offering) rubbish ideas for questions. Unfortunately, these people usually think these questions are 'searching', whereas they're just plain RUBBISH.
    A member of my governing body once argued passionately and forcefully for the inclusion in an interview of the question 'What do you understand by the phrase 24/7?' Just that, nothing else.
    It took me about twenty minutes (and that's 20 minutes I'll never get back) to shut him up, mostly by repeatedly asking 'What has that to do with the appointment of an art teacher?' and 'Show me the criterion on the job spec that this relates to.'
     
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    So there you have it. Rubbish is the word for it!
    ___________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     

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