Can you survive these “killer interview questions”?

OakMonster - Do What You Love -

My fellow social media professional Jeremy of Social Media Club Los Angeles posted an article about these “killer interview questions” asked by 10 CEOs. It reminded me of those weird interview questions I answered a few years back.

It’s kind of fun to see what are being asked these days. You can certainly play along and leave your answers to these 9 questions in the comments. I’d love to see them! (I also post a professional version of this, more of interview tips, on LinkedIn.)

As for me, well, you know, if the culture doesn’t match me from the get-go, it ain’t going to work. My first face-to-face interview at Frieda’s was one of those moments.  I was asked if I could have any job in the world, what that would be.

“A mime,” I said.

There was a beat before Hazel, who is now one of my dearest colleagues, heartily laughed.

“I’m kidding. Sort of. Mime school is on my bucket list but I want to be a full-time philanthropist.”

If that joke had fallen flat, it would be a sign that I would not be a fit here. Lucky for me, the people in that room that day got my sense of humor.

A job interview really is a two-way street. It’s as much about the company finding out who you are and about you finding if you will fit in. But I understand that sometimes you put on the air to fit in because you NEED the job.  That is not the same as WANTING the job.

I’ve been there. I get it. Not all of us can afford the luxury of finding the job we want. I truly wish everyone out there the best of luck in finding that awesome work family you’ve been looking for AND not having to work a day in your life.

OakMonster - Do what you love and never work a day in your life - Artwork by

“Do what you love and never work a day in your life.” Artwork by

And now, to those CEO questions.

Would you rather be respected or feared?

Respected. Respect is earned and sometimes it comes with loyalty too. And that’s more important than anything.

Why are you here today?

You need someone who’s passionate about the job. I’m it. You need help. I need a work environment where I can fit in. Voila!

What’s your biggest dream in life?

Be Batman. You know, be a billionaire philanthropist by day, crime fighter by night. Well, philanthropist by day and cosplayer on the weekend, really. If money is no object at all, I’d be managing many funds, scholarships, and foundations, for all kinds of causes and I have plenty of those on the bucket list.

“I ask how they were treated.”

CEO of Tupperware said that he’d ask people who encountered the candidates for their opinion. That is really a brilliant strategy. You really get to know a person from how they treat others. Now, I’m generally nice to folks so there shouldn’t be a problem there. Unlike this guy.

OakMonster - Karma Interview via The Daily Mail

– The Daily Mail

What is your favorite property in Monopoly, and why?

I don’t have one. Two reasons. First, we grew up playing the Thai version of Monopoly, which is translated to “Billionaire’s Game,” somewhat appropriately. And it wasn’t really our favorite game because all I wanted was to land in the corner boxes–go to jail or skip a turn. I didn’t pay attention to the properties or anything. And second, my household was more of a Scrabbles one.

Scrabbles is an English-as-a-second-language skills building activity which I happened to love and it was encouraged by my parents and my English tutor. If I finished my school homework and tutoring coursework in time with zero whining, I would be rewarded with extra hour of Scrabbles with my tutor. Any new words learned from the game would be quizzed at the next session. I totally didn’t mind the extra work and he didn’t mind spending his free hour here and there. It was awesome.

Tell me about when you failed

I failed plenty. How would you learn if you didn’t fail? First thing is to owe up to it. Take the responsibility. You’ve done screwed up, then you’d better come clean and fix it. The key is to FIX IT. Find a better way to do things. Find a different way to approach it. Find help. Don’t be proud and flounder around all by yourself. You’ve done enough damage. Let other people throw you a rope to get you out of the hole you’ve dug.

Sure, I’d beat myself up about it for a few hours…or a few days…well, in my own head, probably forever…but then I have to fix my mistake.

Talk to me about when you were seven or eight. Who did you want to be?

Apparently, I wanted to be a blond hair, blue eye girl who speaks English…or whatever language that isn’t Thai. I was totally fascinated by and obsessed about people who don’t look or talk like me. There were many stories of me wandering off from my parents, bee-lining toward foreign children at the airport, in hotel lobby, at a mall, in restaurants, etc. to say hi and to make friends. Mom said I didn’t do it with Thai kids–only foreigners. She was kind of amazed that I’d end up with playmates for the next few hours, and sometimes nobody really speaks any English!

The wine list test

Here’s how this question goes: the CEO takes a candidate out to dinner with other senior execs and hands him/her a wine list. How you decide on the wine or not decide on the wine and explain your decision is a part of the test.

I’d ask for a cocktail menu first. Everyone needs a pre-dinner cocktail to loosen up. (And of course “liquor before wine, everything’s fine” rule.)  Then we can talk wine if you want. Does anyone here have a preference on red or white? What are we having for dinner? I might not really KNOW wine, but I know enough to probably pick something that’ll work for the table. Then again, if I ply everyone with a cocktail first, then, maybe wine is not needed after all. Right?

Walk the talk

Let the candidate’s passion guide the conversation. This CEO turns a small talk into a test. A candidate mentioned that he likes to sing, and dude asked him to demonstrate. The candidate did. It was a test to see if he really had the passion for singing like he said he did.

Oh, good sir. We’ll be chatting a long while if you start me on any of my passion projects. 🙂

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