smolder (v.): 1. to burn without flame; undergo slow or suppressed combustion. 2.to exist or continue in a suppressed state or without outward demonstration: Hatred smoldered beneath a polite surface. 3. to display repressed feelings, as of indignation, anger, or the like: to smolder with rage.
The interviewer just said, “So tell me about yourself.” Then followed that up with, “Where do you see yourself in five-years?” And rounded out the conversation with a hearty, “What are your weaknesses?”
I know, the bubbling under the surface has started and you want to scream to the high heavens, “Just let me show you I can do the job!”
Put out that smoldering fire with one thought—stupid questions can lead to brilliant insights!
Insight #1: While these questions may infuriate you, they are meant to bring out the best in you. Who are you as an employee? What will you contribute to a company or are you going to be dead weight? Companies want and need great employees. Doing a job to collect a paycheck is the basic idea, but the basics aren’t going to be fulfilling for you and aren’t going to profitable for the company. So do your homework—not on the company but on yourself. Research your own aims, abilities and achievements. Go into the door self-assured, knowing what you can bring and what you expect to get.
Insight #2: Hiring managers don’t have to be creative, they just have to be efficient. Help them. The questions are cliché and boring. Make your answers out of the box and engaging. It’s not about HR making it interesting for you, it’s about you bringing energy to them. Impress them with what you can bring to the company and how your skills can benefit what the company is already doing. Yes, this may seem one sided, but not if you do it right…
Insight #3: You can ask questions too! Take out some of your own squirm-inducers and fire away—Ok, well, not exactly. But, you have the right to ask what you want to know about corporate culture, work load expectations, ideal qualities of a candidate… just make sure you ask respectfully and thoughtfully.