Epic Tales From My Encounters with Applicants

Let me segue a bit from the usual mommy/baby stuff or anything related to mommyhood and let me talk about something work-related.

Just to give you a background of my career. I have been in the customer service field my whole entire career. I used to work in the marketing group ofย an IT school for almost a year, handling private companies as my clientele. I’ve been a technical support rep in a call center for almost two years. And for the past almost 8 years, I have been in the customer service department of one of the supply chains of a multinational company. Don’t ask me how I lasted this long in this company because I can’t answer that myself. ๐Ÿ˜›

I am not in recruitment nor do I have a background in that area, per se. However, in the last few years, I have conducted applicant interviews for my previous team as well as my current team. And I can say that I have my fair share of encounters with different kinds of people trying to sell their skills to our company.

I am more adept with dealing with customers and providing resolution to their issues. I had to research tips on how to conduct an interview when I was first tapped to handle one. It should be easy, right? You just ask the applicants about their job experiences, validate what was in their resume and all that stuff. But what I looked for were the do’s and don’ts when conducting an interview. Well, I didn’t want to be asking inappropriate questions, to say the least. And I usually ask a colleague, who is also a part of the management, to join the interview. Heย asks the behavioral questions while I deal more with the technical side of things.

I usually conduct interviews in English. It has already been a standard for us as well. And it has been a practice for me to answer back in English when asked in the language. So I expect the applicant to do the same.

A few months ago, we interviewed one applicant for my team. We were asking questions in English but she kept answering in Filipino. It was really irritating. All of a sudden, my colleague asked the most obvious question in the middle of the interview process:
Colleague: Are you more comfortable with the Filipino language or are you OK with speaking English?
Applicant: I’m okay with English.

Colleague: Oh okay. We’ve just noticed that you keep answering our questions in Filipino even if we asked in English.

Applicant: …

Colleague: Moving on… (then he asked the next question)

Applicant: (answered back in Filipino again)

Me: *sigh*

There was an applicant that we interviewed who appeared to have been looking for an easy task.

Colleague: How many emails do you receive in a day that you need to respond to?

Applicant: About 10-20 emails.

Colleague: What if I tell you that you will be receiving more than that, about a hundred emails per day, and you need to read and respond to all of them within the 8-hour shift?

Applicant: 100?! I’m going to cry.

Me: … *toinks*

I love asking out-of-this-world questions at the end of an interview.ย Since I expect them to be prepared with an answer for the standard interview questions, I have a need to ask a question that they never anticipated. The reason I ask this one question at the end of an interview is to throw them off and see how quick they can come up with a logical answer. I’ve read somewhere that asking out-of-this-world questions during interviews will test how an applicant thinks and handles sudden unexpected situations.

Me: I have one last question before we end. There is no wrong answer here so just give it your best plausible answer.

Applicant: Okay.

Me: Whyย is there a hole in a dough nut?

Applicant: Huh? I don’t know. Ask the baker.

Me: … *bashing my head against the wall behind me*

We interviewed an applicantย who worked for supply chain companies as well. He hadย a degree in Industrial Engineering. IE graduates are known to have strong process management skills. So here’s how one interview went:

Me: I’ve noticed that most of your previous jobs are related to supply chain. And since you are a graduate of IE, what do you think is the advantage of an IE graduate in the supply chain field?

Applicant: Because when I was still studying, we went to Nestle and learned about the production of milk.

Me: *facepalm* *flips table*

Earlier today, we interviewed one applicant again and after the interview we asked him if he had any questions.

Applicant: First question. What other systems do you use here?

Me: You will know that if you get hired.

Applicant: Okay. Second question, what are your expectations of me for this job?

Colleague: You will know that as well if you get hired.

Applicant: Okay. Last question, what is the greatest goal of this team?

Me: ย WORLD PEACE!

And even if I wanted to really answer World Peace to that last question (and it was at the tip of my tongue), I had to bite my tongue and act like a professional instead. I told him that he will know more about it if he gets hired. He didn’t have questions after that.

After several months of searching, I was able to finalize the interviews and gotย 2 good applicants for my requirement who will be reporting next week. Finally!

And no, I didn’t hire that last guy or any of these applicants.

 

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  1. LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€ I wonder how the applicant would have reacted if you really did say world peace. Haha! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your post reminded me of the days when I was still screening applicants for a call center. There were so many facepalm moments. My colleagues and I would talk about these boobooos and laugh about them after a long day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. He might not get the sarcasm behind the answer.. LOL! Some are really funny but there were those that really made me want to go in a rage. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. There are definitely moments like these! I’ve also encountered similar answers and sometimes it’s just really jaw dropping reactions. Although, I do feel for them because obviously comprehension is a big problem for them and they might be skilled enough to do the job but just lack the proper communication skills. However, in this line of work you have to be at least adequate.

    1. I agree. One thing I’ve noticed though, especially with the yuppies nowadays, is that, they try to impress the interviewers so much to the point of going overboard at times that they don’t get the gist of the questions being asked. And some of them get way too nervous even when the questions asked are so trivial.

  3. Love this! Naloka ako dun sa I’m gonna cry! And I kinda wish you really said World Peace; that would shut him up! I’m curious though; what’s wrong about the last applicant? PS: If I were an applicant and you asked me that doughnut-hole question, I would’ve given you a nerdy answer! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. The last applicant never really answered our questions and we have to repeat and explain the questions we asked several times. All his answers consist of “I’m committed” and “I’ve researched about…”. He was trying to impress us too much that he was never able to show us his capabilities. ๐Ÿ™‚ as for the doughnut hole question, I would have appreciated a well-thought of answer ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ang daming bloopers! Hahahahahaha! I love it! My favorite:

    Applicant: Okay. Last question, what is the greatest goal of this team?
    Me: WORLD PEACE!

    Hahahahaha! I always wanted to be a part of recruitment and interview people, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hahahaha! Crazy! I have a really fast mouth, so naku po! I can’t imagine kung ano isasagot ko sa applicants na yan. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for this, I will never accept it if they asked me to interview applicants. Hihihihi

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