I've applied for a lot of jobs since I've been in Australia. Ten, in fact. I've had a couple of interviews and a lot of rejection. As a writer living in Canberra, many of the positions I'm applying for involve working in government departments. To work for the government, it is preferred if you are an Australian citizen. I'm not.
There are interviews, and there are endurance tests. I quite like the interviews where you sit and chat and exchange views and you tell them what you want and they tell you what they want and it's soon pretty clear whether that's going to work. They're fine. And then there are the interviews with human resources. They are generally accompanied by a clipboard, a check-list and a load of clichéd questions to which you are expected to parrot text-book answers. I hate these.
This latter type encourages dishonesty from the start. The true reason you want to work for them is because you need the money. You know that; they know that, but are you going to admit it? Unlikely. Nor are you going to tell them you sulk when you don't get your own way or you handle conflict by pulling faces at your adversary behind their back. So why do they bother asking?
The question I dread most is the one about your biggest weakness. The usual answer is some guff about being a perfectionist, having high standards, putting pressure on self to complete task ahead of schedule, blah blah blah... All sorts of thoughts flash through my mind - none of which I would ever supply in a serious situation. But I am so tempted to offer one of the following:
5 Responses to the interview question 'What is your Biggest Weakness?'
- Bad timekeeping - I hate getting up in the morning and I'm rarely punctual
- I like to bitch and gossip about other staff, particularly if I can set people against each other and upset morale for my own amusement
- I take credit for others' successes and am very quick to apportion blame to cover my arse
- Insufficent standards of personal hygiene