Joe Lavin

September 20, 2005

Acing Job Interviews the Chief Justice Way


Thanks for coming in for your interview, Mr. Roberts. We're glad to have you, and I'm sure you would be delighted to work with us here at Kaplan Insurance. First, why don't you tell me a little about your future goals? And why did you apply for this job?

Thank you. While I must refrain from answering such direct questions, I would like to make a brief opening statement. I am but a humble man, and I look forward to the opportunity to reveal some of my humble past. In my career, I have been much like a football referee. While no one ever attended a football game to see the referee, a referee is an important arbitrator of the law, except of course in those Miller Lite commercials, in which the referees only seem interested in an activist interpretation of the law, one in which they impose their taste buds on the drinkers of other brands of cold beer. I assure you that I will not be an activist referee. I will instead be a humble and fair one.

Um, you do know that this is an administrative assistant position? I'm afraid we don't have any openings for referees.

Yes, I was merely speaking metaphorically.

Oh, metaphors! We don't get many metaphors around here. Very impressive. Now, before we go on, would you like any water or coffee?

No, by choosing any particular beverage, I believe that would be unfair to all the other beverages.

Well, okay, then, let's talk about computers. As you know, computer skills are an important part of this position. Are you proficient at all with Microsoft Excel?

While I applaud your line of questioning, I think it is more important for me to concentrate on my general computing philosophy rather than answering such a narrow based question pertaining to only one application. I believe strongly in the principle of desktop computing, and I am skilled in the use of the mouse and keyboard across many platforms.

So have you used Excel before?

As I am sure you are aware, I must refrain from answering such a direct question, as my answer today could unduly influence my answer tomorrow should the question be asked of me then.

So that's a no then?

It is neither a no nor a yes. It is merely an attempt to remain unbiased in all future questions regarding the Microsoft Excel application, should I have to make a later decision regarding it. It is in such a manner that a referee must act.

Okay, we're back to the metaphors, are we? Great. Now, tell me, what three words would you use to best describe yourself?

I believe it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this. If indeed chosen for this position, I may later be asked just such a question. By answering now, I might possibly limit any future spontaneity that I could later exhibit. I am sure you understand.

Oh, sure, moving right along, do you feel that you possess strong communication skills?

As a humble man, I would prefer to let others be the judge of my communication skills. It would be wrong for me to answer such a question.

You do, of course, realize that you'll be sitting at the front desk. Answering questions is kind of what this position is about.

When the time is right for answering questions, I will be glad to answer questions. However, now is not that time. Now is the time to talk more generally of my question-answering philosophy. I believe strongly in the validity of both questions and their answers. They are without a doubt one of the hallmarks of democracy and more specifically this position. Whenever there is a question across this great land, I will not hesitate to answer it, excepting of course those questions that might unfairly influence my answering of future questions, those of which I do not know the answer, and those whose answer might reflect poorly upon my character. For those questions, it would be against my principles to answer, and I remain of man of firm principle.

Oh, speaking of principles, we've had some trouble with excessive personal phone calls in the past. We wouldn't have to worry about that with you, would we?

While I do feel it is important to follow any precedent that has been set, I do not anticipate following the excessive personal phone call precedent. I have found that I am so humble, fair, and even-handed that most people cannot bear to talk with me for more than two minutes at a time.

You know, I think we're just about done here. One last question: do you have any references?

Yes, I do. Unfortunately, those references cannot be released because of prior confidentiality agreements. Luckily, because of the Freedom of Information Act, those references will become available in the year 2023, and I will be glad to send them to you at that time.

Yeah, you go ahead and do that, Mr. Roberts. Thanks for coming in. Could you let the next person know that we're ready? Oh, and watch out for that door. Don't let it hit you on the way out.


©2005 Joe Lavin

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