Some weeks ago, I had a job interview screen with an HR woman from an agency. It was over Skype, so we had our webcams going.
I liked her and thought the interview was going well. She had good questions. She asked me a question I’ve never been asked before.
What’s your biggest work-related fear?
Hmmm, I’ve never been asked that! I’ll have to think.
I recognize that now is when I COULD have trotted out some over-rehearsed answer, but as usual, I went for honesty.
I said my biggest fear is that a job will ask me to do the two things that I’m weakest at (and therefore dislike the most). Those are doing graphic/visual design (I’m really mediocre, and that should be left to really talented people) and using Omnigraffle. I kind of giggled as I explained how I didn’t like Omnigraffle… I’ve used it, but I don’t like it. I can’t seem to get the hang of it. It slows me down. Anything making me work less efficiently is something I’d like to continue avoiding.
“That’s funny,” she said, “Because we’re 100% Omnigraffle.” And the interview immediately ground to a “let’s wrap up” kind of feel.
Well that IS funny. I asked what they use to prototype designs. She didn’t think they prototyped designs. She told me, “There’s a lot of white boarding and sketching.” Hmmmm…
I said, “Even if you don’t hire me, can I please talk to your UX leaders about including prototyping in their process? It’s so important!” She said, “I hired those people but I’m not really sure what they do day to day. I SHOULD know, but I guess I don’t.” I told her that as the HR person, she can’t possibly keep up with everybody’s processes.
She said she’d tell the hiring manager about me but she’s worried I wouldn’t be happy there if all they use is Omnigraffle. I said maybe it’s my year to get some training and get over my Omnigraffle fear. *smile*
But she’s right.
Asking someone their fears is a GREAT and efficient way to see if there is something that quickly disqualifies them for the job. I probably quickly disqualified myself. She’s right; I could use Omnigraffle if someone told me I had to, but I wouldn’t be happy in an Omnigraffle shop. Great to get that out of the way early.
Tell the truth. Don’t use rehearsed, sounds-good-to-HR answers. What IS your biggest work-related fear? Care to share it in the comments?