There is nothing worse in this world than to finally get an interview and to blow the opportunity because someone asked you a question you weren’t prepared to answer.
I don’t know why some very obvious questions can take a seasoned financial professional by surprise, but they do. Perhaps we are unprepared because we are not used to others treating us with disrespect. When you control the checkbook, people tend to be nice to you.
However, such things as “Why did you leave your last job?,” “How much did you earn in your last job?,” and “Why do you like the color blue?,” are all things that can come up without warning. (Okay, the last one has never come up as far as I know, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)
Here you are dressed in your best clothes with a prepared speech on why this firm should hire you, and some HR type who is a little younger than your youngest child is asking you stupid questions. And, they are making you look silly.
Perhaps shame on them, but also, shame on you.
For each of us, there are some very obvious “elephants sitting in the room” that we need to be prepared to talk about in a rational manner. Another example of a “dumb” question is why you stayed with one firm for so long. (Understand that you always stay at a firm too long or you aren’t there long enough. You NEVER are with a firm just the right amount of time.)
Beyond the obvious things in our background, there are off the wall questions that can come up. And, yes, since you are sitting on the other side of the desk this time you need to be patient with your interviewer and suppress that urge to smack them upside the head with a 2×4.
To help you prepare, there is a file out on our website called “Trick Interview Questions.” The direct link is: http://www.thefeng.org/membersonly/documents.php?cat=o The files are listed in alphabetical order and it is the last one on the right. I think it is worth reading so you can prepare for the worst.
The inmates ARE in charge of the asylum. Not much you can do about it but be prepared.