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Old 05-28-2004, 09:29 AM
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Job Interview Q: Is there anything you want to tell me?

Well, I went on a job interview recently. I got through the first interview with the department manager and was invited back for a second interview with the HR director and the Executive Director. Everything was going along well: the interview with the HR director was fine and the interview with the Executive Director was going OK. She asked her questions, I followed up with several of my own, and then, as the interview was ending, she said:

"Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?"

I didn't have a clue what she was aiming at. So I asked:

"I'm not sure what you mean. About what?"

"About anything," was her response. I had already covered what I wanted to cover in my questions to her and so, I had nothing else really to say.

I didn't get the job. I don't know if that was the moment that sunk my candidacy, but it may well have been. Was there anything in particular that she might have been fishing for?

Zev Steinhardt
Old 05-28-2004, 09:31 AM
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Thank your for you time and I'll enjoy working for you?
Old 05-28-2004, 09:33 AM
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Maybe. I did thank her as I left and sent a thank you email later in the day, so I don't think that was it.

Zev Steinhardt
Old 05-28-2004, 09:43 AM
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I've never come across this (having never actually applied for a job) but it sounds like she was fishing for a prepared statement. Every so often, new steps get added to the interview dance, like the "tough brain teaser" segment or the "swimsuit competition". This sounds to me like a new segment the company just added, or possibly her testing your ability to react to an unfamiliar situation. Was it a job (e.g. sales or marketing) where you are apt to be caught off-guard in a public speaking situation, and have to think on your feet?

Also: Google your own name, as it appears on your job application. Do any of the hits suggest that someone with your name has some sort of second life? For example, are you (or is someone with your name) an activist for some political cause? Is there any information in the Google that would appear to conflict with the resume and/or curriculum vitae you presented? If so, she may have been fishing for you to admit to that perceived breach of integrity.
Old 05-28-2004, 09:48 AM
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According to the books I've been reading, you should have either said, "I'll call you tomorrow if I think of anything else," "When do I start?", or asked her out.

Okay, you can skip that last one...

swimsuit competition? I must have missed that interview...
Old 05-28-2004, 09:55 AM
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My guess is that the question is designed to test your response to stress. A similar question could be "Tell me a story." There aren't any right answers, just a number of wrong ones: "I'm really making progress in my Anger Management class." "Why? Who's been spreading lies about me?" "And I paid the money back and no charges were filed."
Old 05-28-2004, 10:08 AM
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The stress theory sounds plausible.

When I'm interviewing, I'll sometimes end with "Is there anything you were hoping to work into the conversation that we didn't get around to?," but that's a much friendlier sort of presentation. About half the time someone will mention something -- some hobby or accomplishment or glimpse into their personality -- and about half the time they won't. It's okay with me either way, I really do just put it out there as "here's your last chance to say anything else you want to say."

IANATHRP (trained human resources person) though.
Old 05-28-2004, 10:21 AM
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HR Lady: Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?
Winston: I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Old 05-28-2004, 10:26 AM
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"I just farted."

"I hope you don't filter your internet, because I am the regional chairman for NAMBLA."

"Could you move to the left a bit so your blouse is backlit against the window? I think I can see the swell of your breast under your blouse."
Old 05-28-2004, 10:30 AM
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HR Lady: Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?

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Cue "Can't Touch This" music and start dancing
Old 05-28-2004, 10:34 AM
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I've often closed an interview asking this question or something similar.

I never intend it to be a test of how someone would react in a stressful situation. I simply want to make sure that if there is anything else that the candidate would like to tell about why they would be a good hire for the position, they have a chance to lay it on the table.

The typical response is that the candidate summarizes their experience and qualifications to try to convince me that they're the perfect candidate, and then expresses the hope that they'll get the job.

For me at least, asking the question involves no devious motives.

And zev, I doubt very much if that was the reason you weren't offered the position. Sometimes there are simply better candidates. Or it could be any number of other things. I recently was the candidate in an interview (sure is different on the other side of the table) and didn't get an offer. My experience and skilss were a perfect fit, but I sensed that for whatever reason the hiring manager (my potential boss) and I just didn't "hit it off". I can't articulate it any better than that. And that "connection" is often quite important.
Old 05-28-2004, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algernon
My experience and skilss were a perfect fit,
Unless of course, accurate spelling was desired.
Old 05-28-2004, 10:36 AM
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Use this question to tell the interviewer about skills or achievements that he didn't ask you about. I ask: Is there anything about you that you think would make me want to hire you that I didn't think to ask about?
Old 05-28-2004, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil One
"I just farted."
I'm usually not one for fart jokes but that made me laugh out loud.

Thank you.
Old 05-28-2004, 03:27 PM
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"Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?"

"Do you have anything you'd like to tell me? "

Actually, I usually hear the question asked as...

"Is there anything else you'd like to tell me, or do you have any questions yourself?"

Anyhoo...
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:53 PM
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As an HR person, I'd say this question is common and not particularly devious. (Believe it or not, good HR really isn't about being devious...)

Had I been the interviewer in your case, I would have assumed from your response that you didn't have a lot of interviewing experience. Might be perfectly normal, unless you'd had several previous jobs. However, a question as blunt as "About what?" is not going to earn the candidate points for social graces. But unless it's real blunt, or for a position where social graces are paramount, I probably wouldn't take points off.

For the future, I'd suggest practicing 2 responses to this: a gracious thanks and goodbye and a recap of your key skills, working in any that might not have been covered. For example, I'm bilingual. For a lot of jobs they don't require it, so it doesn't come up in the interview, but it can be a plus, so I may mention it at the "anything else" stage.
Old 05-28-2004, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algernon
I never intend it to be a test of how someone would react in a stressful situation. I simply want to make sure that if there is anything else that the candidate would like to tell about why they would be a good hire for the position, they have a chance to lay it on the table.

The typical response is that the candidate summarizes their experience and qualifications to try to convince me that they're the perfect candidate, and then expresses the hope that they'll get the job.

For me at least, asking the question involves no devious motives.
I also traditionally use this as a closer, for the exact same reasons. Usually, I phrase it this way:

"Is there anything else you think I should know about you as a candidate for this position that we haven't yet covered in the interview?"

Sometimes, strengths, accomplishments, or skills that they have and are proud of (and which may be applicable) don't naturally come out of the questions the interviewer asks (though I find this rare). I just use this as a catch-all to tie things up just in case. Usually, they'll answer "No" and I won't hold it against them, but I always prefer if they rephrase or reiterate their key points in selling themselves to me.
Old 05-28-2004, 04:16 PM
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Maybe she knows about a criminal record that you didn't know she knew about.
Old 05-28-2004, 06:20 PM
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Or she's fishing for personal information you can volunteer but she can't ask. You could talk about your kids, or your hobby. I'd stick with talking about obscure job skills, tho'.
Old 05-28-2004, 07:54 PM
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I was asked this same question the last time I applied for a job. I also wasn't expecting it. My honest response, albeit pathetic, was, "I want this job more than any of the other candidates." I got the job!
Old 05-28-2004, 11:33 PM
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Job Interviewer: So, Peter, where do you see yourself in five years?
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Old 05-28-2004, 11:43 PM
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I think I'd have told her I was wearing women's underwear, smiled, and said "Just kidding."

A guy I met on a hiking trip told me about his interviews for Oxford. He walked into the Dean's office (or whoever was conducting) and the guy said "Amuse me", openened up the newspaper with a flourish, held it up so he couldn't see my friend and began to read.

My friend sat there stunned for a second, then reached in his pocket, pulled out his cigarette lighter, reached over and lit the bottom of the Dean's newspaper on fire.

You guessed it... he was to start in the Fall.
Old 05-28-2004, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchiveGuy
"Is there anything else you think I should know about you as a candidate for this position that we haven't yet covered in the interview?"

That's my standard wrap-up question too. With any luck, by the end of an interview, candidates have a fair feel for what we're looking for. They may have something relevant to add that the interview questions didn't cover...or the person was simply nervous and forgot to mention. That happens.

I doubt very much it was all that significant in the final decision, Zev. The pisser with interviews is that you don't have a chance to weigh your competition. (Well, besides the fact that they're nerve wracking and hell on the ego.) In all probability someone else just had a combination of skills and experience that fit closer to what they were looking for. IME most interviewers are too focused on the process for mind games, and you wouldn't want to work for anyone who played subtle intimidation tactics in an interview anyway.

It'll happen, Zev. You didn't do anything "wrong". Hang in there.

Veb
Old 05-29-2004, 06:06 AM
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My wife was asked that question at the end of her job interview, and her answer was, "I'd like you to know that I honor my commitments." It got her the job because they were having trouble with commuters who didn't show up or came in late.
Old 05-29-2004, 06:31 AM
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Good one Winston -- I try to work the phrase "shot a man in Reno" into as many conversations as I can.

Another: "Does your company press charges?" (paraphrased from Jack Handy's Deep Thoughts).

Quote:
Originally Posted by WinstonSmith
HR Lady: Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?
Winston: I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Old 05-29-2004, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry
Had I been the interviewer in your case, I would have assumed from your response that you didn't have a lot of interviewing experience.
And as another HR person (retired) let me counter this by saying that had I heard someone using that particular phrasing, I'd think that the asker didn't have a lot of interviewing experience.

"Is there anything we haven't covered?"
"Was there anything you'd like to add?"
"Did you have any questions or anything more you'd like for me to know?"
"Now that you've seen our offices/labs/facilities/manufacturing line, did you have any observations that you'd like to share, or any questions about anything?"

Those were my typical interview closers, and the usually garnered great results. If someone answered "Was there anything you'd like to add?" with a "No, I think we've covered everything." and they'd been really recalcitrant and tight-lipped about themselves and their qualifications throughout the entire interview, they had just told me everything I needed to know. If the interview had been really thorough and pleasant, it also told me everything I needed to know.

"Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?" comes across, to me, as a challenge. It's the sort of thing a parent says to a child when the parent has found evidence of some wrongdoing that the child is unaware has been discovered. With the addend "about (insert subject here)?" it's a standard line of dialogue on TV cop shows. Even if I did have evidence that the interviewee was withholding some important information from me, such a blunt question is not likely to engender trust or elicit an admission about that information. More often than not, even in an interviewee who has nothing to hide, it's going to provoke a warning bell, followed by a quick disclaimer or a clam-up. It doesn't do any good.

It's a subtle matter of phrasing, but interviews are (at least for HR people) often about subtleties and nuances. Or at least they should be.

I'm not saying that your interviewer, Zev, was trying to catch you in some kind of lame "gotcha ya!" manuever. Just that she's not got a good way with words. I doubt that it was why you weren't hired -- if it was, I'd say it probably wasn't somewhere you'd want to be over the long term anyway.
Old 05-29-2004, 11:22 AM
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I agree with TeaElle. The interviewer phrased a standard closing question in a weird way - as if she knew something about you and wanted to see if you'd tell her. She surely meant, "Do you have anything else to add that we didn't cover," etc., but phrasing it the way she did is off-putting and odd.
Old 05-29-2004, 11:27 AM
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"I have been secretly masturbating for the duration of the interview."
Old 05-29-2004, 11:42 AM
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I got that same question for the first time when I was being interviewed not long ago for this job I now have editing a newspaper. I probably should point out I wasn't entirely certain that I wanted the job so I wasn't taking it overly seriously. Now that I think about it, I generally don't take job interviews seriously - I wonder if that is a defense mechanism?

Anyway my response was, "Well, I am the fourth best newspaper man in the United States."

"What?" said the interviewer. I actually got her to look up from the form of hers and look at me with something other than that "I don't know what you do but I'm more important than you" look.

"Well I said 'fourth' because I thought you might want me to show some humility," I answered with a smile. She then gave me a look that said I was not only not very important but was clearly a potential candidate to show up carrying an AK-47 after a bad week of letters to the editor.

However, about a week later the president of the publishing firm called me and offered me the job (I should point out this is a guy who wears baseball caps for Japanese baseball teams with suits [he's not Japanese] and periodically sends ice cream sandwiches to the entire staff for no particular reason.

TV
Old 05-29-2004, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zev_steinhardt
"Do you have anything you'd like to tell me?"
"I'm a Charter Member of the SDMB. Neener, neener, neener!!!"


Old 05-30-2004, 09:02 AM
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The following alternative forms of the question, posted by TeaElle are very good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaElle
"Is there anything we haven't covered?"
"Was there anything you'd like to add?"
"Did you have any questions or anything more you'd like for me to know?"
"Now that you've seen our offices/labs/facilities/manufacturing line, did you have any observations that you'd like to share, or any questions about anything?"
This type of question gives you an opportunity to explain some things that the interviewer can't legally ask:

Questions such as: "Zev, you are nearly 60 years old. We need to hire someone who expects to work for several more years. How much longer do you intend to work?" or
"Cathy, you are a single mom with small children, how will you manage to attend training sessions that require overnight travel?" are illegal.

The anything that a 60 year-old Zev might like to tell is that he's in good health and expects to continue to work for a considerable length of time. Cathy could state that travel is no problem for her.

In short, the person being interviewed can use this question to volunteer information that the interviewer can't legally ask. The question can work to the applicant's advantage if they are prepared for it.
Old 05-31-2004, 06:07 AM
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Such a question is your time to add any information about yourself that might not be apparent on your resume or have been brought up during the interview.

I sometimes interpret as "I don't know how to interview so I'm hoping you'll just talk a lot about yourself".


An interview is not just answering questions as they are fielded to you. It's your chance to sell yourself to your potential employer.
Old 05-31-2004, 11:02 AM
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"I'm excited about the opportunity to work here and I'd really like to have this job."
Old 05-31-2004, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work here and I'd really like to have this job."

Or: "My last HR director told me I was hung like Mr. Ed. Care for a look-see?"
Old 06-01-2004, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work here and I'd really like to have this job."
YES!

This is your chance to express why you're the guy for the job. And you should ALWAYS say the magic words "I want this job." somewhere in there.

You'd be amazed how many people I've interviewed never actually get around to that. And just assuming that it's agreed upon because you're interviewing isn't as good as actually saying it.
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