“How Many Pencils Would it Take To Fill a Swimming Pool?”

Job interviews can be nerve wracking for even the most experienced job seeker. In today’s competitive job market, proper preparation for the interview can make the difference between a job offer and a rejection. You should behavioral interview questionspractice answering questions pertaining to your experience and be prepared to provide examples from your work history that sell you as the ideal candidate for the position. But, do not over practice and memorize a script! It is important to understand the gist of each question, so you recognize it when phrased differently.

Many employers are using behavioral questions to get past your rehearsed answers and see “the real candidate”. Regardless of how bizarre some of these questions may be, it is important to know what they are really asking. Typically, in addition to the role-specific skills employers want to know how you handle conflict and how you make decisions. Many of these behavioral questions are designed to uncover one of these two traits.

The above question, for instance. Do you think anyone really cares how many pencils it would take to fill a swimming pool? Probably not. If you were asked this in an interview, the employer may be trying to uncover how you make decisions. Do you blurt out the first answer that pops into your head? Or do you ask questions to obtain more details so that you can make an informed decision? (“It all depends. How big is the pool? Is it filled with water? Are the pencils laying down or standing up? What size are the pencils? Are they sharpened?”, etc.)

The interviewer has a limited amount of time to learn as much as possible about you. Your words and body language speak volumes about how you’ll fit into their team. Make sure your responses convey what you intend. The key to interview success is to walk into the interview with confidence, rather than fear. A mock interview session with EDGE Career Solutions can make all the difference. Call today for a free consultation (860) 658-6480 9 am – 6 pm Monday through Friday, EST. Evenings and weekends by appointment.

Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people develop the tools, strategies and confidence to build satisfying careers, and then rebranded as EDGE Career Solutions in 2015. As a Career Coach, Resume Writer and Certified MBTI Practitioner, she helps her clients articulate their unique value to stand out from the competition, and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. Contact her to see how she can help you build a more rewarding career. www.edgecareersolutions.com 

2 thoughts on ““How Many Pencils Would it Take To Fill a Swimming Pool?”

  1. Michael Costanzo

    I think you make a good point here (pun intended) about knowing WHY employers ask bizarre questions like this. Knowing that it’s more about how you answer (confidently and honestly) than what you answer is key.

    Oh, and the real question is, “How do you remove 2 million pencils from a swimming pool?” 🙂


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