I have been a freelance Hungarian translator for more than a decade when I had enough of the corporate rat race and became free. This turned out to be one of the best decision of my life. Since that I am frequently approached by HRs looking for a poor soul to hire as an underpaid in-house translator wage-slave. Of course I turn down these enquiries since I will never dump what I have achieved so far as a freelancer.
These enquiries also show the ineffectiveness of those companies. I don't understand why their HR thinks that a freelancer will give up his freedom and flexible schedule in order to go back to work from 08:00 to 16:30 and suffer all the consequences, including the need to shave every morning, dressing up for work, wasting time to travel to work, tolerating the close physical presence of annoying colleagues and so on. Most freelancers are introverted and the last thing they want is people surrounding them. Once you experienced what it feels like to be a freelancer you will never want an office job again.
So here are my answers to the most common questions you might face during a job interview.
A: Let's talk about the money.
Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
A: I am leading service provider in my market niche. Founded in 1978 I have decades of professional experience and I am headquartered on the Canary Islands, just a couple of steps away from my fridge which I don't have to share with thievish colleagues. I have a global presence and I operate on all continents. I can twist up boring company descriptions like this one anytime since I translated so much so far.
Q: How did you hear about the position?
A: I did not hear about it. Actually, I am not looking for a job like this. Neither you are looking for me. Repeat after me: you are not the droid we are looking for. What happened here is that nobody in your company dared to take the responsibility to hire somebody for that position, instead they hired a bounty hunter who dug up my CV and made the mistake of thinking that I am interested in this position. Much to your pity, we ended up here and now.
Q: What do you know about the company?
A: So far I didn't know about its existence. Now at least I know that your hiring process is flawed.
Q: Why do you want this job?
A: What makes you think that I do?
Q: Why should we hire you?
A: You shouldn't.
Q: What are your greatest professional strengths?
A: It's hard to pick a single one, but let's say, not accepting your job offer.
Q: What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
A: Are you wage-slaves allowed to bring your pets to work? Yeah, you got it?
Q: What is your greatest professional achievement?
A: Teaching my cats not to sleep on my keyboard while I try to work.
Q: Tell me about a challenge or conflict you have faced at work and how you dealt with it.
A: It is a common challenge that I am offered more projects than I could do within the available timeframe. I deal with this common situation by picking the juiciest ones and politely turning down the other offers.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Right here, on the Canary Islands, leaving my keyboard only to yell to my neighbor to keep his bloody goats away from my plantation.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: The current one.
Q: What other companies are you interviewing with?
A: Have you ever heard about a thing called "Non-Disclosure Agreement?". Nice try anyway.
Q: Why are you leaving your current job?
A: The amount of attention you are NOT paying to my earlier replies is truly amazing. Could you please define what drugs you took before this interview?
Q: Why were you fired?
A: Psst, let me tell you a secret: I wasn't. Actually, I never worked for Donald Liar Trump and you can bet I never will.
Q: What are you looking for in a new position?
A: Sorry, but there will be no answer for this, Me and my spouse are very discrete about that part of our life.
Q: What type of work environment do you prefer?
A: View to the ocean, fresheners within an arm's reach, every work contact thousands of miles away, and my cat in my lap. Exactly the thing you can never provide.
Q: What is your management style?
A: That's my trade secret, but let me tell you that I just found a resurrected Steve Jobs kneeling on my doorstep and begging me 'Teach me Master'.
Q: Why was there a gap in your employment?
A: You should ask my tax consultant for the exact details, but do you remember that Non-Disclosure Agreement thing? You won't pull out much information from him.
Q: Can you explain why you changed career paths?
A: I wanted to save baby dolphins, end all wars on the planet and prove humankind once and for all that god does not exist.
Q: How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
A: This must be a very messed up workplace if you feel to urge to ask this rather disappointing question so early, even before you hire an applicant.
Q: What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?
A: Your questions tell a lot about you. This question tells me that you have no idea what I should do. Furthermore you don't even have a written and detailed job description. No, that general and meaningless stock text does not count as a proper job description. I should figure out what should I do in that position as soon as I receive a chair an a table on my first workday, so others can blame the new guy when they mess up something. Nice way to parry responsibility.
Q: What are your salary requirements?
A: Give me all financial gain I make for this company and do not dare to stand in my way when I am making money. The sum you should give me will be about three times more than the maximum amount you are willing to pay me.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: The things I do outside of work are done outside of work because I do not talk about them inside of work. Sounds quite reasonable, huh?
Q: If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
A: Excuse me, If I was...? Perhaps I am not up-to-date with the latest advances in the subject of taxonomy, but could you please tell me that since when the species of Homo Sapiens is not a member of the Kingdom Animalia? Could you please tell me which of the five remaining Kingdoms I belong to: am I an entity of a species of Bacteria, Protozoa, Chromista, Pantae or Fungi?
Q: How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?
A: Would you like to get my blood sample along with the answer? Will there be an Oxford test as well what you will forward to the church of Scientology?
Q: Are you planning on having children?
A: Let me interpret this question in the only way which will not result you being punched in the face. So, interpreting it in that way, my answer is: Don't give up. You are young and healthy and one day somebody will give you the answer to this question you have been waiting for so long.
Q: What do you think we could do better or differently?
A: Yes, please. With sugar and just a little bit of milk, thank you.
Q: Do you have any questions for us?
A: When you finally quit this job will you pay me at least a beer as a sign of your gratitude?