I’ve been in a few of these, where it’s clear I’m being asked very specific questions… not to inquire about my knowledge and ability to do the job per se, but to solve a problem of theirs forthwith, then-and-there.
I’ve actually been accused of being evasive about answers because I’ve been there, done that, and given the farm away. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Not gonna happen.
This is important – you need to show you can do the work, but don’t actually do the work. How? That’s up to you, and is not always easy…
To give one example. I once was being interviewed for a position where, on my resume, was an item about my having identified a substitute plastic with a potential to save about a half of my annual salary per year. The two company’s products were directly comparable; this was of obvious interest to my interviewers.
I was asked about this line item, multiple times. “What kind of plastic was it?”
“A different one than the one being used. The initial testing looked very promising”
Repeat this question-and-answer a few times, varying the words a little each time. They finally grasped that I was not going to tell them, and accused me of being “difficult.”
So… what do you think of this practice of – apparently – trying to get candidates to not just demonstrate knowledge and competency, which is perfectly reasonable and necessary in the interview process, but trying to weasel out of them actual solutions to problems being faced by a company?