Which Chair?!? Interview Question - page 2

Okay, which chair would you choose? I recently had an interview where I was led to a room with a desk and three open chairs. The interviewer sat down first behind a desk and instructed me to... Read More

  1. by   bbear
    I have used a similar test myself when hiring sales professionals. Like I said, the test in and of itself means nothing. If, as you mentioned, a person sits on the opposite side of the desk but exhibits outgoing and polite behavior, then the choice of seats means little to the interviewer. If, on the other hand, the person sits on the opposite side of the desk, avoids eye contact, exhibits body-language that is overtly avoidant--then the interviewer might add the pieces together to determine that this is not a person comfortable around strangers. Or maybe it's just around interviewers. Or maybe it's just in stressful situations. It's the collective pieces that fit together to make the picture. No piece alone counts for much.
  2. by   bbear
    Quote from llg
    I think it is funny/sad that (according to bbear) sitting closest to the interviewer supposedly suggests greater comfort, confidence, and an outgoing personality. Yet, all of the people who chose chair #1 across the desk did so as a display of confidence.

    It just goes to show that the interpretation of the chair choice is not as obvious as the people who use it may like it to be. Some people may have been raised to believe that choosing chair #3 would be an impolite invasion of personal space ... or an improper display of familiarity ... and therefore chose #1, not because they are not confident or friendly or an outgoing person, but because they are polite.

    Actually, the more I think of it, I think it is a culturally biased test that has no place in a professional environment.

    Thanks for sharing it with us,
    llg ... who definitely would have chosen chair #1 for all the same reasons other people did as well as to not invade the personal space of the interviewer who might not like that.
    You think this one's bad--the worst I ever had was when I walked into an interview for a sales position. The interviewer threw my resume in the trash, then handed me his pencil, saying, "Here. Sell me this pencil."
  3. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Quote from bbear
    You think this one's bad--the worst I ever had was when I walked into an interview for a sales position. The interviewer threw my resume in the trash, then handed me his pencil, saying, "Here. Sell me this pencil."
    OMG! How did it go? :uhoh21:
  4. by   bbear
    Well, I took the pencil from him, looked at it for a minute, then looked him in the eye and said, "Are you sure you need this pencil? What do you intend to use the pencil for? Have you looked at other pencils on the market?" He played along and answered my questions. Then I reached into my pocket and pulled out a ballpoint pen and said, "This is a fine pencil, but based upon what you've told me I think you really should consider purchasing this pen. It does all of the things this pencil does, and so much more." And then I spent about 5 minutes explaining why my pen was superior to the pencil.


    The interviewer was thoroughly impressed with my answer, and he told me that it was the best response he had encountered in 20 years. I was offered the job, but took another instead.
  5. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Quote from bbear
    "This is a fine pencil, but based upon what you've told me I think you really should consider purchasing this pen. It does all of the things this pencil does, and so much more." And then I spent about 5 minutes explaining why my pen was superior to the pencil.
    LOL Sounds like a fun interview! Better than the old "tell me about your strengths & weaknesses...."

    The interview I'm referring to about the chair choice included lots of questions regarding blood transfusions, meds, and naming all the pulse points on the body.
  6. by   mariedoreen
    Quote from llg
    I
    Actually, the more I think of it, I think it is a culturally biased test that has no place in a professional environment.
    Ooooh, very insightful comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    For me, I would have thought that sitting across the desk was seen as an avoidance tactic - you want the barrier in between you and your interviewer -and that sitting in the chair closest to the interviewer would be seen as to familiar, an invasion of space with someone who you're supposed to have a more impersonal, professional interaction. So, I would have chosen the chair in the middle. Of course this is the chair I also would have been most comfortable in.. so perhaps I'm simply attempting to justify my preference..

    Don't y'all just hate headgames?
  7. by   sevans
    I removed myself from condideration the one and only time I interviewed for a company that used personality tests and head games as part of their interview process. It was a 3 tier interview process, and the second tier consisted of a written personality test as well as thinly disguised head games during the live interview (but obviously standardized head games). When I was called back for a third and final interview I told them "thank you, but please remove me from consideration". As far as I was concerned, I did not want to work for a management that would actually rely on that kind of stuff - if they use it to hire, they probably use equally ridiculous stuff to manage!
  8. by   cursenurse
    chair number 1. i like to be able to look at the person straight on. also, the other chairs look like there may be a violation of personal space

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