Which Chair?!? Interview Question

  1. 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 "please select a chair and sit down." Head games or not?

    Chair #1 is directly across from the interviewer's desk
    Chair #2 is on the side of the desk closer to the interviewer
    Chair #3 is pretty much right next to the interviewer with no desk in between


    ...................Interviewer X..........Chair #3
    ............... ________________
    ............... l .........................l
    ............... l ........Desk.......... l ..Chair #2
    ............... l________________l
    .......................... Chair #1

    Please let me know which Chair you'd choose (with rationale) and then I'll fill you in on what my choice was!
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   txspadequeenRN
    I would have sat right in front of the interviewer. Look him/ her straight in the eye and get down to buisness. To me this shows confidence and ability to handle yourself in difficult situations. You are not avoiding the purpose of being there and you are ready for what is put right in front of you....:roll




    Quote from Nurse-o-Matic
    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 "please select a chair and sit down." Head games or not?

    Chair #1 is directly across from the interviewer's desk
    Chair #2 is on the side of the desk closer to the interviewer
    Chair #3 is pretty much right next to the interviewer with no desk in between


    ...................Interviewer X..........Chair #3
    ............... ________________
    ............... l .........................l
    ............... l ........Desk.......... l ..Chair #2
    ............... l________________l
    .......................... Chair #1

    Please let me know which Chair you'd choose (with rationale) and then I'll fill you in on what my choice was!
  4. by   txspadequeenRN
    One more thing I had a simular experience whe interviewing for nursing school but their were 5 in a row. I sat in the middle since I knew the person to whom I was in front of was in charge.



    Quote from Nurse-o-Matic
    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 "please select a chair and sit down." Head games or not?

    Chair #1 is directly across from the interviewer's desk
    Chair #2 is on the side of the desk closer to the interviewer
    Chair #3 is pretty much right next to the interviewer with no desk in between


    ...................Interviewer X..........Chair #3
    ............... ________________
    ............... l .........................l
    ............... l ........Desk.......... l ..Chair #2
    ............... l________________l
    .......................... Chair #1

    Please let me know which Chair you'd choose (with rationale) and then I'll fill you in on what my choice was!
  5. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Has anyone heard of this "choose a chair" interview dilemma before? I had never heard of it until this last interview...
  6. by   jemommyRN
    I agree with the above poster. I would have sat directly in front of the interviewer. For the same reasons.
  7. by   SCmomof3
    I agree with the first poster as well, for the same reasons. Sitting beside the interviewer shows a distinct lack of respect. Sitting to the side of the desk shows that you are more relaxed about the interview than you should be. JMHO from bits and pieces I remember from psychology 10+ years ago! :chuckle
  8. by   HisTreasure
    I totally agree with sitting directly behind the desk. I would assume the additional chair is for the secretary, not the interviewee!

    No, seriously. A firm handshake and eye-to-eye contact during interviewing can be the deciding factor in whether you get the position/get accepted. That is why I would sit directly across from the interviewer.
  9. by   bbear
    Yes, I am aware of this test.

    There isn't necessarily a correct response. It is merely an indicator of your personality type and/or comfort level. The desk represents a barrier. If you sit on the other side of the desk it tells the interviewer you would prefer the barrier between the 2 of you. The chair beside the desk tells the interviewer you are more comfortable, but not completely. The chair right next to the interviewer demonstrates you are an outgoing and confident person.

    Of course, this test in and of itself tells the interviewer very little about you. It is only one measure they use along with their other observations to judge your personality.

    How I would handle the situation if confronted with it:

    1. I would ask the interviewer if he/she had a preference for where I sat.

    2. If they said they didn't, I would sit in the chair closest to the interviewer and I would give them a casual explanation for picking that seat, such as, "How about if I sit right beside you so I can hear you better."

    3. Depending upon how I read the interviewer, I might even jokingly add, "We don't want any barriers to come between us now, do we," just to let the interviewer know that I knew what they were doing and kind of cut the ice.
  10. by   AmyB
    Quote from txspadequeen921
    I would have sat right in front of the interviewer. Look him/ her straight in the eye and get down to buisness. To me this shows confidence and ability to handle yourself in difficult situations. You are not avoiding the purpose of being there and you are ready for what is put right in front of you....:roll

    I agree with this one all the way.

    BTW, why exactly are the mind games necessary anyway?
  11. by   lisamc1RN
    The nursing director had me do the same thing the other day. I had no idea it was a test though, and sat directly opposite of her. My reasoning was simply that this was a business meeting and we needed to get down to business. I wasn't there to be all comfy with her. :chuckle Anyways, we had a very nice conversation. I walked away pleased with the meeting.
  12. by   jnette
    Quote from bbear
    Yes, I am aware of this test.

    There isn't necessarily a correct response. It is merely an indicator of your personality type and/or comfort level. The desk represents a barrier. If you sit on the other side of the desk it tells the interviewer you would prefer the barrier between the 2 of you. The chair beside the desk tells the interviewer you are more comfortable, but not completely. The chair right next to the interviewer demonstrates you are an outgoing and confident person.

    Of course, this test in and of itself tells the interviewer very little about you. It is only one measure they use along with their other observations to judge your personality.

    How I would handle the situation if confronted with it:

    1. I would ask the interviewer if he/she had a preference for where I sat.

    2. If they said they didn't, I would sit in the chair closest to the interviewer and I would give them a casual explanation for picking that seat, such as, "How about if I sit right beside you so I can hear you better."

    3. Depending upon how I read the interviewer, I might even jokingly add, "We don't want any barriers to come between us now, do we," just to let the interviewer know that I knew what they were doing and kind of cut the ice.
    Perfect ! And just as I would have chosen and done.

    But it took me many years to get to this level of personal confidence and comfort.
  13. by   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.
  14. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Thanks for the thoughts! I choose the chair right next to the interviewer thinking I would appear most confident (which I was ) By the way, the interview went well and I was offered the position!

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