Author Topic: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache  (Read 3717 times)

Miss Piggy

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Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« on: June 06, 2017, 05:41:47 PM »
For various reasons (long employment, started own business, worked as a contractor, etc.), I haven't had a legit job interview in about 20 years. But on a whim, I recently applied for a "real job" and was called for an interview. I was fairly prepared (I say that with a grain of salt...as prepared as someone can be when having not interviewed in such a long time and not being certain they really want the job), but I was really flummoxed when the following questions were asked:

Interviewer's question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
What I wanted to say:
- Seriously, people are still asking this question?
- Um...retired. Yep...no longer working. Not here, not anywhere.
What I actually said: Honestly, I don't even remember what I said. Some BS about wanting to do rewarding work helping people discover and learn new things. Ugh.

Interviewer's question: What are you most proud of?
What I wanted to say:
- Well, the stuff I'm most proud of has nothing to do with any job, work, career, etc. I'm pretty damn proud of the fact that I survived cancer, have a paid off house, and am financially independent. I'll be really proud if the market doesn't crash and I retire in two years. In fact, I don't really need this job at all and I could technically retire today if not for the ambiguity of healthcare coverage over the next 20 years.
What I actually said: My education; finishing multiple master's degrees; cultivating strong, long-lasting personal relationships (gasp!) that don't involve Facebook.

Interviewer's question: Do you want to manage people in the future?
What I wanted to say:
- Fuck no.
What I actually said: I would consider it. Honestly, I've been a contractor for so long, it's just not something I've given any thought to.


So...yeah...not expecting an offer to come out of this effort! LOL!




MsPeacock

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 05:47:24 PM »
I feel that those sort of standard questions are mostly just checking to see if you are a crazy person. Can you give a reasonable, socially acceptable response? If so, good. If not, well then they move along to the next candidate.

ejacobson

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 05:50:58 PM »
It actually doesn't sound bad to me. These are reasonable answers. I wish employers would drop the first question.

Daisy

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 09:56:37 PM »
I feel that those sort of standard questions are mostly just checking to see if you are a crazy person. Can you give a reasonable, socially acceptable response? If so, good. If not, well then they move along to the next candidate.

I love the "What I wanted to say" portion! Would answering this way fall under the "crazy person" category?

JG in Hangzhou

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 02:00:37 AM »
Those are horrible questions for anyone who has been out of school for more than 2 years.
What ever happened to "Why do you want this job?" "What makes you think you can do this job?"  "If I'm your boss, how will you make my job easier?" 
The problem is interviews are not done by the actual bosses anymore.  Corporations have risk adverse brains, successful people have risk taking brains.  To get hired into a corp, you need to prove you are not a risk. 
Makes me wonder why I didn't quit and start my own business sooner.   All those years thinking I could slay the corporate Dragons.  Finally, I realized I was just feeding them.   Better to walk away and earn my own money.
I think you are better off as a free lance contractor.   Avoid compromising your moral standards and self dignity.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 05:49:22 PM »
Those are horrible questions for anyone who has been out of school for more than 2 years.
Corporations have risk adverse brains, successful people have risk taking brains.  To get hired into a corp, you need to prove you are not a risk. 

I agree. And of course, saying I wanted to retire in 2-3 years would have made me not hireable.

And yeah, those questions are probably great for someone under 25.

gooki

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 12:21:23 AM »
Interviewer's question: Do you want to manage people in the future?
What I wanted to say:
- Fuck no.

I actually went with Fuck no to that question.
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Erma

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 02:18:58 AM »
I was once asked why I wanted the job and answered to earn money. I got the job.

gaja

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 02:41:34 AM »
The last time I was in an interview, I think I spent more time interviewing the employer than vice versa; how much freedom would I get regarding working from home, choosing projects and tasks, etc? would I get enough resources (equipment, project funding...)? Could I work in peace and quiet, or would there be a lot of social stuff stealing time?

I got the job, and most of what they told me is true.Good employers like people who choose to work there, instead of working there because they have to.
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iowajes

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 07:49:11 AM »
If I interviewed you two of your what you want to say answers would have been fine. Being proud to have beaten cancer and not wanting to manage people. 

I don't want to hire someone on a management track who doesn't want to be there. (We have people who manage people and people who manage projects.)

And if I didn't specify professional accomplishment, it makes perfect sense to have pride in your hard fought health. We like people who have work-life balance as an important value. All work means burnout and turnover.

Uturn

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 08:38:29 AM »
Not giving the answers the interviewer wants is sometimes a blessing.  I loved my previous job, good hours, good co-workers, I liked what I did.  Then my boss left and was replaced.  He scheduled a get to know each other meeting, which felt more like an interview.  He asked things like where I see myself in five years and what can we do to help me move into management.  When I said that I didn't want to move to management and that I would be perfectly happy to still be in my same position in five years, he called me lazy.  I explained that I am a high performer and due to my skills an output, the team was smaller than when I was hired in.  As far as not wanting to move to management, I said that I was a very good engineer, love being an engineer, and why would I want to leave that for a position doing things that I don't like and am not good at?  He mentioned more money.  I said that everyone would like more money, but it is not worth it to me if it means not enjoying my job.  That job went from one of the best I ever had to one of the worst.  I left about a year later, as did the other top performers that reported to him. 

If this manager was the hiring manager when I interviewed, I would not have taken the job. 
It's not about money, it's about mindset

RetiredAt63

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 11:14:03 AM »
If this manager was the hiring manager when I interviewed, I would not have taken the job.

Speculation - maybe managers who really like being managers feel that everyone wants or should want to be managers, and those that don't are somehow shirking or lying or some other negative?  Plus if you like what you are doing then they can't do little power trips on you with promotion to management as the carrot.
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ysette9

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 11:56:01 AM »
A good manager does explore growth opportunities with employees and encourages them to spread their wings. However good managers do not actively campaign for people to do things they say they are not interested in doing. It is a problem when management appears to be the path to advancement because you end up with people who aren't qualified or are in it for no other reason than the money. Management is a skill to learn and practice just like anything else. At least in my company the pay scales are the same for management and individual contributors, in an attempt to weed out the folks who would become a leader just for more money. That isn't to say it is perfect, but it is a start.
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Dicey

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 11:45:55 AM »
I'd have hired you based on your cancer experience and financial savvy alone. Oh, wait, I'm FIRE, I never have to conduct or give another interview again, whew!

Hey, let's just be friends, 'cause we have some major life experiences in common.
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rocketpj

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 10:57:43 AM »
Interviewing is equal parts screening for red flags and skimming for reasons to think  the field. 

Backthe stone age when I had to hire a tree planting crew every year I learned a few things about hiring.   

1.  Interviewing tells you nothing about the quality of a person, aside from their ability to interview.  I hired people that looked great on paper and interviewed really well that utterly stunk at the job.
2.  A person's values and intelligence matter more than anything.
3.  Poor and/or frugal people are better, more motivated employees.  There is nothing worse than depending on an employee who is entitled or coddled enough to quit someday because it's raining and there are literally no negative consequences to quitting (to use a real life example). 

In later years I hired almost exclusively on recommendations of people I knew, and when I had to hire extras I only spoke with people who called me multiple times. 


clairebonk

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2017, 11:05:19 AM »
I am a consultant and had a business lunch meeting this week before the start of a new contract. Expensive restaurant, CEO ordered 2 nice bottles of wine for 3 people. It was so much fun. But I had to pretend that what we spent for ONE MEAL wasn't my food budget for ONE MONTH. It's hard to hide my mustachian qualities in the business world, but I feel its really necessary.

iceberg8

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2017, 01:41:13 PM »
I think you are abnormal, weird. You think, therefore you are not good for such job. They do not like intelligent people, they want some stupid sheep to work for them.
These question they ask, I think that's weird psycho tactic, and no asnwer is correct. But hell, I would fail to get job, but since I am also a contractor and can work anytime I wish (since my 18). It's like being in half FIRE state.
Who cares if I fail to answer such question, who cares for the system.
You should let it go.. do what you like, do what you know to do...

Interviewer's question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
I can't see the future, but it's too wide question, you should narrow it down. If work related, I would like to be a manager, asking qeustions like you (implicating he does no job but wasting time with questions with no sense, but thats too rubbish)

Interviewer's question: What are you most proud of?
Out of context - I am proud of every single tiny bit of my life achievements. Can split it up. Perhaps my GF. I beleive it was a good catch.

Interviewer's question: Do you want to manage people in the future?
It all depends on what I get in return. And what kind of people would that be. More yes, than no.

I would fail for sure. :D
ignorance is bliss

deadlymonkey

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2017, 06:47:06 AM »
When I interview people I always ask technical questions.  If it is for a non technical position, then I ask them to explain something technical (related to the position) in a way a layman might understand.  For example, a computer network professional would need to discuss networking and programming etc...  A manager for a team should at least be able to explain basic networking principals or something along those lines even if they do not have the slightest ability to code.

Stubblestache

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2017, 09:15:44 AM »
I always think questions like that miss the point a bit that as well as making sure you are a good candidate, interviewers should also be trying to sell the job to you.

As you say, you weren't that fussed about the gig. It doesn't sound like they did all that much to change your mind.

I'm self employed, had an interview a while back. It would have been a fairly chunky pay cut, but i was freaking out and wanted things like a company pension and all those other perks. They raked me over the coals in the interview, which is fine, but when I asked them reasonable questions about the job  - what's the pay? What are promotion prospects? Why has there been such a huge turnover of staff recently?  - they totally clammed up and refused to answer some of them. It was amazing.

almost needless to say I didn't bother contacting them afterwards. That was two years ago and I've not regretted it a single day since.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2017, 09:53:09 AM »
If this was in the United States:

As someone who has conducted interviews on behalf of my company:

HR provided me with a list of questions.  I did not have to ask all of them, I could ask only them.  I had to ask every single person interviewing for that position the identical set.  Meaning if for some reason I asked someone the where do you see yourself in five years question I had to ask everyone that.  And record their response.

Imagine if every old person that came in I didn't ask that question as a young interviewer (because in five years they expect to be dead obviously!).  It would show a bias.

This sort of nonsense is the result of an overly litigious society.

What I was actually looking for in hiring was not a specific answer, what I was looking for was an awareness of how stupid the question was, but a willingness to go along with the charade.  Work is, at times, stupid and pointless.  Regardless, I need that piece of paper filled out and I don't want to do it so I need you to do it and not whine about it.  Did we laugh during the interview, were you at ease, could you drink from a cup of coffee without soiling yourself, did you instead need nonfat wheatgrass hippy juice, did you manage to have a conversation and sell yourself for about an hour without needing to take a phone call, were you presentable, did you show up on time, did you have a copy of your resume, do you park like an asshole?

As in, in the hour we spent together was there anything about the interaction that would make me think you're going to be a pain in the ass?  The questions are because if we have an open ended conversation, sociopaths can easily guide that to a place where the company now has to pay you for discriminatory hiring practices.

I really enjoyed interviewing once I'd done a stint as the interviewer.  The whole process is far more fun when both sides of the table understand what you're doing.  The problem is if one side or the other thinks the interview is about the questions, it's a bad time.
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eostache

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2017, 06:03:04 PM »
At my last job interview (a panel interview) they asked me what was my greatest accomplishment. I said that I put myself through college without borrowing money. They seemed to like that answer.

I got the job. This was just last month.

I do not feel like I was a very strong candidate for that job skills-wise, but they liked me a lot. I have a recent BS degree (2009), I'm near 50, and had been unemployed for 3 years. I'm not even remotely close to FI but I have some savings and know how to live very frugal so I was not desperate for a job but looking for a decent job. I prepared well for this interview and they really liked that. It's a job that they wanted people they could teach and I said that I wanted to learn anything they would teach me.

They hired 3 of us: myself and two guys in their 20s. One guy mentioned that he has $50k in student loans. I did not tell him that I have no student loans. I did mention to both these guys to take a look at the MMM website but they have not said anything about it yet.

Drifterrider

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2017, 09:29:26 AM »
I can teach you how to do the job.  I can't teach you how to think on your feet or even to think at all.

Many interview questions are to get you to talk.  Are you articulate?  Are you personable?  Am I going to regret hiring you because you are YOU?

The only time I want the smartest guy in the room regardless of disposition is if he is my doctor.  I don't have to like him or see him much if he is smart.  For all else, if you can't get along with me you will not last.

The job I'm in now (for the past 17 years) one question was "Why do you want this job"?  My answer was "Because I don't have a trust fund and didn't win the lottery".  The interviewer replied "Me either, so I work".

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2017, 04:22:39 PM »
The questions you were asked were pretty normal in my opinion, I've seen much worse.  How would you answer these doozies:

1. What are your 3 biggest weaknesses?

2. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager.

3. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work.

Danger Will Robinson!

Manager's just checking to make sure you are open to criticism, aren't a yes-man but will handle disputes respectfully and still toe the line, and know enough to come forward with your mistakes.

I disagreed with previous supervisor a lot, but he disagreed with himself a lot, too. Every time he issued contradictory instructions. :)

Miss Piggy

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2017, 07:36:20 AM »
The questions you were asked were pretty normal in my opinion, I've seen much worse.  How would you answer these doozies:

1. What are your 3 biggest weaknesses?

2. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager.

3. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work.

OP here. Interestingly, your questions 2 and 3 were pretty much asked, and I had great answers to those. Weaknesses? Meh...I could  have answered that question pretty well if I'd had to, but they didn't ask. I just wasn't prepared for the questions I brought up in my original post. I agree that they're pretty normal questions; they just weren't questions I was prepared to answer, and they threw me off-guard. I guess those questions that threw me off felt more personal than I was prepared to share/answer, and I was unable to quickly come up with examples/information I was willing to share with strangers. I'm a pretty private person and looking back, the questions felt way too personal to me. That probably was not the interviewer's intent...I'm sure they were wanting professional/work-related examples; that's just not where my mind went.

GuitarStv

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2017, 08:04:38 AM »
For various reasons (long employment, started own business, worked as a contractor, etc.), I haven't had a legit job interview in about 20 years. But on a whim, I recently applied for a "real job" and was called for an interview. I was fairly prepared (I say that with a grain of salt...as prepared as someone can be when having not interviewed in such a long time and not being certain they really want the job), but I was really flummoxed when the following questions were asked:

Interviewer's question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
What I wanted to say:
- Seriously, people are still asking this question?
- Um...retired. Yep...no longer working. Not here, not anywhere.
What I actually said: Honestly, I don't even remember what I said. Some BS about wanting to do rewarding work helping people discover and learn new things. Ugh.

Interviewer's question: What are you most proud of?
What I wanted to say:
- Well, the stuff I'm most proud of has nothing to do with any job, work, career, etc. I'm pretty damn proud of the fact that I survived cancer, have a paid off house, and am financially independent. I'll be really proud if the market doesn't crash and I retire in two years. In fact, I don't really need this job at all and I could technically retire today if not for the ambiguity of healthcare coverage over the next 20 years.
What I actually said: My education; finishing multiple master's degrees; cultivating strong, long-lasting personal relationships (gasp!) that don't involve Facebook.

Interviewer's question: Do you want to manage people in the future?
What I wanted to say:
- Fuck no.
What I actually said: I would consider it. Honestly, I've been a contractor for so long, it's just not something I've given any thought to.


So...yeah...not expecting an offer to come out of this effort! LOL!


It sounds like you were answering interview questions as though they were coming from a friend.  They're not.  Nothing being asked in a job interview is personal.  The interviewer doesn't care about you as a person.  They don't want an answer to the surface question, they want to know that you'll be a good fit in their company.  Interviewing is basically about convincing the people doing the hiring that you're what they're looking for, while simultaneously trying to size up if they suck to work for or not.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

- Take the job description
- pick three or four attributes from the job that you feel you're strongest at
- Respond "I'd really like to be doing something that lets me <attribute 1> and <attribute 2> with some time spent <attribute 3>ing.

What are you most proud of?
- Take the job description
- pick one or two successful projects that you've worked on in the past that closely match with items in the description
- Respond "Well, I was really proud about my work doing <project1> because of the success overcoming <problem1>, <problem2>, and <problem3>.  It also let me really work on <attribute 1> and <attribute 2>, and provided great value to my previous employer because of <benefit 1>.

Do you want to manage people in the future?
You gave a non-answer that indicated you don't think very much about the future.  That's a big red flag to interviewers.  You need a firm yes or no to the question, and you need to provide reasons why this is good for the position that they're hiring for.
- Respond "I've had some experience with the responsibilities of management before at <job1> and <job2>,
    - and, I prefer being the technical guy that others come to for answers.  <Give some examples related to job description.>
    - and I really enjoy taking a leadership role. <List examples where you took a leadership role that resulted in success for the company, try to die back to job description>

Miss Piggy

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2017, 08:22:39 AM »
It sounds like you were answering interview questions as though they were coming from a friend.  They're not.  Nothing being asked in a job interview is personal.  The interviewer doesn't care about you as a person.  They don't want an answer to the surface question, they want to know that you'll be a good fit in their company.  Interviewing is basically about convincing the people doing the hiring that you're what they're looking for, while simultaneously trying to size up if they suck to work for or not.

Yes, I think you are onto something here. With those questions, my mind went to "personal" when it should have gone "job." I wasn't in "job" frame of mind since I wasn't really sure I wanted the job, so that was my downfall on those questions.

Regardless, I did get the offer, much to my surprise. I guess overall, I did well enough on the other questions they asked.

gaja

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2017, 10:20:29 AM »
It sounds like you were answering interview questions as though they were coming from a friend.  They're not.  Nothing being asked in a job interview is personal.  The interviewer doesn't care about you as a person.  They don't want an answer to the surface question, they want to know that you'll be a good fit in their company.  Interviewing is basically about convincing the people doing the hiring that you're what they're looking for, while simultaneously trying to size up if they suck to work for or not.

Yes, I think you are onto something here. With those questions, my mind went to "personal" when it should have gone "job." I wasn't in "job" frame of mind since I wasn't really sure I wanted the job, so that was my downfall on those questions.

Regardless, I did get the offer, much to my surprise. I guess overall, I did well enough on the other questions they asked.
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robartsd

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Re: Messed up a job interview...blaming the mustache
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2017, 10:42:46 AM »
In later years I hired almost exclusively on recommendations of people I knew, and when I had to hire extras I only spoke with people who called me multiple times.
What I was actually looking for in hiring was not a specific answer, what I was looking for was an awareness of how stupid the question was, but a willingness to go along with the charade.  Work is, at times, stupid and pointless.  Regardless, I need that piece of paper filled out and I don't want to do it so I need you to do it and not whine about it.  Did we laugh during the interview, were you at ease, could you drink from a cup of coffee without soiling yourself, did you instead need nonfat wheatgrass hippy juice, did you manage to have a conversation and sell yourself for about an hour without needing to take a phone call, were you presentable, did you show up on time, did you have a copy of your resume, do you park like an asshole?

As in, in the hour we spent together was there anything about the interaction that would make me think you're going to be a pain in the ass?  The questions are because if we have an open ended conversation, sociopaths can easily guide that to a place where the company now has to pay you for discriminatory hiring practices.

I really enjoyed interviewing once I'd done a stint as the interviewer.  The whole process is far more fun when both sides of the table understand what you're doing.  The problem is if one side or the other thinks the interview is about the questions, it's a bad time.
I can teach you how to do the job.  I can't teach you how to think on your feet or even to think at all.

Many interview questions are to get you to talk.  Are you articulate?  Are you personable?  Am I going to regret hiring you because you are YOU?

I really appreciate these comments from the other side of the interview table.

This sort of nonsense is the result of an overly litigious society.
Once I heard a story from an interviewer (being told in the context of how to approach an interview as a candidate) where a candidate for a position at a small to medium sized organization brought up personal medical information that made it obvious to the interviewer that adding this candidate to the group's medical coverage would signficiantly increase costs. She felt the interviewee was intentionally setting them up for a lawsuit - she shut down hiring for the position rather than risk the lawsuit.