Classic interview questions

If you had to kill someone, who would it be?

What have you been most wrong about?

My father would have killed me (on the boundaries between abortion and infanticide)

My wife is willing to divorce me (the tale of “all men are bastards”)

Have you ever worn odd shoes? Could you envision it?

When have you spent < £100 on something that gave you an immense amount of satisfaction?

What’s the biggest coincidence you’ve ever experienced?

  • A coincidence is “A surprising concurrence of events with no apparent causal connection.”
  • I like this one
  • Another famous one is a man picks ups ringing pay phone, and it’s a lady trying to get hold of him but she dialled his payroll number by mistake. But David Spiegelhalter claims to have 10 other examples of this happening! (see his website)
  • Luck = chance taken personally
  • We may underestimate the likelihood of chance meetings due to hidden networks

Do you sincerely believe in any conspiracy theories?

Is cunning a good trait?

  • “Instead of following an open, clearly understandable line of behaviour, cunning is calculating how other people will react to certain forms of behaviour which are hiding the end game”… “this ability to assess things rapidly and then to act in a way that is not immediately readable/ understandable by the people around us in order to get an advantage that some people will doubtless feel is an unfair advantage” (Tim Parkes, translator of Machiavelli who, incidentally, was always truthful towards his wife)

Tell that story, the time you did the wrong thing because you were scared (link)

When were you at your happiest?

Do you have a favourite joke?

Tell me about the time you met the right person at the wrong time. (It doesn’t need to be romantic).

Imagine your funeral, and your family and friends have had a few drinks and are thinking of you. They want to make an idiosyncratic gesture to your memory. What would they do? What should they do?

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