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    right, so basically I had this telephone interview for a fundraising job (i know, im a bit stuck, thought its better than nothing) and the interview was going well, I researched the company. the charities they represent and answered questions regarding why I want the job and what I know about the company well. Then came the most stupid question/task I have ever been given (in my opinion). I was basically asked, to demonstrate my ability to start conversations and talk about something in particular, to talk about a pen for a whole minute. Yeah, a pen! I could understand being asked to do a role play by showcasing my ability to discuss a well known charity or something, but I was asked to talk about a pen. for a minute. Have to be honest, my mind went blank, could not really think what to say about a pen, after actually researching more relevant topics for the job.

    Anyway, I guess this was a rant, I was genuinely interesting in the job, up until the pen question. Anyone faced a similarly ridiculous question? Or am I being harsh about the relevance of this question?
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    Well it is actually quite pertinent to the job. You have to be able to think on your feet and chat a load of cobblers to hook people in.

    Half the time, chuggers are just looking for anything to start a conversation to get someone to stop and it may well be something on the same level of mundanity as a pen.

    Maybe you don't have the required skills for the job.
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    It was probably done to throw you off course and test you under pressure. IMO i would say that is a good interview question! anybody can research company information etc but to quickly think on your feet and talk about something so trivial would show alot about the individual
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    Some people are just born to talk ****. By that I mean ramble on & on about the most mundance, irrelevant and pointless topics, without actually saying anything at all.

    Probably a necessary quality for the job, but not one that I have any respect for.
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    I don't think talking *******s is relevant for the job, the whole idea is to raise awareness about charities and get people to donate. Prior to doing the job you receive training and information about the charity your raising money for and the job role itself. Therefore very little need for quick thinking about trivial matters. Im a geographer, I could talk about current issues until wind erosion destroys my car.
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    I actually like that as an interview question. At least it's different to the same tired questions that you're usually asked at job interviews.

    It gets you thinking. Not sure I could do it if I was put on the spot though.
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    During an interview for her current job, a friend of mine was asked whether she thought she was pretty.

    Sometimes interviewers don't know how to conduct an interview and think that asking stupid and quirky questions is good, without knowing what they seek to gain from asking such question.
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    (Original post by lexington7)
    I don't think talking *******s is relevant for the job, the whole idea is to raise awareness about charities and get people to donate. Prior to doing the job you receive training and information about the charity your raising money for and the job role itself. Therefore very little need for quick thinking about trivial matters. Im a geographer, I could talk about current issues until wind erosion destroys my car.
    You sound very naive. Sounds like it was a basic chugging job and you are making excuses because you lacked the ability for it.
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    I'd have attempted to talk about why the pen is inferior to the pencil.

    The question was there to check your ability to think on your feet, start conversation and remain engaging. Probably quite an important skill when your job is to stand on the street and convince people with better things to do to give you money.
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    (Original post by You Failed)
    Some people are just born to talk ****. By that I mean ramble on & on about the most mundance, irrelevant and pointless topics, without actually saying anything at all.

    Probably a necessary quality for the job, but not one that I have any respect for.
    I don't think that that is necessarily what the question is testing.


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    (Original post by Mark85)
    You sound very naive. Sounds like it was a basic chugging job and you are making excuses because you lacked the ability for it.
    Wise words, coming from someone who hasn't got a clue of what my work history includes and my current job, naive to make assumptions I think.
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    (Original post by lexington7)
    Wise words, coming from someone who hasn't got a clue of what my work history includes and my current job, naive to make assumptions I think.
    To be honest all they had to go on was your rant. Plus that is a fairly common interviewing tactic.

    I was once asked to describe my day-to-day life if I was a slug: what I do; what I would like; and what would be the greatest peril.


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    (Original post by lexington7)
    Wise words, coming from someone who hasn't got a clue of what my work history includes and my current job, naive to make assumptions I think.
    Your work history and current job are irrelevant.

    Fundraising is generally face-to-face sales or telesales.

    The task they gave you in the interview was a classic for those kind of roles.

    Bringing up the fact that you are a geographer and could talk about that just shows how naive you are. Yes, maybe a fundraising job doesn't explicitly advertise the fact that it is a high pressure sales job but I think most people are aware that that is what it is.
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    These sell me this pen question is actually one of the most common interview questions that are used in sales jobs. Basically, the interviewer looks down at their desk and says," Hey here's a pen can you sell it to me?" So what the interviewer is trying to do when asking you this question is understand your ability to develop a rapport, communicate, and sell something. Now like selling anything the key is to figure out what's in it for the person you are trying to sell it to. If you are trying to interview for a position in fundraising, you will have to connect the benefit of the donation to this person. So for instance, if it were for my university I would say, " Listen I know that you really value your experience as a undergraduate, and it's because of donations from alumni like you that the university is able to create those experiences for others and it's because of donations from people before you that you are able to have that experience. So now we asked that you return the favor that you had with your university experience, by making a small donation that gives other people the opportunity." With the case of the pen, you identify what they need this pen for and how can it benefit them specifically. So for instance, the value of blue ink verses black ink, thin tips verses narrow tips, economics of a certain type of pen, comfort, and whatever the feature of the pen that seems to be the strongest and seems to connect to the person across the desk. This is actually what you want to sell and focus on.
 
 
 
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