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I have a question about an interview that I’m pretty sure I bombed recently.

Things were going fairly well until my interviewer asked me for my favorite book and favorite movie.

I completely blanked and took way too long to answer, and I’m not even sure what I said for them (I think I said Little Women for the book).

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My question is, what are interviewers looking for with these questions? They’re mostly just looking to get a better sense of who you are — to flesh you out as a person who they’d be working with day in and day out rather than just as a resume and work history.

I mean, obviously I guess they want someone who is intelligent, can think on their feet (which I did not do), and has varied interests, but how do you convey that with these types of answers? Sometimes hearing that the guy who seemed shy and a little stiff actually loves Wes Anderson movies and Sarah Vowell can show a different side of him and make him more relatable. If you said Twilight, I’d wonder about your judgment for saying it in an interview — although it wouldn’t stop me from hiring you if you were otherwise great (but 50 Shades of Grey might).

I can come up with an answer to the book question now (I’m planning to say I’ve been into Neil de Grasse Tyson’s books recently, because I have), but I’m stumped as far as movies in case I get asked this again. But generally answers to these questions fall in the “mildly interesting but not terribly important” category.

My movie tastes aren’t exactly sophisticated (Mean Girls? Say it with confidence and genuine enthusiasm, and you’re probably fine.

People who are passionate about things are interesting. Personally, for movies I’d probably go with, “I’m not sure about a favorite, but I recently saw ____ and loved it. ” (Fill in the blank with something of reasonable quality.) And for books, I’d go with “I’m currently reading ___ and I just finished ___” or “I tend to read a lot of (fill in genre here) and recently finished ____.” Of course, some genres are safer than others — some people have weird biases against sci-fi and fantasy, and obviously don’t say romance.

That said, are there interviewers who have rigid ideas about what answers are okay here and which aren’t, and who will read all sorts of things into your response? But historic fiction, contemporary fiction, nonfiction, biographies, 18th century British novels are all fine.Overall, though, I just wouldn’t read too much into the question or stress too much over your answer. Don't want to be a richer man Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-Changes. ): Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-Changes. So we'll just set things straight, put things back in their natural order. If he doesn't kick in a skull every couple days, he gets real touchy. And everybody that was affected, it was like they woke up out of a dream. Ness: Look, you seem like a swell guy, Lester, and I want to help you out, I do, but my partner here? And he's spent the last two years kicking in Nazi skulls.

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