Be Prepared For an Interview – Even If You Already Have a Job

By Christy Eichelberger

I have been at my current job for about three years now. One of my managers recently retired and was replaced with a new hire. Shortly after starting the job, my new manager set up a one-on-one meeting with each member of our team in order to get to know us and understand our role on her team.

I had had the opportunity to meet her briefly when she came in for her initial interview and was not nervous when it was time for my one-on-one meeting. I knew we had some things in common, like the fact that we had each had a baby recently. I sat in her office and we casually discussed our backgrounds, how long we've been living and working in the area, and even daycare options. The meeting was going well and seemed to be winding down when she completely caught me off guard and asked, "If you could be anything in the refrigerator, what would you be and why?"

Up until that moment, we had been having a conversation that didn't really require me to think a whole lot. We were just talking, sharing general information. Then she threw this question at me out of the blue and all of a sudden I felt like I was being interviewed for a job I already have. So after a moment of thought, I gave my response.

Milk. I would be milk.

As soon as it came out of my mouth I began to doubt myself. Why did I say milk? How was I going to explain that? Did it even make sense to want to be milk? What did that response tell her about me?

I gave an explanation. Milk is one of those basic groceries that you always need. If you need to run out to the store, it's usually because you're out of eggs, bread, or milk. That's right. Milk. It's a staple. You can drink it by itself, you can mix it with different flavors, you can add it into other ingredients to make something entirely different. Milk is good. And even if you're lactose intolerant, there's always soy milk or almond milk.

When I left the meeting I felt fine about my response, but not great. It made me realize two things. First, you should always be prepared for an interview, even if you're not going on an interview. You never know when someone is going to ask you an off-the-wall question that really forces you to think about yourself and how you should respond. Second, even if you're not prepared, you shouldn't panic. The first thing that comes to your mind does so for a reason. Take a minute to think about your response, and make sure you can back it up.

As long as you can explain yourself, and your response makes sense, you'll be fine. Take me, for example. In my book, it's good to want to be milk. What would you be?