Killer Interview Question: What Is Your Favourite Quote?

Another addition to the career-derailing killer interview questions collection: what is your favourite quote?.

Quotation marks picture from Shutterstock

This question is deployed by Hasbro VP Karen Davis, and she argues that it's more important that you have an answer than the content of the answer itself. "I want to see that somebody has been looking for sources of inspiration," she told Business Insider.

In some cases, the quote might relate more directly to the task you perform. One of my key writing principles is "Be precise, be concise" and I'd undoubtedly bring that up if I was interviewing for an editorial role. If you're a developer, the comment that debugging is like being the detective when you're also the murderer. would ring true.

How would you answer the question? (If you're stumped, check out some of our quotables posts for ideas.)

The curveball interview question one exec always asks [Business Insider]


    "Drink" Fr Jack on the Father Ted TV show.

    I believe it's an old Arabic saying, but I first saw it in one of the "Dune" books and it has stuck with me for decades now. Whenever I have to deal with something I'm not happy about, I use the phrase "This too shall pass" it really helps. :)

    "People. What a bunch of bastards!" - Roy (Chris O'Dowd), IT Crowd

    Charles Babbage invented a mechanical computer that could do fairly complicated math.

    "On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."

    "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." -The late, great, incomparable Douglas Adams

    "Lady, people aren't chocolates, do you know what they are mostly? Bastard coated bastards with bastard fillings..." - Dr. Cox.

    I think it's a little depressing that interviewers would measure candidates by such superficial criteria. So I'm not a competent employee if I'm not into inspirational bullshit?

    What next? If you don't have a copy of the "hang in there" cat poster, you're no good either? Ridiculous.

    I overheard a colleague recently saying "Bin applicants who don't say they have a LinkedIn account". I wished I had the authority to fire that jackass then and there.

      Unfortunately employers find ways like these to cut down the pack of applicants they have.
      From memory there was a lifehacker article a few months back that said that using the right email domain was part of the criteria for Kogan.

        Yeah I remember that article.

        Maybe this is a good thing, but in reverse. It allows applicants to inadvertently weed out idiotic employers - if your application is culled by one of these stupid policies, it's actually a positive for the applicant.

    "Not my circus, not my monkeys." (I've been told it's a Polish proverb)

    “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

    "Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger-all down here on Earth"

    I do wonder how well that would go down in an interview.

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