Some questions seem like they are meant to trip you up and give a bad answer, and that certainly seems to be the case with something like: “If you could get rid of any one of the US states, which one would you get rid of and why”
Be wary of this question. It could be a way for the interviewer to get a sense of your political leanings if you get rid of a state that is too red or too blue. Employers cannot ask outright about your political viewpoints, so questions like this are meant to sidestep that issue. However, that is not always the case and many employers are just asking it to get a sense of your thought process.
Points to Emphasize
Interviewers want to know how you would think through a tough problem, so if asked this question, emphasize these points.
- You can start your response by talking about the company or county as a whole
- Feel free to ask for a moment to think it through (just don’t take too long)
- Work through a couple of different scenarios
- Come up with a logical explanation
Your response is not necessarily what a hiring manager is looking for. Instead, an interviewer is trying to see how you work through problems, so focus your answer on the process.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Answering this question poorly can really sink an interview, so be careful to avoid these common traps.
- Avoid saying you want to eliminate a state for political reasons
- Don’t avoid answering the question altogether
- Don’t say a state without also giving a reason
- Don’t rush toward an answer
Immediately saying a state without putting any thought into it can put up several red flags. This is a question where it is okay to spend a few seconds contemplating your response. Every moment of the interview does not have to be filled up with talking.
After you have taken a few moments to collect your thoughts, you answer should go along the lines of:
Well, I noticed that this company does not currently have locations in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota, so for the benefit of the organization I might say one of those. Although I was curious, is the company planning to expand in those markets any time soon
This is a great response because it shows that you have done your research into the company, and you are technically not giving a single state to get rid of. It also redirects the conversation back toward the company and what you could provide to it.