Question: Tell us about a time when you were strategic in order to meet your top priorities.
Specific situation: “Identified for my core competency, I was placed at the bottom of a human pyramid. When another clown said, ‘Pull my finger,’ a less empowered performer would have fallen for the gag, tugged the jokester’s finger, released an avalanche of flatulence, and launched a tsunami of guffaws.”
Task: “The best practice considering many moving parts? Hold perfectly still! In the most senior center-middle position, if I shifted, we’d roll like logs. We would’ve collapsed into a tangle of rainbow wigs and oversized buttons, noses, and shoes.”
Action: “My personal vision includes unyielding resolve. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and pressed my face into the elephant dung trampled into the dirt floor of the circus ring.”
Result: “100% of the clowns remained as a solid triangle with me as the trusty linchpin.”
Question: Describe a situation when you completed a task within a tight timeframe.
Specific situation: “At the rodeo, a bull’s response to prodding and rope can be intense.”
Task: “Safety protocols are my number one priority and a missed opportunity can mean serious injury. I don’t horse around. Riders and fellow staff depend on my timely and fearless yanks, pulls, tackles, and pushes.”
Action: “My paradigm includes both animal and rider athleticism. For example, when a Brahman bucked, the bareback rider lost her grip, flew two stories high, and landed face down, out cold. With a few seconds and no margin of error, I leveraged speed. From behind a barrel, in one fell swoop, I scooped the fallen rodeo star and sprinted towards the chute like a runner on a Pamplona street. At the entrance, I faked right, and dove us over a wooden wall. The frothing rank beast lunged into the pen, I kicked the door shut with my foot, and we all remained safe for a crowd cheering on-time delivery.”
Result: “Of the annual 250 rodeos, I saved over 25 clowns and 50 riders. Thanks to snap reactions and adaptability to the shifting needs and timeframes of a quick changing environment, I thrive by keeping them alive. Deadline? I say, lifeline. Fear is a delivery force multiplier.”
Question: Difficult clients can be challenging. How did you handle a ridiculous demand?
Specific situation: “Children are creative and have a limited grasp on reality. Their parents can be placating nightmares fearful of the word, ‘No.’ While making balloon animals for a group of gifted kids on a field trip, Little Quincy shared his new knowledge about Greek gods and requested Priapus.”
Task: “A dilemma of epic proportions, delivering a fertility caricature with a giant phallus to a child would have landed me on the sex offender registry. Mom crossed her arms and said, ‘Little Quincy always gets what he wants.’”
Action: “A customer relationship management guru, I overinflated an environmentally friendly long and slender non-latex polymer, twisted the expanded tube into an enormously well-endowed freak show, then pointed the satisfied mom and savant over to the dart-throwing carnival game.”
Result: “Priapus remained a myth and popped thanks to a barrage of stray darts. Two sobs later and ADHD Little Quincy’s short attention span shot over to Pan’s Maze. A 110% effort win-win situation.”
Question: “Discuss working in close proximity with someone whose personality conflicted with yours.”
Specific situation: “A clown without value and service doesn’t get booked. A trying-too-hard divorced dad acquired a dozen of us and a tiny car seating only five. I squirt and juggle water with flowers and bubbles. Another clown eats and throws fire. We’re the yin yang of the home circus party circuit.”
Task: “I treasure diversity and welcome the challenge of working in harmony with dozens of different independent contractors thrown together in the backyard of an apartment complex. Even opposing elements, like fire and water, can support each other when the situation gets out of control.”
Action: “Communication and listening without making assumptions are key. When the fire clown lit the BBQ with his dragon breath, I steered clear of his territory in the food zone. Instead, I literally rained on the kiddie-costume parade using a sprinkler from behind the topiaries. Inevitably, an escalation occurs, and some one or thing catches fire. Nine times out of ten it’s the birthday kid during the fire thrower’s candle-lighting finale.”
Result: “I rushed in with my trick bouquet, extinguished the flaming candles without wetting the frosting—or dampening the mood—and the bonus of 100% first-degree instead of third-degree burns. Plus, I never say, ‘I told you so.'”