In the Navy
My friend’s father, was a retired Naval aviator who had been stationed in, and later retired to the Central Florida town where I spent my high school years.
The military base was later decommissioned and now known as the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.
At my friend’s house one evening, The Commander told me a story of a Navy buddy who in his first post-military interview was asked this question:
“Do you have experience flying over mountainous terrain?”
The man’s response was this: “I have flown numerous missions over Mount Dora.”
He told the truth.
Mount Dora is a small town, about 30 miles NW of Orlando. If you’d like, you can become acquainted with Mount Dora in this 3-minute video:
If you’re perplexed by the absence of mountainous terrain, there is a very simple reason for that: there is none. Central Florida is pancake-flat.
Mount Dora’s peak elevation is 182 ft. It wouldn’t be that hard for a toddler to reach Mount Dora’s peak on a tricycle.
However, the candidate had given a truthful response, even if it didn’t address the question.
And it sounded great.
The man was offered the job shortly after the interview.
Is Truth Enough?
I don’t know anything the man’s skill in flying a plane, or the job’s responsibilities or experience requirements.
Nor do I know anything about the context of the question, the “Mount Dora” line might have been a joke. I wasn’t there.
Though I’ve occasionally thought of being in a similar interview scenario and wondered how I might answer.
If somebody were to ask if I’d ever scaled a high-altitude peak? I could say “I climbed Mount Dora.” and that would be true. If pressed further, I could provide a vivid, truthful account:
“I was 16. We set up a base camp–in a municipal parking garage where we left my brother-in-law’s Volaré–and reached the peak 2 minutes later. The view of gift shops, bakeries and shuffleboard courts was absolutely stunning.”
Except it wouldn’t answer the interviewer’s question. I’d likely just say no.
Though it’s probably a moot point in modern times. A hiring manager might react with “Whoa, if true.” but could see how flimsy my answer was in a few seconds after a damn good Googling.