Career & Education

8 of the worst interview questions

Sunday, November 25, 2018

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Applying for a job can be a nerve-wracking experience. Crafting that cover letter to speak the recruiter's language, to organising the resume to effectively tell the story of one's education and training can be a real struggle since you're never really sure what exactly they are looking for. Then there's the interview. After waiting by the phone for days or weeks on end, you finally get the call. You choose your best outfit, rehearse a few standard questions and D-day comes. You think you're ready. Only to be hit by a series of strange questions that leave you befuddled about the position for which you applied.

We polled some of our readers and came up with a list of 10 of the worst questions ever asked in an interview.

1. Out of 100 people how many would you say hate you and why?

“I fail to see what bearing this question even remotely had on the role for which I was applying. Furthermore, what is the usefulness of keeping tabs on who likes you and who doesn't? How does that affect my ability to fulfil the requirements of the job?”

— S Hamilton

2. If you could be an animal which would you be and why?

“I actually thought about answering this properly, like telling them a lion or something to show strength, but I thought it wouldn't align with the job — a nurse practitioner. Then I just froze and the only other animal I could think of was a ladybug. Needless to say, I didn't get the job.

— F Miller

3. Tell me about yourself

“If I ever get asked this question again I'm going to call them out on it. I went to an interview once and the guy had clearly not reviewed my resume. He hadn't even bothered to bring a copy into the room with him. And then he asked me that. I was just deflated because I sensed a lack of interest.”

— S Grey

4. What is your biggest weakness?

“I feel like this question is setting the candidate up for failure. What if he/she decides to be honest and reveal a trait that ends up disqualifying them for the position? Would he/she score points for being honest? Why would a potential employee tell you their flaws when trying to get their foot in the door?

— M E

5. How much did you earn in your last job?

“Why does that matter? The only reason I can think of is that the recruiter is delibreately trying to lowball me. Either that, or if the answer is too high, they'll eliminate me from consideration because they're not going to offer that much. Why not just pay me what I'm worth according to my skills and experience?”

— J Walker

6. Why do you want to leave your current job?

“I think this is so unprofessional. Do they expect me to say I hated my previous boss?” That question seems a test of how diplomatic you are and attempts to gauge whether you will 'badtalk' an employer. I get that. But what if I decide to be honest and say I hated it? What then?”

— M Teragram

7. Several other people applied for this job. Why should we hire you?

“I was asked this very recently and I just said because I'm the best and gave them a blank stare. Am I supposed to compare myself with people I don't even know?”

— C Bailey

8. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

“ This does not relate to the job post in any way! I don't understand why answering it would help the employer to make a decision.”

K Williams

We've heard too, about some others that are illegal in some countries because of their potential for discrimination— questions related to age, identity, citizenship, politics, and motherhood specifically.

Some examples: Are you pregnant? /Are you married? /Do you have kids you'll have to pick up from school each day?

* Are there any religious holidays you observe?

* What year did you graduate?

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