Being on the receiving end of an interview can be a nerve-racking experience. While some interviewers like to put candidates at ease, others like to throw curve-balls to assess how quickly the candidate can think on their feet.
But some interview questions are asked solely for the entertainment of the interviewer and to assert power over the poor sucker vying for a job.
And while I’ve heard many great interview questions that really assess the person who has applied for the position, conversely, I’ve heard some of the dumbest, most irrelevant, near-illegal questions ever uttered in an interview.
For the interviewer, it’s crucial to understand the question behind the question and to frame it in the right context. Great questions are formed around knowing what information to look for.
The interviewer wants to know how the candidate’s mind works, problem solving ability, how they work within a team, how they get motivated, and how they’d fit within the organization.
That’s how an interview should be. Sometimes, it degenerates into a barrage of trick questions and childish one-upmanship with co-interviewers.
Here, for your enjoyment and horror, are some of the most idiotic questions ever asked at interview – by the interviewer.
1. Can you do this job?
Congratulations Sherlock, you’ve solved the case. This question is so empty I can see dust floating around in the interviewer’s skull.
2. What superhero would you be and why?
When I was 6 years old, I contemplated this question with deep thought and analysis. That’s the only age group it should be applied to.
3. If you were a kitchen appliance what would you be?
Let me go have a look around my kitchen and get back to you… OK, I found this. It’s a pizza cutter. That’s an appliance, right?
4. If you had to present to a group of animals, which animals would you pick?
Oh, this one is easy. I’d present to a pack of meerkats so that everyone is standing to attention. And they’re just so damn cute lookin’.
5. What is the funniest joke you’ve heard recently?
This could end in disaster. A dirty joke can help the candidate seem like ‘one of the guys’ or a lame joke could make them look like a dumb-ass. Surely, this is a dangerous question to answer.
6. Would you ever date your boss and why?
And speaking of dangerous, what is the interviewer even thinking? Seriously.
7. Here’s a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Draw an elephant.
While not really a question, what bizarro world have we stepped into? Assuming this is some kind of a test, I can only guess it’s to assess the candidate’s willingness to go beyond his job description. But in the end – he’s just drawing a freakin’ elephant.
8. Can I see your wallet?
Isn’t this how magic tricks begin?
9. What would you do if someone spat on you?
Don’t make any sudden moves. This could be a threat.
10. Are you willing to put your job before your family?
So not fair! And apparently against federal law to ask!
11. Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
“Sorry, I thought I was being interviewed for an office job, not a ______ job.”
12. Did you ever have trouble starting your car?
“Yes, I did. It was a decade ago and the battery was flat. I called for assistance. Did you ever have trouble asking relevant questions?”
13. Do you have an Internet?
Yes, sir. I have one in my pocket.
14. How do you define sexual harassment?
See question #6 and #11.
15. Should doctors be upset about Dr. Pepper?
If the doctor’s name is Dr. Pepper and he’s being teased about being a soda drink, then perhaps …
16. What’s your greatest weakness?
I’d have to say meerkats. Yes, definitely meerkats.
17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you are a candidate and ever get asked this question, please promise me you will answer “sitting in your chair”. That long awkward pause while the interviewer wonders what you mean will be hilarious. Getting kicked out onto the street – not so much.
BONUS GOOD QUESTIONS
- Tell me – in no more than 2 words – what you think we do?
- When was the last time you lost your temper and what for?
- Have you ever had to sacrifice quality to achieve targets?
Readers, what are some of the dumbest questions you have been asked – or did the asking – in an interview?