This article is based on the AskReddit question “What’s the most ridiculous question you’ve been asked on a job interview?”
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
A dam has burst, and you have two teams of people working in two caves downstream. If you do nothing, the water kills half the people in both caves. You have a lever that can redirect the water to one team or the other, killing 90% of the people in one cave to save 100% of people in the other. What do you do?
This was for a programming interview.
“Would you like…. cry or anything if your work was criticized?” I’m a female engineer and I was applying to a small company with only male employees…. didn’t really want to work there after that.
On an online application I was asked “What emojis best describes you.” I just closed out of that tab.
“I know the job said full time at X salary, but it’s actually part time at much lower salary. Is that okay?”
Uh, no it isn’t okay. I wouldn’t have even applied if those had been the initial stipulations.
This probably isn’t that ridiculous but I’m a social worker and I hate when employers ask me what made me want to go into the field. A lot of social workers are motivated by some sort of trauma but I can’t just be like, 72% of my body was devoured by wolves and social workers crawled up through their digestive tract to retrieve my limbs. Then they’ll probably be like “whoa TMI work on those boundaries also we can’t hire you because what if you have a meltdown every time a client gets eaten by wolves?”
But then if you say something generic like “I just want to help people” then they look at you like you went to a church bake sale once and now you think you’re a humanitarian.
So I dont know, I really hate that question.
Needed a job to pay for college and rent. The manager asked “What are your thoughts on skipping class to help a coworker that called in sick and needed a replacement?” Told them I would not do it. Did not get the job.
“If you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?” I don’t know. The kind who didn’t get the job because I didn’t know what kind of fruit I am, I guess! And no, this gig had nothing to do with food. It was for a plasma center. (Selling your plasma for cash).
Interviewer: Teach me something I don’t already know
Me: Relevant to the industry?
Interviewer: No, anything you like.
Me: Did you know snakes don’t have noses, only nostrils?
Interviewer: How is this relevant to the job?
WHAT?! YOU JUST SAID …
“You’re quite a lot smaller than any of the other candidates, how are you going to cope with that?”
Applying for a lifeguard at a pool and the interviewer said this. While yes I was slightly shorter than some of the other candidates I was way over qualified for the position but she focused on the fact I was 5’7 rather than the multiple medals I had with me…
I was once doing an interview for a customer service job that was going great, I could feel I was getting this job. The nuts and bolts part of the interview was over, so my future boss shuffled some papers on his desk and said, “How do you know salami is going bad?”
I was really stuck for an answer, but I had put on my resume that I used to work in a deli, and figured that’s where he got it from. So I said, “Smell it and study it. Even if it smells OK if its going too white it’s no longer a good idea to eat it.”
He burst out laughing and told me he’d keep that in mind. Turns out he was just joking with me, didn’t realize I’d used to work at a deli, and offered me the job a day or two later.
I was interviewing for a position at an events company when I was in university. The guy interviewing me was.. on the larger side with very visible scars on his arms and legs from a bypass surgery. His last question was, “If someone who didn’t know me was looking for me at an event, how would you describe me to them?”
It was so awkward.
I applied for a summer camp job in college. I have a physical disability that wouldn’t have been apparent in an interview, but I naively decided to disclose it on my application. About halfway through the interview, they hit me with “So, if you’re in a one-piece bathing suit, is your body going to look, you know, weird?”
In a word, no. I got the offer and turned it down.
“How is the relationship between your parents and what do they work with?”… “Are you in a relationship? What does your girlfriend do for a living?”
Yeah… I was not interested in working for that company after that.
Had a first and then second interview about a year ago for a general manager position. The second interview ended when I was asked if I ‘would take an entry level sales position if it was offered to me’. Had more than the required previous experience and got accused of not being a team player or someone who is willing to work for progression…
I once went to a interview that was not for a specific job but to try and get admitted into a “pool” that candidates would be selected from when the appropriate job was posted. Looking back, it was a pretty big red flag. The interview was rapid-fire and about 15 questions total.
I had to answer 4 differently-worded questions that essentially asked the same thing: “Will you do the work of other people as well as doing the work we hired you to do?”
Not too ridiculous, but what was ridiculous was they asked me that four times.
For a different job I also had to guess what was the most popular social media platform. And when my answer was not Instagram, I got chewed out.
“I don’t want to talk about your resume. Tell me about the real you.
I am here for a job. Let’s talk about the job and we will end up talking about me anyway. Don’t throw that at me right off the bat like I have it written down somewhere.
“Do you have anxiety because that will be a problem in our working environment so if you have anxiety or any problems like that you need to fess up!”
Um…okay you can’t ask that.
“What is wrong with you that you have an engineering degree and can’t find a job?!” “Well the job market isn’t so great, I actually have a lot of friends who are still looking. I’ve been having interviews just nothing has come through.” “Well I think you are hiding something and that’s why you can’t get hired.”
Well thanks…I didn’t really want to work at Dunkin Donuts anyway. They offered me the job but there was no way I was working under this manager (she was rude and aggressive the whole interview). Luckily the day before I had an interview at a company for an engineering position and I ended up with a job offer the day after the DD interview.
I was asked to commit to working for this Fortune 50 company before hearing their offer for compensation. I said “I commit” and once I heard the offer I told them I wouldn’t be accepting it, and actually laughed at how low it was.
HR Rep on the phone said “but you said you’d work here.
An interviewer for a legal job asked me if I could run a 7 minute mile. I said I don’t know, but probably if I trained for it. He then said that by the looks of it, he thought I could do it, but they wouldn’t let him to ask students to take off their shirts during interviews for him to do a better analysis.
This was for a JAG position, basically a military lawyer. Apparently they have to do some sort of timed jog every so often and JAG lawyers tend to struggle with it.
“How many basketballs could you fit in this room?”
I was applying for a database developer job at a medium sized company. Given the job and my extensive resume, there were plenty of legit, tech based questions they could ask. They could have also asked me to talk about how I handled problem situations in the past.
There was no need, then, to ask some Google-esque, nonsensical question to somehow gauge my thinking skills. The interviewers were just being pompous, and acted as though it would have been a privilege to work for them.
I didn’t get an offer, and didn’t want one.
I was interviewing for an administrative assistant position one summer, and the Manager who was interviewing me asked “How much do you weigh?” The assistant manager who was also sitting in on the interview just turned to look at him with a horrified look on his face.
“While pretending that we [the interview committee] are 3 year olds, please perform a song and dance.
I don’t mind doing the song and dance, but there’s something so creepy about pretending that a bunch of 40- and 50-somethings are 3 year olds.
Do you hate nature?
I am from New Zealand and I was at a job interview in the Netherlands where I currently live. They asked why I moved there and I said it’s a great place, really pretty and has heaps of awesome things. Then they asked me if I hated nature.
Are you going to be too weird to work with? I suggested to the interviewer that if I were weird I probably would not know it myself, and ask him for an example. The person I was replacing had refused to bathe for three months.
“How many lines of code have you written?”
Had just graduated, my first real job interview. I did some visualization of his many pages all my class projects would’ve been and multiplied that by how many lines of code might be on a page. He seemed impressed by the number. I got the job….and quit after the first day. The guy was indeed a clown.
I went for an IT job at a big U.K. Car insurance company. The whole interview was spent asking me questions about my jumping stilts club and then watching videos of it on YouTube. I literally had to ask if this was still an interview. They filled the vacancy internally but liked me so much they created a role for me. It didn’t include jumping or stilts but they always asked when would I be bringing my stilts in.
“Have you ever stolen anything?
“Incorrect, everyone has stolen something, like change from their parents.
All this to work at a stupid grocery store as a bagger. Stop with the stupid questions lady, I just want my minimum wage job!
“Would you be willing to skip class to cover shifts?”
No! I’m taking classes and working to educate myself and to get a job that has advancement opportunities. If I wanted to be that loyal to a gas station, I wouldn’t waste my time with college at all.
During the interview, the interviewer wanted me to write down my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram usernames and passwords. I don’t use any of those websites. First she accused me of lying, then brought in another interviewer. After insisting that I don’t use those websites, they asked me to create accounts on all three of those sites and give them the info. I declined because I do not agree with the terms of service for either of the three websites. Then they asked for my cell phone. This was for a summer job working with CAD software. It was the equivalent of a paid internship at $10/hr.
“Would you be willing to work part time with adult’s with severe intellectual disabilities?”
No I specifically didn’t apply for that position because I know what it takes and I am not cut out for it. It was ridiculous because I applied to work with teenagers with depressive disorders and children with intellectual disabilities. Made that clear in the pre-interview paperwork where you fill out 100 questions on what and who you would like to work with and in the interview, two weeks later was offered the part time position of working with adults with intellectual disabilities. I think they were trying to trick people into taking that position I heard through a friend that their roommate got the same run around with the same company. Worst part is if you didn’t read the job offer with a fine tooth comb you might not have noticed it because they hid it behind other words.
I got asked that stupid question: “You drive by a bus stop and waiting there is the girl of your dreams, your best friend you owe your life to, and an older lady that needs to go to the hospital. You have room for one person in your car. who do you pick up?” This question is complete crap and probably showed up on the interviewer’s Facebook the night before the interview. It supposed to be a problem solving question but really it’s selfish. The answer is to give your keys to your friend so he can get to where he needs to go and he can drop off the old lady, giving you time to spend with the girl. Great attitude for team building in a work environment.
I hate lazy interviews. The amount of terrible interviews I had to give to people we knew we weren’t hiring just to show face to HR that we care and convince them we didn’t already have someone in mind was mind-boggling. A colleague of mine would sometimes sit down with someone, ask one question, and wrap up the interview. It was humiliating and a total waste of the time of a person that clearly needs a job and could be doing better things with their time.