Incredibly dumb questions at job interviews

As a job applicant/supplicant I’ve been asked some fairly idiotic things. Today’s questions (from a department head, no less) belong in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Hall of Fame.
Is there anything bad from your past we should know about, like, ummmm, a felony conviction?

(Answers choked back through admirable willpower):

  1. Not in this state.
  2. Well, I used to ride around with Henry Lee Lucas when he was on a spree. But I only watched.
  3. Do crimes against property count?
  4. I’ve really got to get longer sleeves to cover up these jailhouse tattoos.
    Do you have trouble getting along well with anyone at your current job?

(Answers not volunteered through truly amazing force of will):

  1. There was that rotten bitch in Billing. I sure fixed her little red wagon!
  2. A few of them are still miffed about the time I sprinkled cyanide in the water cooler.
  3. Not at all. Everyone respects me since I got my concealed weapons permit.
  4. I used to get pissed off at the least little thing. But now I have achieved Serenity (fix interviewer with glassy stare).

Where do they get this stuff?

What are your weaknesses?

(answers I wish I could give)

  1. Motivation. Sometimes I just can’t drag my lazy ass out of bed in the morning.

  2. Punctuality. I just have no concept of time - unless it’s quitting time! Bwahahahaha!

  3. I’m not much of a people person. I don’t really care for people too muc. In fact, it’s all I can do to not grab you by the lapels and spit in your face.

Those questions, like most others during an interview, are “leading” ones. They usually aren’t asked for the answer itself, but for the WAY they are answered. It’s a way to test a persons composure, how they are at thinking on their feet, how articulate they are, etc. It’s a quick look at someone’s personality and bearing in the flesh. But I still chuckle whenever I hear “Why do you want to work for our company”… Duh… I want some money. :smiley:

I’m trying hard, but I can’t remember ANY questions being asked when I interviewed for my job at a mall record store. I’m really trying, and I can’t think of a one. Weird.
Maybe I got the job because I showed up for the interview on time and wearing a pair of khakis, which proved I already owned part of the uniform.
The only thing I can remember the manager saying “You’ll have to help out the customers, you know, be nice to them, but you seem personable.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that one. I resisted the urge to say “Wow, this fake smiley shit worked!”

When I applied to Taco Bell, the application form included a number of short answer questions, including this:
“If an employee feels that he or she is being underpaid, is it acceptable for that person to steal from the company?”

It took me quite a while to decide what to respond. :rolleyes:

“suppose you were asked to set up an after work get together to last a couple of hours, what would you arrange?”

The other interviewer said “oh my, good question” as I stared incredulously.

I didn’t get the job.

[/slight hijack]

When I was being interviewed for my work placement year (as a trainee programmer, many moons ago) my interviewer and I chatted a bit before the ‘formal’ part. When it came to it, he only had one question: ‘Do you drink beer?’. Great question, (and I think I answered it correctly :slight_smile: )

[/hijack off]

“Why do you want this job?” as Tequila Mockingbird already mentioned.

I am usually terrible at answering their questions, apparently. So I hate them all. I think they are all dumb. Probably sour grapes, but I think interviews sometimes give you the person who can act a part, or manipulate a situation, rather than the person who would perform the best at the job.

One of the things asked at my last panel interview (I hate panel interviews) was “What would you bring to this job?”

I answered “I would bring a positive attitude. I am happy in whatever job I do.”

They apparently didn’t want my qualifications for that question, because that had been a previous question.

They set aside a half hour for each interview, and mine took less than fifteen minutes. I was not at all nervous, but I gave short (and, I thought) to the point answers. I haven’t heard from them at all, one way or another, but it’s been a month since that interview.


Q: What do you want to be doing in five years?

A1: Oh, this job! You bet! This very job, I’m going to retire doing this job!

A2: Your job (if you’re being interviewed by a manager).

A3: How the hell should I know? I’m a computer professional; the longest I’ve ever held a job is a year and a half, and I’ve never done the same thing twice in a row.

List 3 words that describe yourself;

  1. Professional

  2. Punctual

  3. Incredibly good looking

Got the job and I’m still here.

Well said. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

I dread interviews. The worst question is “What are your best qualities?”. How the hell do you answer that without sounding conceited? Maybe “I can pull in all the smoke from a 4 foot bong without coughing” would be a good answer…

As a teenager, I applied for a job at Pizza Hut. I had to take a written test. Hell, it was probably the same one that ITR Champion mentions, since Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are both owned by Pepsi.

One of the questions was something along the lines of “If you see another employee stealing, should you report it?” No, I’d just ask for a share of the loot. Jesus. :rolleyes: I would really like to know exactly what people are failing these tests. I wouldn’t imagine anyone would. So then what’s the point of giving them in the first place? If someone is stupid enough to fail them, they’re probably not bright enough to steal without getting caught anyway.

This made me laugh, and I really could use the good cheer. Thanks!

My neighbor’s brother was hired as a pizza parlor worker for his first job many years ago. He and two others were interviewed, and all three of them were hired. Of the other two hired, one never showed up to start the job, and the other one was fired within a week.

His boss later told him that based on the interview, he was the one not expected to last, and he worked there for three years.

I just got calls this morning for appointments for two more interviews, one tomorrow and one next Tuesday. If I come hear any interesting variations or new dumb questions, I’ll post them here.

An interviewer from Sun asked “How old are you?” and “Are you married?” I’m imagining he was looking for someone free from familial obligations so he could work me like a dog, but I guess he didn’t realize those questions are illegal in interviews California. Sheesh.

I interviewed at Cisco and one interviewer asked me a technical question, which I gave what I thought was an acceptable answer to. He said “Hmm” and asked the question again, so I tried to elaborate on my answer. He asked it again and I said “I think I’m misunderstanding the question, could you perhaps rephrase it?” He asked the question again with the exact same wording. I reiterated my first response. He asked again. I finally said “I’ve answered your question to the best of my understanding and ability. I’m sorry if that wasn’t the answer you were looking for. Let’s move on.” Needless to say, I didn’t get the job, but I’m just as happy not to have had to work with that moron.

My favorite questions (from my current job) were “Do you tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace, or do you demand it?” and “If we hire you, are you going to play on our hockey team?”

I was asked at one job interview who I voted for in the last presidential election (which was Mondale). Didn’t get the job.

 The prosecutor in the circuit where I defend is notorious for asking weird questions at job interviews- he asked one guy to tell how he would prosecute Goldilocks. Another time he took 5 prospective, prosecutors into a room, told them he was too busy to do 5 separate interviews, and had them take turns anwering the questions he asked- one of which was "how much debt do you have right now?".

In all the years I’ve been working, from fast food joints and supermarkets through different jobs in information technology, never once have I gotten the old "What are you best qualities and worst qualities?" line. This really pisses me off too, when I think about all those stupid "What Color is Your Parachute, and How to Keep From sticking it Up an Interviewer’s Ass" books I read while trying to get my first real job. As it turned out, I didn’t need them, and the first week of my first job, they were having keg parties in the hallways. God, I loved working for those government contractors…

Well, if you must ask, my twin brother. He was actually asked if he ever stole from an employer and he said he took old french fries occasionally without paying for them. We were both invterviewing for a supermarket job in college, and this question was on one of those psychological exams. I, of course lied, and got the job.

Good, huh? Hell no, it wasn’t good. He got shipped off to a 7-11 type deli owned by the same company, sitting on his ass all night reading magazines and taking the customer’s money, meanwhile, I was schlepping groceries into people’s cars in 20 degree weather, unloading pallets of 50lb. dog food, and mopping up the whole damn store at 12:00 am. I never forgave him for that.

I’ve been on a few interviews lately. Most of them have been the firing squad type - 3 or 4 developers at a time. I did have to go on one where it was in serial; one person after another. All of people asked me "What’s your management style? Do you micro manage? ". By the third time, I wass tired of it so, I said “Yes. I like to micromanage people. Ideally, I can pester them all day long, keep them from getting anything done, and make them work all night”.

Strangely, they made an offer…

When I was a manager for United Artists we had to do a “form” interview and I always thought some of the questions were weird. For instance, one of the questions was “Describe any hobbies or activities you enjoy.” Couldn’t figure out what that had to do with the job until someone answered (no kidding) “Gee, nothing really. I find I don’t have enough energy to do much of anything anymore.” Hey! Talk about a “go-getter!”

The “not getting along with previous co-worker/supervisor” I always used as a gage of someone’s honesty. I figured if they said they NEVER had a disagreement or problem with anyone they ever worked with they were liars, lol. One lady (who was the worst interview I ever had, HANDS DOWN) told me about a situation where her supervisor (at H&R Block) got really upset with her for giving a woman’s tax forms and financial information to her husband, whom she was divorced from, and she didn’t even bother to make sure it was the same guy. “Well, the guy was Hispanic and the woman had a Hispanic name, so I figured it was OK.” She told me all this like she couldn’t comprehend what the big deal was. Yikes! She also showed up for the interview late, wearing an old sweatsuit, and at one point mentioned she didn’t like to stand for more than 10 minutes or so at a time. (Oooooookay.) We’ll let you know! My head was spinning.

I once had a car rental agency manager ask me what my “star sign” was and if I felt it accurately captured my personality. The assumption that she meant the Zodiac didn’t help me, since I haven’t the least idea what qualities I’m supposed to have and so couldn’t say whether it was accurate or not. And somehow, saying that I personally thought astrology was mildly amusing but otherwise utter bullshit did not seem the thing to do, since she was evidently dead serious. Plus, I couldn’t figure out what being a Taurus had to do with renting cars – unless she thought I’d have a strange affinity for Fords. (It’s amazing how many thoughts can flash through your head at once in an interview situation.) I told her I wasn’t sure what qualities my “sign” was supposed to have, so she reeled off a few. I admitted to the positive ones (“hard worker”) but disavowed the negative ones (“stubborn”), while mentally reminding myself not to roll my eyes. In fact, since I can, I think I’ll do it now: :rolleyes: I got the job, but the manager was every bit as big a fruitcake as I had feared.

I was on an interview for a position managing a day camp program for elementary and middle school aged kids. It went well until the following exchange:

THEM: Do you feel it’s appropriate to have a relationship with any of the kids in your charge?

ME: (Answering seriously and soberly) Of course! Developing a good relationship with the kids is crucial to having a good program.

THEM: (Clearing throats) No, we meant, a RELATIONSHIP…

ME: (Slowly, after a pause) I’m not sure what you mean.

THEM: Well, do you think it would be appropriate for you or your counselors to have a romantic or sexual relationship with any of our campers?

ME: (Incredulously) With the 6-12 year old kids?! Is that what you’re asking me?

(THEY nod soberly)

(Long pause during which Grok eyes THEM, wondering what circumstances with past employees have prompted them to ask such a question)

ME: Umm, I hope you’ll take my hesitation and confusion with this question as a sign that such a thing wouldn’t even BEGIN to enter my mind as “appropriate”.

I was not offered the job, which I wasn’t too broken up about. The place sounded creepy. I guess I can understand them having to ask, just to cover themselves. But if I were a child molester bent on no good, would I really be likely to answer “Yes, definitely - I’ll have that little blonde kindergartener over there…”?!
THEM: So… your answer is “no”?