Strange, outlandish, or totally stupid job interview questions you've been asked

Back in August, I was interviewing for a temp gig - advertised as 3-6 months in duration. It suited me - I’m retired, but I wanted to make a little extra cash for an upcoming vacation.

My resume made it clear that I was retired. When I was talking to my interviewers (there were 5 of them) before we actually got started, I mentioned that the job fit perfectly with my own plans - something short-term, challenging, and not in retail or food service.

Once we got into interview mode, discussing my qualifications, experience, and similar things, the guy who was kind of running the interview hit me with “Where do you see yourself in five years?”



Yes, it’s a legitimate question, especially for an entry-level or mid-career prospect. But this position was opened to help get rid of a backlog, and they figured it should all be done within 180 days. Where did I see myself in 5 years??

It was all I could do not to laugh in his face - I looked hard at him to make sure he wasn’t yanking my chain before saying that I intended to be full retired and not seeking employment. :rolleyes:

I did get the job, and in theory, I’ll be there 2 more months, altho I’ve already been asked if I’d be interested in staying on. I was talking to my boss, who was one of the interviewers, and I mentioned that question. He also thought it was pretty inane, so it wasn’t just me.

Have you ever been fed a question that stopped you cold because of its, um, uniqueness??

I am at the interview - I am wearing a suit and tie - the interviewer asks me, “Would you be able to wear a tie for the job? The job requires that you wear a tie.”

I would only consider that slightly odd if I considered it odd at all. I’ve dressed up much better for any interview I’ve been to than for anything after the second day on the job (I figure dressing up nice on the first day of work is a nice touch as well). I didn’t wear a jacket and tie for most of my career, but did to interviews.

This was an interview for entering a university program, not a job, but I thought it qualifies.

One of the questions was: What comes next in this sequence?

Apparently, a knowledge of hoary old brain-teasers is important in that particular field.

I also got the standard “What are your greatest weaknesses” question, and I don’t recall what I said, but I didn’t give the BS answer of “I work too hard/I’m a real perfectionist/I forget to watch the clock and often work overtime.” I think I addressed the specifics of the software I was going to be using, commenting on the aspect I was weakest in using. Not much of a weakness - it took me 2 days, self-taught, to master it.

AutoCAD 3D, if that means anything to anyone.

I had a phone interview in which the HR person read me my own résumé, point by point. At first I didn’t realize she had it and offered that all of this info was there. She said that did have it in front of her an that she just had to confirm it. I said, “I confirm that everything on my résumé is true.” She missed my point and kept going, with me saying “correct” every 10-15 seconds for a 20 minute phone call.

Sad part is, I really wanted that job, mainly due to it ending my out of town commute and long distance marriage at the time. I didn’t get it though.

A few months later, I applied for another of their postings, again to no avail. A year after that, a headhunter phoned me and mentioned that company was looking for someone like me. I laughed and said I was through wasting my time with those clowns. I didn’t even have something else lined up when I said that.

They need to remember that the potential employees are also interviewing them.

Mitch Hedberg gave the best response to that:

“Celebrating the 5 year anniversary of you asking me that question”

For me the weirdest I’ve gotten was 'if you could eliminate one state from the US which one would it be". I picked a deep southern state.

“Do you speak any foreign languages, such as Ebonics?” I was asked this, as I was interviewing for a position as a paralegal at a law firm, in the past 10 years. Crazily enough, I ended up taking the job but only lasted a few months.

A long time back, I was headhunted (for certain micro values of the term) to join a rival financial firm as a trainee. The manager of the branch thought I was just dynamite material, I had exactly the right experience and background, many other things pointed to a great relationship. All I had to do was take this weird little test, copyrighted about 1928, that I was just sophisticated enough to know it wasn’t testing what it thought it was testing. (I later looked it up and it had something to do with Depression-era think about being a manageable employee, or some such shit.)

I flunked it. By company rules, he couldn’t hire me.

Weirdest was when I went for a tech writing job. I mentioned on my resume that I had published a science fiction novel. The interview consisted of them asking me questions about how I wrote it, did I have an agent, what sort of royalties I got. Not a thing about the job and my qualifications and I knew leaving that they never had any intention of hiring me.

In the 90’s I went for a job interview at a major gas station chain to be a cashier.
I was interviewed in store by the manager.

It was early 90’s and it was Texas…I had long hair and a long beard so… clean, air conditioned, indoor jobs did not go to worthless hippies too much.

The boss man was business like but very VERY conservative. I was amazed at all the crap they put me thru. Math test, background check…they even took my picture!!!

He tells me I’ve got the job as long as I could pass a drug test.:eek: I had been told they didn’t piss test by employees.:smack: I wasted 3 trips on a job I couldn’t get.

He says “Come on back here” and takes me to the back in the little managers office, and I’m thinkin "WTF"piss test were lab work back then.
We get to his office, he reaches into his pocket and tosses a 1/4 oz of weed and a pack of papers on the desk, and tells me to roll one up.:confused:

My DRUG test was to see if I could roll a decent joint.:cool::D:D

Needless to say I passed that test 2-3 times that day.:p:p

I had a recruiter from one of the Big-4 accounting/consulting firms (Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, E&Y) call me up and ask me what I thought when I heard they were interested in me, as if I just been enrolled in a blowjob (receiving) contest.

I informed her that I had already worked as a consultant and a manager in two similar Big-4 firms and wasn’t looking to make a trifecta in a tone as if I had been enrolled in a blowjob (giving) contest.

I also had a recruiter ask me if I had any experience working for a large insurance or financial services company. Yes. I just finished a nine month contract with your insurance/financial service company in Manhattan. It’s at the top of my resume.
It pleases me that there are jobs for functionally retarded people.

I hate the bullshit “what are your weaknesses?” and its partner “what are your strong points?” type of touchy-feely HR questions.

Does anyone really ever tell the truth on these types of shitty questions?

Weaknesses? I surf the internet at work when I get distracted and don’t feel like working.

Strong points? I can’t fucking stand ass-sniffing idiots who assume responsibility for my accomplishments.

“Would you have trouble taking directions from a woman?” I was being interviewed by three women.

You probably learned not to mention fiction writing ever again on a resume. You can have written the Britannica and been provost at Harvard, but stick a stupid novel on there and you can’t get hired for McD’s.

The stupidest question I’ve heard of was something like, if you were on a plane with 3 people in total and the engine failed, and there were only 2 parachutes, who would you give them to? It’s meant to be some form of personality test. I can’t find this question now, so maybe it’s a Chinese thing.

I did.

I said that I found keeping papers organized a challenge and that sometimes my desk looked like a bomb hit it. But I explained that I make sure to keep folders and labels at hand and force myself to take time to get things organized every now and then.

This was for a temp job that was pretty much about keeping papers organized.

I got the job, which turned into my much more interesting current permanent job. My desk? Totally looks like a bomb hit it.

One of those group interviews where they split us into two “teams”. The scenario was a plane crash, and we, as teams, had to decide what to keep, and if we were staying with the wreckage or not - then we had to present our decision in “a creative way”?

I was outvoted on whether or not to stay with the wreckage, but once I mentioned I had been in the military, they let me make the rest of the choices. I picked the supplies and wrote everything out as a marching cadence. We marched around the room and sang our choice.

I got the job.

Had to do a similar exercise with a sales presentation - I told my team to go ahead and improv a realistic sale, but do their best to ignore what I was doing. I pretended to be the Crocodile Hunter observing a “sales presentation in it’s natural environment”. The whole room collapsed in stitches.

I got the job.

And my dad said theatre and improv wasn’t useful!

“Do you drink beer?”

I answered “Sometimes.”

I was once given a written test for a programming job I was interviewing for. The final
question was this:

*You are in a room with three monkeys. There is a bunch of bananas hanging from
the ceiling. The first monkey finds a stick, knocks down one of the bananas with
the stick and eats the banana. The second monkey finds a piece of rope, hits the
bananas with the rope until one falls, and then eats the banana. The third monkey
looks around the room and finds three boxes. After stacking the boxes on top of one
another, the third monkey climbs to the top, grabs a banana and eats it.

Who is the smartest primate in the room?*

(For answer, see bottom of this post.)
Many years ago I interviewed for a production artist position at a print shop. When
I went in it looked like all the employees were working at a furious pace. The guy who interviewed
me looked and sounded tired. At end of the interview I was told that there were other
applicants to be interviewed and that they would call me if I got the job.

About a week later I got a call from a woman at the print shop who asked “Can you lift 300
pounds?” I was very much surprised - they had never mentioned anything like this during
the interview. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

“300 pounds??!!” I replied.

“Yes, 300 pounds” the woman said "We need someone who can also move the printing plates
from the shelves where they are stored.

“Good grief, no.” I answered, still surprised by this strange question.

She then responded “I’m sorry, in that case we can’t hire you. We need someone who
can lift 300 pounds.”

Years later, I remembered the print shop and the tired looking employees who looked
like they were working as fast as they could. It then occurred to me that this
may would not have been a good place to work. The “300 pound” question was probably
was probably asked of all candidates that were not hired to discourage them from
questioning why they were not hired or from starting a crazy lawsuit.
Answer to the three monkeys in a room question:

You are - humans are primates. And, yes, I got this correct. I didn’t know if
humans were primates, but I saw no reason to pick one of the monkeys - they
all seemed equally smart. That only left myself and I’m obviously smarter
than a monkey.

“I got that one out of Dilbert” said the interviewer as he checked my answer.
I didn’t get the job.