You’re sitting in a job interview feeling a little nervous; knees shaking and palms sweaty. You want to make a good impression and hope you’re prepared to answer every question the interviewer throws your way! After eloquently explaining your personal interests and work history, the interviewer asks a question from far out in left field that totally throws you off your game. You’re stunned. Not sure how to respond.
We asked our audience on social media, “What are the cringiest questions you’ve been asked in an interview?” Here’s what they had to share.
- Can you spell “ubiquitous”?
- Do you mind if we record this interview?
- What does your husband think about you getting a job?
- What position are you interviewing for?
- Would you be interested in dating my son?
- Which U.S. state would you get rid of, and why?
- If you were a bumper sticker, what would it say?
- Sell me this pen.
- Do you sleep well at night?
- What kind of birth control do you use?
- How many employees in the building are left-handed?
- What is your favorite movie quote?
- If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
- Do you have a criminal background? (P.S. This is illegal to ask)
- How is your health?
HOW TO RESPOND TO BAD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
First, we need to address the fact that some of these questions are either illegal or highly inappropriate. Questions about criminal history? Illegal. Questions about birth control? Illegal. You don’t have to answer those, but if you still want a shot at getting the job, you should politely decline to answer and redirect the conversation back to your professional skills.
Though asking what your spouse thinks about your job, if you’re willing to date the hiring manager’s relative, or how well you sleep at night are not technically illegal, they are highly inappropriate and also do not require a response from you. Again, you can politely remind the interviewer that personal matters are unrelated to the job qualifications and that you’d prefer to focus on the job description at hand. It’s important to remember that as an interviewee, you have the right to maintain professionalism and set boundaries.
The remainder of the questions—though odd—are permissible. The interviewer may be trying to test your critical thinking, see how you react on the spot, or just get to know your personality a bit better. In any case, feel free to play along and have some fun with the questions. Feel free to showcase your creativity, confidence, and individuality.
If you have experienced bad interview questions that we didn’t include, we’d love to hear about them. Please send us a message on social media and share your experience.