January 6, 2012
Our column about some of the most bizarre questions asked by employers during interviews in 2011 brought in quite a bit of feedback. Here were some of the wacky questions (and answers) readers shared with us through emails and on Facebook.
Patrick wrote: "I had someone ask if I could tell if they had been drinking. I said no and asked if they had brought any extra."
"I was hiring an instructional designer to write a diversity course for a large software company," wrote Peggy. "When asked for two examples of how he'd write scenarios representing diversity, the applicant came up with two ideas: Dirty vs. clean puppies and 'Kevin wears ladies skirts and heels to work while Jane prefers pants.' After concluding the interview as quickly as possible, I nearly died of laughter. Needless to say, he (whose name was ironically Kevin) didn't get the job."
"Years ago an interviewer quickly reviewed my resume, and opened up the interview by saying, 'Well I don't see you walking on water,'" wrote Larry.
"'Are you the bat or the ball? Why?'" wrote Yvonne.
"In response to my question of what time he was available for an initial phone interview on a given day, a candidate declared that we would speak at 10:13, and would limit the interview to 20 minutes so as to be respectful of each other's time. Needless to say, we did not have that interview," wrote Sonja.
"My favorite question: 'How many barbers are there in the U.S.?'" wrote Tom. "I got the answer within 5 percent. I didn't take the job, though."
"I was facing three women across the interview table," wrote John. "The lead interviewer drops this bomb: 'Does being a man of your size intimidate other women you've worked with other the years?' I figure I was out of the running before I hit the sidewalk. I should have pursued legal action or at least filed a complaint. Man — that's bothered me for years!"
"'How do you drive a battleship?'" wrote George. "This was asked at a radiation safety company I worked at for 10 years."
It wasn't really a job interview, but we liked Linda's story: She was working on a documentary about the tension between American nuns and the Vatican and asked a priest, "What is the purpose of women?" His answer was, "Obviously to bear children." "That made my show!" she wrote.
Michelle was being interviewed for a manager position. "They asked, 'Are you able to set good examples and be a good leader?' I said, 'No. I'm a follower. I don't like leading at all,'" she wrote. "After an uncomfortable silence, I thanked him for his time and left. And did I mention I was 15 minutes late?"
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