Most recruiters can tell you that interviewing is a skill – but not a skill that every recruiter or human resources professional has. Through a combination of humor, creativity, and experience, a good interviewer puts their interview subject at ease and gets the answers they need to make an informed decision. Less experienced interviewers may stick to classics like: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, and “What do you know about our company?”
And then there is the third breed of interviewer that applicants sometimes find themselves up against. These interviewers ask questions that come from so far out in left field that candidates struggle to come up with answers. Sometimes the questions are wholly inappropriate, sometimes they are hilarious, and sometimes they are just strange. I reached out to my social media networks to find out about some of the abnormal questions that my friends and colleagues have run into while seeking employment.
1. The Aspiring Farmer
John B., while interviewing for a management position with a restaurant group, was asked: “Do you know anything about sheep?” John answered “No,” and consequently didn’t get the job.
2. The Disney Princess
Jami K.’s knowledge of Disney landed her a gig as an administrative assistant.
“I was asked if I were to be a cartoon character, who would I be and why,” Jami says. “My answer was Flit from Pocahontas, since I may be small but I never let that hold me back, especially in protecting my friends. The manager said she would never hire anybody who choose Ariel since she is selfish and flighty.”
3. The Self-Esteem Problem
Delilah E. applied for an office job and upon arriving at the interview was promptly asked: “Do you think you’re prettier than me?”
“I said it was an odd question. I told her coworkers should build each other up, not tear each other down,” Delilah says. “She then asked if I would accept a position where people wouldn’t see me. After a few additional rude interjections on her part (for example, she said she was surprised at how well I could read), I told her we were done and left.”
That was probably a good move, Delilah.
4. The Pants-On-Fire
Matthew H. applied for a sales job, and his interviewer wanted to know: “How do you feel about lying to customers?”
Matthew said that he preferred honesty – and didn’t get the job.
Join the Conversation: What’s the Funniest, Strangest, or Most Disturbing Question You’ve Ever Been Asked at an Interview?
5. The Tool
“I was applying for a computer support position with an IT Department,” says Brandon V. “They asked: ‘If you could be any kind of tool, what kind would you be and why?’ I said I would be a cordless drill because I am versatile and can work on almost any type of project or task.”
Brandon was hired.
6. The Skeptical Parent
In the middle of an interview for a communications job, Rebecca B. was asked: “What are three words your mother would use to describe you?”
“This was right after college, so my memory’s fuzzy, but I think I said, ‘Creative, caring, and responsible,’” Rebecca says. “I do remember them questioning whether a mother would call her child responsible.”
7. The Country Music Fan
“I was asked in an interview if I’d ever heard of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,” says Jonathon J.
His reply? “You’ve never lived until you’ve gone ‘Fishin’ in the Dark.’”
Jonathon didn’t get that job, but he applied for a position with the same company a few years later. The interviewer remembered him – and hired him.
8. The Safe One
Lynda P. applied for a job at an accounting firm, and her interviewer asked if she was into “reckless recreational activities.” When she replied in the negative, her interviewer said: “Good, reputation is everything here. We like people going to the opera, not skydiving.”
9. The Number Two
Julio B. applied for a job as a police officer. The interviewing officer asked, “Do you look in the toilet after going No. 2?”
Julio didn’t get the job. After that question, he didn’t really want it.