When someone attends a job interview, it's assumed the questions asked will be pertaining to the job and the person's skill set. These questions can range from strengths and weaknesses to qualifications. That way, the interviewer can get a sense of whether the candidate is a good fit for the position. However, just because those are the typical questions doesn't mean the interviewer won't throw a few curve balls. Just ask these people.
People interviewing for jobs recall the most inappropriate question they were asked. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was a bit nervous at my first job interview for a full-time job when I was 18. I applied as a wedding dress salesperson (I had a part-time job at a rival bridal store years earlier). I think the owners sensed that I was nervous, because one asked me if I had a boyfriend, and if working on the weekends would give me less time with him.
Before I could answer, the second owner asked, 'And is he a good kisser?'
All I could muster is, 'Oh, he’s alright.'
We spent the rest of the interview discussing whether they can plan a wedding between the good kisser and me."
"'Does profanity and yelling bother you?'
That should have been an instant Texas sized red flag (the interview was in Dallas after all), but this was the only job interview I had coming out of college. With student loan payments looming, I needed a job, so I still took this one.
Never could have imagined what awaited me. I swear one of the owners of the company (the one I worked with most) was unmediated bipolar or something. One minute he would be handing you a hundred dollar bills for just being there, and the next he'd be red in the face throwing a kindergarten style temper tantrum, screaming and swearing at you. It was completely unpredictable.
One day, I was working with a new employee and we were walking across a warehouse with some tools to move some equipment. He comes up to us and asks us what we're doing. I say we're getting ready to move that piece of equipment over there. He asks what we're doing right now, and I repeat myself. He starts screaming something about not hiring us to waste time, and stomps off with a couple of his managers following him, who he promptly screams at to get away from him.
When I gave my two weeks' notice a few months later, that same dude comes and talks to me. He tells me when they first hired me, they thought I was stupid. However, since they put me on that project renovating that warehouse into a manufacturing facility I'd been killing it. He proceeded to offer me a managerial position in that building when it was up and running, which would include a 60% raise. I'd have been making $60k only a year out of college, which for my degree is pretty good.
Still quit because I'd seen the stuff other managers had to deal wit.h and it was way worse than what I dealt with (they were the layer between me and the company ownership, so they were dealing with the dude even more than me) and I was just done with that."
"I was interviewing for a janitorial position at a private middle school.
The interview was going well. The interviewer was asking me why I wanted to work there, what my previous job experience was, etc. The bog standard interview questions.
Out of absolutely nowhere, he asks 'You're not attracted to underage girls, are you?'
I was taken aback for a moment, and just sort of stared at him waiting for clarification.
I think it only occurred to him after having said it how weird the question was, and he quickly started to give some context. Turns out the previous janitor had attempted some advances on some underage students.
I was just there to sweep the floors for some cash. Not commit a felony."
"I once applied for a position working for a school for kids with behavioral issues. I had already worked with kids who had autism for a few years already.
During the interview, the 'dean' comes in late, as his assistant had already begun and started asking me questions like 'Do you play games?'
He seemed really disinterested.
He then asks me 'Why did it take you seven years to get your bachelors degree?'
I tried to explain that I had a minor, had financial issues and had car issues so only went part-time a couple of years. He pushed it.
'I know that but why did it take you seven years?'
As I had paused to think of an answer, and he points out, 'You shut down!'
The assistant basically parrots this.
At the end of the interview, he tells me he did all that to 'test me,' and then asked in an insecure tone 'So I bet this has been one of your more memorable interviews' huh?'"
"When I was 21 after just after finishing university, I decided to get a job for summer before I started looking for a ‘proper job.’ I made the mistake of going to the job centre, which now I’m a little older, I know is the worst thing you could do. After a few times down there, I was asked if I wanted an interview with a company that sold beds. I agreed and was told that it was going to take place in the same building and I could just join the queue.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, I get called into the room. I sit down in the chair and exchange all the usual pleasantries.
The very first thing out of the blokes mouth is ‘What football team do you support?’
I tell him, and then he asks ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’
I looked at him, shocked.
He goes on to explain himself by saying ‘I wanted to see if you were committed and you’re not just the sort of person that moves on from one thing to another.'
He then goes on to explain his shop to me. Tells me where it is and it’s about 15-20 minutes walk from the house that I grew up in as a kid. He asks me if I was local and knew his shop. I reply I am local, and I know where he’s talking about but I’m not 100% on where the shop is. This is when he launches into a 10+ minute rant about how I am lying about living where I said I did, and how everyone knows his shop. This took up a good portion of the interview and I tried to explain to him that as a 21-year-old, I don’t really look for bed and mattress stores.
This was met with ‘Well, you’re lying about where you grew up because everyone knows me and my shop.'
I was actually called a liar multiple times in this interview and laughed it off.
This all climaxed with being told about how I’d be working and the shifts I would work. This ended up being the worst possible timings you could think of. Evening, weekends, holidays etc. I decided that as I was lucky I didn’t really need a job as such, I would just say no but I decided to haggle for some sort of better deal purely to mess with the man and see how far I could push him. Just the mention of the fact that I would not like to work holidays because of my faith caused a major rant about the separation of church and state and how religion cannot get in the way of working etc.
After this, I left. Surprisingly I didn’t get a call back about the job even though I thought I aced a lot of the questions.
Scary thing about it though was that I really didn’t need that job. For someone that needed any job, that place would have been horrifically abusive and I truly feel sorry for whoever landed employment there."
"I was very freshly eighteen, and I went into a gas station I knew was looking for help. The lady was very nice and told me she would talk to her husband and give me a call. I got the call no later than two hours later.
I went in and it seemed fine for the first two minutes.
The questions then went from normal to 'Where do you live?'
This was my first job interview so I didn’t find it weird. I told him vaguely that I lived about ten minutes away. Then he asked if I was married, and when I said no he asked if I had a boyfriend. He seemed very excited when I said no.
Then he asked things like 'Do you live alone?' 'Would someone else be picking you up?'
He even asked about my weight, and if my hair was my natural color.
By the end of the interview I was very on edge. Walking out, I realized I had no cell service there at all, and it was almost a mile before any other buildings.
I didn’t even answer the phone when they called me back."
"I was interviewing for a sales job at a blinds and curtains store many years ago. They were absolutely fixated on my high school experience, despite the fact I was 30 years old at the time.
I mentioned several times I had graduated twelve years ago at the time, and had work experience since then, but they wouldn't give up.
It was kinda like this:
'What clubs were you a member of?'
'Well none but you see it was over 10 years ago so I've grown and learned so m-'
'I see. What were your grades like?'
'...um, pretty good? Listen I'm not sure, it was so long ago I don't really understand why it's relevant. Wouldn't you rather discuss my work exper-'
'In a moment. You said your grades were pretty good, but what was your GPA?'
'I don't remember. Higher than 3 probably, but again it was 12 years ago and I've had considerable-'
'Okay, can you tell me why you weren't involved in any clubs?'
I basically just kept repeating myself at that point until the interview awkwardly drew to a close.
Shockingly, I did not get the job. I guess they just really needed someone who took honors English to sell curtains."
"Fresh out of college, looking for a network engineer role.
The interview was going fine. I might have been a bit overdressed (full suit) while everyone at the company was casually dressed, but my suit made me look rather okay. I'm an big dude, but that shouldn't matter at all for this kind of job. Owner of the company, a guy bigger than me, sat down and proceeded with interview questions.
Things started getting fishy. I was working a retail job at the time that was paying me just over $10/hr. The job posting noted the base rate would be $17-20 for an entry level job. I'd be making nearly three times what I made at my current job, so I thought that'd be okay. But this guy must have been finding reasons for me to be uncomfortable because he said due to my lack of experience (despite having earned two related degrees in college), he could only pay me $12.50. Apparently, I'd have to work hard enough to earn the raise to the $17/hr next year. Oh, and I'd only be working 30 hours a week or less, which is what I already was working, despite the job listing clearly stating it was full time.
I asked about additional benefits, and they weren't remarkable. Other than a mediocre health insurance plan, and 401k, there wasn't much to remember.
Then came the bombshell.
'Now, I see that you're a pretty big boy for your age... And this is a pretty sedentary job, you're going to be sitting a lot. How are you going to keep fit?'
This caught me so off guard, and I was instantly offended. I should have walked out right then and there, but I was still new to the interview process and decided to go through with the interview. I probably should have also filed a complaint with some bureau but I couldn't find wording that explicitly says it's illegal to question about weight. I feel bad for the guy who interviewed right after me who was bigger and way older than I was.
Needless to say, I didn't want the job. Not that I would have known anyway, because by the time I heard back from them, I had already found a job making 6x what I made at my retail job, great benefits, awesome company, and I got to move to the city my girlfriend of three years lived in. When I did get the call months later, I had to restrain myself from laughing them off the phone for treating me so poorly during the interview."
"I was looking for a summer job, which is nearly impossible to find if you don't have connections... and I don't. The first interview that I had was to work in a tourist information center, as I spoke three languages. The woman asked me if I could get prettier, because she didn't want ugly people working with the public.
Later that week, I had an interview to work in a supermarket. The lady looked at me from head to toe and asked me if I could get uglier because I was 'too pretty' for this job and she didn't want that around her because it meant I was likely to steal her job as a supervisor.
I never found a summer job."
"I was 21, answered an ad and arranged the interview all in one day, so I realized they were trying to get the position filled fast. Fast enough that the hiring manager tells me it was her first day back after having a baby. The job was receptionist for a start up of some kind. The hiring manager gave me a little tour, and proudly pointed out that most of the employees I saw there were interns.
We sit down to interview and she starts it with small talk about the details on my resume. It includes my zip code rather than my full address, and she comments on this, asking what neighborhood I live in.
'You know, I couldn't really tell you. I've been there a few months, some people call it one thing, but some residents call it something different. I don't know if it's that I moved into a place that's on the border of two neighborhoods or if the neighborhood is getting some kind of makeover,' I explain.
She goes, 'Hm, that's kind of odd, not knowing which neighborhood you live in.'
We talk about my job history, the most recent being restaurant host. She tells me about how she interviewed for manager of one of the sister restaurants.
'So what was a challenge you overcame in that workplace?'
'I learned to be more proactive when communicating my needs to management.'
'Can you give an example?'
'I needed a Saturday evening shift off because of a medical procedure and could not find coverage, so I emailed the manager who does scheduling about it on Monday of that week when I made the appointment. When she didn't answer, I made sure to-'
'Well, looking at that from a management perspective, that's kind of suspicious. Why would you need a Saturday off? What kind of medical office is open on a weekend?'
I was honestly dumbfounded. Did... did she genuinely want to hear about the recovery period for the specific surgery I was getting? Would it help us find common ground as the 2 out of 10 women who on average get cysts on the Bartholin's gland? Would she recommend me someone who could work their availability for surgery around my busy schedule as the mythical irreplaceable restaurant host?
'I don't see how that's relevant. I needed the time off and had to get coverage.'
'I don't think it's a good match.'
'I agree, thank you for your time.'
Whenever I tell the story, people insist I 'could have saved it' by responding differently to her question, but it was just plain rude and showed that the culture of that workplace wasn't what I was looking for."
"I'd injured my back and been away for months and, now, had come back to begin work, again. This interview happened before anything else that day.
There were three of the women in charge: the Dept Manager, the Workplace Injuries Manager, and some woman who had been assigned by the workplace insurance to help me get through my rehab.
The atmosphere was tense with no hint of any positivity that I'd gotten better, especially through a very difficult time in my life (I was only mid-20s and trying to build my career). I was told about my duties, all of which I knew about and expected, then they hit me with a line I'll never forget:
'You can be told to do jobs which you find demeaning, you will have to do them and can't refuse.' I was so stunned that I don't believe I said anything to that. In the end it was all for nothing. I lasted two and a half days, that week, then less than two reduced-hour days the week after. I'm 43 and I've never been able to work since that injury.
I'll also never forget the utter lack of empathy or care from those people."
"The summer after I graduated from high school, I was looking for a temporary part-time or full-time job until I was off to college in September. I just needed anything to cover my gas money for the summer, so one of my friends was working at a local strip mall Kmart, and told me that I should apply because it would be cool to work together, so I did. I went for the job interview and the manager was a middle-aged woman who was a little too 'touchy-feely.' We went into her office. She shut the door and we sat down to the do the interview.
It started out normal, but then she kept reaching across the desk to feel my arms and my shoulders. Then she got up acted like she needed to pull a file off a shelf behind me, but came up behind me and rubbed my shoulders, like kinda giving me a massage.
Then said, 'You're really fit. Do you work out a lot? I bet your popular with the girls, huh? Do you like older women?'
At that point, I jumped out of my seat and told her not to touch me.
She acted like I offended her and said, 'So do you want the job or not?'
I told her I want the job but I don't want anything else.
So she said, 'You can go. We'll call you if we're interested.'
I told my friend about this and he was like, 'Yeah that's normal. She'll flirt with you and stuff but you can handle it.'
So that must've been normal behavior for her over there. I didn't get the job so I guess my reaction really did offend her. I ended up working in a local Exxon station instead."
"I was interviewing for a grocery store, part-time work. The company has applicants do a 'personality' test to see where they're best, to heck with training or growth.
I’m talking to the manager, and he likes my aptitude for cashier (what I’d applied for) and says I shouldn’t worry about anything else.
Me: 'And that means what exactly?'
Him: 'According to your scores, management and lead roles aren’t really for you. It’s ok! There’s gotta be a group to lead, right?'
Me: 'So, a personality test out of Cosmo tells you I can’t ever lead here, assuming I even wanted to.'
Him: 'Well, the test can be taken again in give years, but otherwise the results are satisfactory for us.'
M: 'What exactly am I missing here? It’s a pie chart, and according to this one (I point to people skills), I’m an excellent peer-to-peer communicator, and this (points to decision-making) says I’m great at making decisions and following through on them. Honestly, I’m here for part-time hours while I go to school, but this is simultaneously baffling and stupid.'
H: 'There’s no need to get mad at the numbers. The chart does say you’re 'good' in these fields but not 'excellent.' A leader needs to be able to outperform our expectations. I think you’ll find your role fits you just fine.'
I quit a month later after I got a much better job, and found out not even a week after I left the manager was fired and arrested for having 'consensual' relations with a minor (state’s legal age was 16, she was 17)."
"Two years ago, I landed a huge interview with a casino in a position in my field. I was told it would be a panel interview. I dressed in a full suit and spent a lot of time preparing for the interview. I was really excited about the opportunity. When the interview began, they sat me in a room with seven other candidates, who were all going for the same position and they lined us up in a row. It was not a panel interview like they said. There were an entire room full of people wearing suits who looked important. At least 10 people watching us. They had lights on us, and it felt like we were all on a stage performing for an event or something.
We all got asked only one question each and pulled our question out of a basket. They asked who wanted to go first, and in an attempt to show initiation and leadership I stepped up. My question was ridiculously negative.
'Tell us about a time when you lost your temper on the job. What happened? Why did you lose your temper? How did you resolve the situation?'
I wish I had a better question where I could have elaborated more instead of being stuck with a negative question. The entire panel only got one question each and at least six out of the eight people who had questions had negative themed questions. Just seemed strange to me. After we all answered one question, the interview was over and we were all thanked for our time."