It is only a matter of time before all of us experience a terrible job interview. Either we aren't prepared for the role or line of questioning or the person conducting the interview doesn't really know what they're doing.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the strangest questions they've ever been asked during a job interview, and the responses were beyond belief. It's amazing what some of these hiring managers can get away with during the interview process, and some of the responses were even more insane. All posts have been edited for clarity.
Was This Some Kind Of Joke Interview?
“During college, the professor had her husband come in and we had to go in, one by one, and meet for a mock interview. Just like in real life.
Well, everyone was going in and coming out smiling. Not taking too long so I thought it would be a cake walk.
My turn was next. I went in and everything was going smoothly. He took a look at my resume and saw that I was in the military. He asked, ‘Tell me about your time in the military,’ so I told him what I did, that I worked with a variety of different people from different backgrounds, with different views on life and opinions, and that I supervised people.
He said, ‘Ok, good,’ and continued with the interview. He asked a few more questions, then said, ‘Tell me about your time in the military.’ I figured maybe he didn’t realize he already asked me that, or maybe it was a test, so I repeated what I said.
He started turning slowly in his chair, looking at the ceiling and said again, ‘Tell me about your time in the military.’
I just looked at him. He stopped spinning in his chair and looked at me. After about 20 seconds, he said, ‘Ok, we’re done here.’
I got a B.”
Why Would Someone Want To Know That?
“I was once asked in an interview, ‘Do you look at your poop after you wipe?’
I later found out that this was one of their standard interview questions to see if the candidate would lie or not. Apparently, it is a natural instinct that nearly EVERYONE does, which, back in our caveman days, used to be a way to see if you were getting sick or not via the color of your steaming dung.
I laughed and quickly said yes.”
Who Were These People And How Were Those Questions Relevant?
“I went to an interview one time for a company whose name I didn’t know – the company had a blind ad and the interview took place in a conference room at a local hotel. When I got there, I discovered it was me and a roomful of middle-aged men (I was a girl in my late-20s), all of us had a background in sales.
Finally, we got some weird dog and pony show about the company (who still didn’t give us a name) and how they sold a wide variety of products and services across multiple industries. They wanted us to come up front one at a time, give our name, our age, where we went to college, tell whether we were married, how many kids we had, and what our long-term goals were.
I was the only one who asked why my age, marital status or a number of children was required (mainly because I had a background in HR and knew they couldn’t legally ask those kinds of questions). After that portion was over, they told us they’d be calling within the next two hours to invite some of us back for round two, where we had to bring our spouses with us, so they could talk to them, too. They told me it was ‘vital’ that my spouse be 100% invested in my future with the company. All I could think was, ‘My spouse would wonder if you brought me here to film a dirty movie.’
They called me back and I didn’t even bother answering the phone. They took enough of my time. There was no way I was taking that job. I remember after round one, we all walked out to our cars and we were all in the parking lot looking at each other and going, ‘What the heck did we just sit through?’ It was crazy. I still have no idea who they were.”
What’s Worse – The Question Or The Expected Answer?
“I had an interview for a tech position at a small company when I was younger. Google had just become trendy and cool not long before then.
The question went something like this: ‘How many windows are in New York?’
Confused by this, I asked if they were serious, and they said yes, it was an exercise to see how I’d work out the problem. Again, they wanted me to answer the question.
So I went with it because I wanted to land the job and spoke through my reasoning. Then the guy smiled like a prick and said, ‘Yeah, really, the answer is “if I needed to know I’d just Google it.”‘
It was a terrible question and an ever more terrible answer. I was such a conceited little prick at the time, so I just got up and left before the interview was even over.”
What Do They Mean, “Make A Sound?”
“I was interviewed for a Tier 1 Help Desk job at a fairly large regional ISP. The whole thing was going pretty smooth. The interviewer asks the basics: ‘Why do you want to work here? What type of customers have you dealt with in previous jobs?’ Basically, it was just a bunch of questions like that.
Then he got to his last question. He set his clipboard down and asked, ‘What kind of sound do you think describes you?’
‘Oh. You mean, like what words would I use to describe myself?’
‘No, what sound describes you. Without using words, actually make the noise you think describes you.’
He smiled coyly; clearly, this is a way to mess with prospective employees. But he stumped me. This was the strangest question I’ve ever been asked. I went beet red trying to figure out if he was serious, and ended up just making a near-whispered ‘Ahhh….. oooooh.’
He scribbled something on his clipboard, stood up, shook my hand and said, ‘We’ll be in touch.’
What was that all about?”
That Line Of Questioning Is A Little Inappropriate, Isn’t It?
“I had an interviewer who asked some personal but not invasive questions in a kind of pre-interview we-haven’t-really-gotten-to-the-job-questions kind of way.
Him: ‘So, do you live at home? Are you in school?’
They kept asking me those kinds of questions for a bit, but then the interview took a sharp turn:
Him: ‘You have a girlfriend?’
Him: ‘How’d you meet?’
Me: ‘I met her through a friend who I go out to this bar with for trivia. She showed up one night and we started talking, and we really hit it off. Not a really exciting story, I’m afraid.’
Him: ‘You hit it off, huh? Did you (making a weird motion with his hands)?’
Me: ‘Did we…?’
Him: ‘Did you two (air quotes) “hit it off” when you first met?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t really understand.’
Him: ‘Did you two go home together when you first met?’
Me: ‘Uh, I think you’re asking me if I got physical with my girlfriend on our first encounter? That’s doesn’t feel really appropriate.’
Him (Scoffs and says under his breath): ‘Some people are so uptight. Okay, so work questions.’
Once we finished all of the inappropriate personal questions, we got to the questions about the company and what the job entailed. Once it was completed, they offered me the job, but I turned it down.
I told this story to my brother and he said it wasn’t strange. This is a completely bizarre experience, right? Like, I understand the concept of two dudes shooting the breeze and talking about their love life, but asking those types of questions to a stranger you are interviewing for a job is uncalled for.”
He Shocked The Candidate And His Other Interviewers
“I was being interviewed by a young guy and two older ladies. The guy just kind of stared at me the entire interview while the women asked all of the questions. After they were done questioning me, one of them asked him if he had any questions for me and before she could finish the statement, he looked down at my chest and asked, ‘Are those real? They look really good!’
I was in shock.
The woman in charge asked me to please wait outside and after a minute, both ladies met me in the hallway and offered me the position I interviewed for at $2/hour more than what the position tops out at. I’m still here three years later, and I’ve never seen that guy since the interview. I was told later that he was an HR person.”
The Reason They Gave Up Verizon
“I was being interviewed by a certain cell phone service provider. The interview was going great, the manager was really nice and charismatic, but the last question really stuck out to me:
‘If this company implemented a policy that you thought was morally wrong, would you still follow said policy?’
I answered no and said that if I thought the policy was wrong on a moral level that I would likely quit the job. That’s when I was dismissed from the interview. Needless to say, I no longer use Verizon as a phone provider.”
When In Doubt, Go With The Breakfast Question
“I was asked, ‘Please write an essay about one of the following: Your hero, why you want to work in EMS, or what your favorite breakfast food is and why.’
This was for an EMT job. The essay portion made sense because EMTs write reports. The breakfast food portion, however, did not make sense. And I thought I’d aced the skills portion of the interview, so I was just messing around. I banged out a quick five-paragraph essay about how leftover Kung Pao Chicken is the best because it is delicious, it contains protein and produce, and eating it for breakfast means I’m likely to finish it off before any housemates steal it.
So, when I went in to meet with the bosses, I figured they were just going to thank me for my time and I was going to be dismissed from the proceedings. Instead, I got, ‘Are you the one who wrote the Kung Pao Chicken essay?’ Yes, sir. ‘NOBODY picks the breakfast essay! That was awesome! And you put some thought into it!’
I worked for that company for about eight years.
When I got pregnant, I had to go on light duty. The only opening was in the dispatch center. My interview was with an exasperated dispatcher, who was dispatching live on air at the time, with one question, ‘Are you sure you can handle the stress in here? Because [the former employee] couldn’t, and that’s why we’re down a dispatcher.’
I told him, ‘I don’t have a choice. I’m too fat to bend down and tie my boots and the billing department is not hiring, so this is it for me. I will find a way.’
Twelve years later, I’m still dispatching.”
Don’t Be Shocked When You Ask A Question Like That
“This one lady asked me what I liked to do for fun and I replied that, when traveling, I like to visit video stores in other towns. Most people like to look up places to eat or things to do and see, but I always look up where the closest video store.
She asked why I enjoyed doing this, so I explained my first job was at a video store and that, as a kid, I was given $5 every few days so I could go rent movies and movies were $0.50 each, so $5 got me a LOT of movies and I would spend hours in the store pouring over every movie because I had to find the absolute right ones to watch and therefore use my money wisely.
I explained that it basically just struck me as an adult that just bumming around a video store, checking out the selection and whatnot, was an easy and free way of relaxing and reminding me of a simpler time and that it then made it fun because I was doing something current that had a direct connection to something I liked doing ‘back then.’ She basically thought it meant I was crazy because I never heard from her again.”
Something Told Her They Were Obsessed With Diversity
“Not one specific question, but a series of them. Some of them would be fine as individual questions, but their emphasis on one certain aspect (and word) came off as obsessive and phony.
When I was fresh out of high school, I was approached by an employee in a trendy clothing store to apply. I figured, ‘Eh, why not?’ and did so. A few days later, I was called back to attend a group interview.
This company at the time was going through a series of lawsuits against them for racist hiring practices. They were notorious for being exclusionary. Given that they were trying to save face at the time all of their questions reflected this. It felt like every single question was some kind of trick to get us to say something racist. They started out standard enough but by the end, they really made no sense and seemed like rewordings of questions they’d already asked.
‘What is your opinion on diversity?’
‘Do you support diversity in the workplace?’
‘Describe a time when you didn’t get along with somebody of a different persuasion or background. What steps did you take the resolve the situation and what did you learn from it? Would you say that this was an example of diversity?’
‘Have you ever been in a diverse environment? How did you feel?’
‘Describe a time when you were with a diverse group of people and a problem involving diversity came up. What happened? How did it shape your opinion on diversity?’
‘Would you be willing to work in a diverse work environment with diversity?’
‘If two diverse coworkers were having a disagreement how would you go about solving it? How would you explain to them that diversity can be an asset?’
‘A coworker accuses another of stealing and you sense that they came to that conclusion based on having issues with diversity. How do you resolve the situation?’
‘Can you give an example of a situation you were in with a diverse group of people where you all worked together to achieve a common goal? Do you think diverse populations can come together and make great things happen?’
‘It is lunch time and you are getting everyone’s food orders. You notice that some orders are strange and you attribute this to their diversity and culture. Do you question their order or do you keep quiet and fulfill the request anyway? Would you be willing to try some of the diverse food?’
‘A customer walks up to you and complains that they experienced a clash in diversity with one of the sales people. What would you do to resolve the situation and how would you explain to them that we at [store name] embrace diversity?’
After maybe the third or fourth question, I just gave up and stopped trying. I grew up in an incredibly diverse area, but I’m not going to say that racism didn’t exist, and I’m not going to say I was ‘colorblind’ or whatever but race just wasn’t a factor in how I viewed people or situations.
For example, if there was ever a group project in school where nobody really saw eye-to-eye, it was more due to general conflict over anything else.
By the end, I just wanted to start messing with them by saying as many blatantly racist things as possible since that seemed to be what they were looking for. They could tell I checked out of the interview pretty early on and was just joking my way through the questions, so I may as well have had some fun with it.
As far as I know, most of the company’s workforce is still white, too.”
A Question So Random, Even The Employer Didn’t Know How To Answer It
“This one was sort-of my fault, but I was being interviewed and the interviewer asked how I would handle termination, and I said, ‘I would want to know why.’
She cut me off an apologized and said she meant how would I approach terminating an employee. I asked for the context and she said, ‘Imagine you had to fire me, how would that go?’
I was confused because I wasn’t applying for a position superior to her, so I asked what she was being fired for, and she innocently said, ‘I don’t know. I did something really inappropriate to you or with you. I mean, just something inappropriate.’
It was weird because neither of us seemed to know how to handle the interview at that point, but I did end up getting the job.”
By The End Of This Interview, They Didn’t Even Want The Job
“I went on this ridiculous interview for a sales position at some headhunter agency in Boston’s Back Bay one time. I was a young 21-year-old marketing major with no sales experience, never mind that specific type of sales, so I was doomed from the start, really, but I needed a job, so why not.
The first thing the hiring manager told me was that she wasn’t interviewing me and that I needed to go to the other office on Boylston. So…ok. I went there and had a wildly generic interview with some guy. He told me they didn’t know if they had a position for me, but I should go check with the other office up the street.
So I went there and had the exact same interview with some other person. ‘Oh, what brings you here today?’ Uhhh, I don’t know! WHAT IS HAPPENING?
This person then told me they didn’t know if there was a position, and to go back to Newbury Street and talk to the original person. Fine, whatever. I don’t even care anymore.
So the original person decided she could interview me. We talked about the Red Sox for a few minutes, and I am trying way too hard to not be frustrated and to just talk to her like a person, not an interviewer.
‘You still live at your parents’ house? Am I supposed to hire someone that lives in their parents’ basement?’
I was like three weeks out of college. I hadn’t unpacked yet. I told her I was saving up, I wanted to marry my girlfriend, we had plans for the future. I thought that was a good answer, but I was mad because what kind of question is that? So I said that quite frankly I didn’t see how it was any of her business and if I lived out of pickup truck in a Wendy’s parking lot but could sell her stupid thing, then maybe I was worth hiring.
She twirled her pen and told me the ‘point’ of the question was to see how I do under pressure when somebody is ‘putting your feet to the flames.’ Yeah, I knew that. She said she’d call me.
I was on my way home when the original recruiter called me and asked, ‘What’d you think?’ Yeah, man, that company sucks.
The job sounded terrible, all told. I would have had an hour commute into the city, and they expected 60 hours a week for an annual salary of around $30,000.
I’m good. No, thank you.”
This Guy Was More Puzzled By The Lack Of Questions
“I was in high school looking for a part-time job, so I went to a local Chinese restaurant and asked for an application. Their response was, ‘What’s that?’
I said I would like to work for them, so the person behind the counter told me to hold on for a minute, went into the kitchen to talk to the owner, and came back out to hand me a pen and a sticky note. He told me to write down some information. I wrote my name and phone number and asked if that enough and he said that it was.
So, I get a call over the weekend asking me to come in Monday after school. I thought, cool, got an interview. I showed up and they told me to pull my car around back. When I did, they came out of the restaurant with a bag of food and a GPS and said, ‘Here. Go deliver this.’
Needless to say, I got the job and worked for them for the next six years.”
“I Figured, ‘What Could I Lose?'”
“One interview, in particular, stands out in my mind. I hadn’t even applied for the job, they found me on LinkedIn and since I was looking, I figured, what could I lose?
The guy interviewing me came with a list of questions, which is pretty normal. But the questions he asked were pretty weird. One was, ‘If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?’ My answer was to fly because it would be fun and super easy to travel. He liked that answer.
Then he asked me to rate things on a scale of 1-10. One was, ‘How much do you value honesty?’ So I said 9 since I’m an honest person and value honesty in others. He liked that answer.
A few questions later, he asked, ‘How much do you value getting things done on time?’ I said 7 because you can’t always anticipate how long things can take to be resolved and sometimes there are complications. He asked me ‘So you don’t value getting things done on time then?’ I said, ‘No, it’s not that, but I told you earlier that I value honesty more.’ He really liked that answer.
Anyway, they ended up offering me the job and I turned them down. So they called me back with a better offer and I still said no. At this point, the nice HR lady asked me why I was turning them down so I told her, ‘I never even applied for this job! You called me to set up the interview. And the interview I had with your company was one of the weirdest I’ve ever had, so I don’t think it would be a good fit.'”
When He Later Asked About The Interviewer, Everyone Was Shocked By His Behavior
“I was interviewing for a spot at a huge global corporation, absolutely killed the first interview; a few months later, I was invited back for a follow up with some higher-ups. One of the interviewers couldn’t make it, so they substituted him with a mid-level employee who seemed to really like me. There were two gentlemen in the room asking me a variety of questions, right from the word ‘GO,’ the one guy knocked everything I said, disagreed, and wasn’t exactly pleasant. The other person was very agreeable, and at times, enthusiastic with my answers.
The first weird question from the guy who didn’t seem to like me was some trivial question that I answered. He then looked at me and repeated the question, I repeated my answer, albeit slightly rephrased. He looked at me with total disappointment, let out a sigh for a good five to 10 seconds, and said, ‘I have clearly failed to draw the correct response from you, what I was looking for was,’ and word for word repeated my answer back to me. I kind of shrug it off. The interview goes on. Midway through the interview, he slammed his copy of my resume on the desk, interrupting the interview, looked at me and said, ‘Mac, do you suffer from anger management trouble?’
I am pretty level-headed, so I replied that I did not. About five minutes later he huffed, put my resume down, said, ‘Thank you’ shook my hand and walked out, to never be seen again.
Meanwhile, a third gentleman had shown up who made the other guy leave and then interviewed me on his own. Five days later, I got an offer and took it. A few months later, I was talking with some people and told them this story and who it was, and NO ONE could believe it. Apparently, he never acted like that and I’ve never seen him since, and he has now retired, so I guess I never will see him again.”