Useless interview questions

Home Forums Human Resources Useless interview questions

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Mike McDowell 8 years, 9 months ago.

  • Author
  • #98128

    Dan Gephart

    How old are you? What is your maiden name? Are you married? Have you ever been arrested? During our HR & EEO in the Federal Workplace Conference session on EEO and Hiring/Promotion, speakers Allison Uehling of LRP and Tony Kaminski of the EEOC talked about the questions that could get managers/agencies into EEO trouble. But an interesting point they made is that not only are these questions illegal — they are not helpful at all in determining if the employee is qualified for the job.

    That got me thinking about other useless questions you hear in interviews. Anybody want to share some of the “dumb” questions they’ve been asked or asked themselves in interviews? Something like … if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

    Or, to make it more positive, what are some of the best interview questions you’ve asked or been asked?

  • #98144

    Mike McDowell

    I was asked in an interview for a City Manager position if I had ever been a member of the Ku Klux Klan ( the answer was “NO”).

  • #98142


    During an interview, one of the panel members said to me I was looking at your arms. You have some nice arms, do you work out?

  • #98140

    Bill Bott

    I was asked who my favorite President was… which was a trick question for “which political party do you support”

  • #98138

    Srinidhi Boray

    When there existed a real opportunity –

    I was asked straight forward questions and hired pretty much quickly and these projects had higher opportunity of success. Also the hiring managers knew pretty much what they wanted and how the candidate suited the requirement.

    When the real opportunity did not exist –

    Interview was a mock drill exercise and from the questions it was evident that interviewers were not prepared, had not read the resume. It was waste of time and money wasted on dry washing the suit, gas for car and parking etc etc. The company and the interviewers seemed in callous disregard and respect for the candidate. I think this debased behavior occurs due to what is defined by the “Lucifer Effect”

    The questions that interviewers ask evidently tell how genuine people are and the company is. Unfortunately most of it has become a mock drill exercise.

  • #98136

    Bill Bott

    Wow – what a horrible interview… Having been the interviewer dozens of times – I always try to make sure that every candidate coming in has the potential to win the job. In fact, based on resume and recommendations – I expect to hire each one – it’s up to them to give me a reason not to hire them during the questions…

  • #98134

    Bill Bott

    I like to use scenario questions with no right or wrong answers – just a good way to see how they think. For example – we hired a network coordinator for a 40,000 employee organization – we gave candidates the scenario that the network is down – they can bring it back up now but they would have to break some security protocols to do it… otherwise it might take 12-24 hours.

    Answers ranged form – customer is first… bring it up -to- Security trumps service – keep it down

    One candidate asked us like 10 questions out the gate… What is the security risk? What time of day did it go down? Is this a regular occurrence or a one time event? Is it a key time of the week or month for our customers?

    Yeah – he got the job.

  • #98132

    Gayle Wiegand

    My first name is Gayle. I went to an interview many years ago where the interviewer point blank said: Your name is confusing, I thought you were a guy. I wouldn’t have asked you to come in had I known you were a woman!
    Was probably illegal.

  • #98130

    Gina Robson

    On one of my first interviews out of college, the interviewer looked at my resume and said “I see you were in a sorority. So what, you can’t think for yourself and had to be a lemming?” I’m not sure if it impressed or shocked him when I mentioned that I was a founding member of the group, so rather than following, I was a leader. Did not go back for a second interview there.

    I never appreciated it when interviewers seemed unprepared to answer questions from me or worse, gave me vague responses that didn’t really answer the question. A harbinger of the type of employer, I suppose.

    As for some of the best questions, I appreciated scenario questions like Bill mentioned. It gave insight into the employer and the types of situations, and gave me the ability to show what I could do rather than what I could talk about.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.