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25 of the worst interview questions ever asked

17/08/2018 by Nandip Aulak

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Many more people are interviewed for jobs than do the interviewing. That's why it's so important to know how to answer difficult interview questions. But as an interviewer, asking the right questions is essential to identifying the top talent for your business. Asking the wrong questions just wastes time.

Asking the worst questions can damage your business's reputation. Here is a collection of the worst interview questions ever asked.

1. How lucky are you and why?

2. Are you more of a hunter or gatherer?

3. How honest are you?

4. What's the worst thing you have done in your life?

5. How would your friends describe you?

7. Are you a cat person?

8. If you could invite anyone, alive or dead, to a dinner party, who would you invite?

10. Are you a Coronation Street or EastEnders fan?

11. Tell me about your last travel experience

12. How many divots are on a golf ball?

13. Where do you see yourself in five years?

14. Are you single?

15. If you could be someone else for a day who would you be?

17. What super power would you like and why?

18. What would your last boss say about you?

19. Are you thinking about retiring?

20. Why have you been unemployed so long?

21. Sell me this pen.

22. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

23. Would you rather fight a duck the size of a horse or 50 duck-sized horses?

24. Why did you apply for this job?

25. How much were you paid in your last job?

These questions are irrelevant or unprofessional. They will not tell you anything meaningful about the candidate and does not give them any opportunity to demonstrate their talents.

Google and other "cutting edge" tech companies commonly used brainteaser interview questions. But today they have fallen out of favour, and with good reason. Brainteaser questions only "serve to make the interviewer feel smart" according Google exec Laszlo Block.

Research on the connection between being able to correctly solve a brainteaser and future job performance and/or IQ is questionable and inconsistent. As a result, questions like that are a bit of a waste of time.

When interviewing a candidate, it's important to ask questions that will help you decide whether the candidate is the right one for you.

In addition to technical questions that test the candidate's expertise, you need to make sure they are the right cultural fit for you business. A question like "how honest are you?" won't reveal any technical expertise or cultural fit. Any candidate is going to  claim their honesty during a job interview, so you learn nothing.

Personal questions, such as those that reference your age, sexuality, previous pay and favourite soap could present your business as prejudiced. While these questions may seem perfectly reasonable to you, you are not legally allowed to discriminate against someone on their personal circumstances.

It is not legal to ask questions of this sort. If the client feels they did not get the job because of their answers to these questions they are within their rights to complain.

Vague hypothetical questions, including "where do you see yourself in five years?" serve no practical purpose and have little bearing on the interview and the job being applied for. While it is important to be reassured that your candidate isn't going to leave as soon as they arrive, the focus of the interview should be the job at hand.

If you're a candidate, remember that a job interview is as much an opportunity to find out about the business as it is the business getting to know you. It's a two-way street. So, if you get asked a question you don't think is appropriate, bear it in mind when you make the decision of whether or not you should take the job.

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