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What is the worst interview question you have been asked or asked during an interview?

worst job interview questionsI saw an article on this topic on LinkedIn and thought it would great to get some comments from the Proformative Community. From my own experience, I was asked "if you could give one person poison that would end their life or put it into a pond that could kill no one or several people what would you do"?

Among the "off the cuff" questions I have asked that I wished I could have back is:"If I asked your mother to tell me your top five weakness what would she say?"

I look forward to many interesting questions contributed by others.

 

Answers

Helen Palmqvist
Title: Business Controller
Company: Marabu Scandinavia AB
(Business Controller , Marabu Scandinavia AB ) |

In my younger years I was often asked when I was planning to get kids.

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

"Can you tell me your three greatest strengths, and weaknesses" (sorry, had to!)

Most uncomfortable: (though I can see the value), "What is the worst thing you have ever done?"

Anonymous
(Agent) |

I'm from Hawaii and interviewed with a Big 4 recruiter when I moved to Washington. The recruiter asked me if I was a citizen of Hawaii and if I required a visa...

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

While not an interview question, but the same ignorant vein, we were in a restaurant in nowhere Utah. The waitress upon finding out we lived in Manhattan asked if the Sun every hit the ground...

Ern Miller
Title: Co-CEO
Company: Miller Small Business Solutions
(Co-CEO, Miller Small Business Solutions) |

Wayne, having been to Manhattan, it was probably in reference to attitudes rather than weather.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

Only further support for my disdain for recruiters in general. They really do not add value for either employer or the prospective employee.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Now, wait a minute Wayne. That was legitimate. I've spent many a day in downtown San Francisco and the building shadows were such that the streets below were never touched by the sun that day.

Or maybe, it was due to fog?????? :-)

Anonymous
(Treasurer) |

Incredible! My brother-in-law is a native of Kauai, and a few years ago when I mentioned this to our town librarian (a librarian, of all people!), she asked innocently, "Oh, was he educated in the US or his country"? Umm, what could I say?

Anonymous
(Financial Coordinator) |

If you could be a super hero, which one would you be and why?

Anonymous
(Treasurer) |

I've actually asked that question in interviews. It gives an interesting insight into a candidate's thought processes and what they value.

Audrey C
Title: Controller
Company: Conveyco Mfg Co.
(Controller, Conveyco Mfg Co.) |

"If you could describe yourself as a Microsoft Office product, which one would you be?"

Anonymous
(Director of Internal Audit) |

"Don't you think it's harder on the kids when the mother works out of the home?"

Anonymous
(CFO) |

In the mid '80's, I was interviewed by a CEO of a regional construction company for a Controller position. He was an immigrant from Spain and the company employed many others from the same region of that country. He was interested in my last name and asked me "Are you Spainish?" When I responded that I was of Italian descent, he exclaimed, "Italian!? Oh, I am so sorry. We don't hire Italians here!" He was joking but was serious enough that I was ready to walk out after giving him a piece of my mind.

Jocelyne Lanovaz
Title: Vice President - Finance
Company: CashCo ADM Inc
(Vice President - Finance, CashCo ADM Inc) |

I was asked, "If I could be an animal, what would it be, and why?" ... Wish I could figure out exactly what they were trying to glean from this.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Who asked this question (position/title)?

I have my suspicions...

Jocelyne Lanovaz
Title: Vice President - Finance
Company: CashCo ADM Inc
(Vice President - Finance, CashCo ADM Inc) |

Wayne ... it was the Executive VP / COO

Roni Faxon
Title: Division Finance Manager
Company: Intevac, Inc
(Division Finance Manager, Intevac, Inc) |

Perhaps he wanted to see how, "out-of-the-box" you were able to think. In the animal kingdom, there are packs with an Alfa leader, there are herds that work together, and there are loners with survivor skills. Translating to a human factor, are you a leader, a team member, or are you a "I will do it myself" type of person?

zohreh gholami
Title: cfo
Company: didavarlens
(cfo, didavarlens) |

"what was the last movie you saw?"

Mark Purintun
Title: Controller
Company: in-between
(Controller, in-between) |

"If you were a tree, what kind would you be?"

Leads me to think he was familiar with all the various trees on the planet.

Of the five trees I could think of, I said "elm". Never got the offer...

Rene Kelly
Title: Treasury Analyst
Company: NASCAR
(Treasury Analyst, NASCAR) |

Wasn't exactly a question, but back in the '70's, I once didn't get a job "because young women just have kids and miss too much work." Not sure which was worse - that it was openly stated or that it was another (older) woman who said it.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

In the 70's and 80's I was frequently turned down because I am male and white. Most often by governmental agencies who strongly believed in their affirmative action programs and were very open about it in interviews.

In one case, it was a Big 8 auditor. They conducted a large group interview of recent grads and told us at the initial, introductory meeting that they were present specifically to recruit women and minorities. That they already had too many white males.

I took great offense to this back then and was outraged. But, since that time, I've faced the same barrier only the employers were not so open about it.

That made me realize that, those who had flat out told me they were eliminating me due to my race and gender, were doing me a favor. At least they were being honest.

Those who do this underhandedly are not. I may not like it but, I'd rather know the truth.

I was recently asked to not be in a group picture for a public release about an award that our agency received and then I was asked to not attend the conference where it was being presented. Instead, a non-white contract colleague was asked to attend in my stead because the CEO didn't want it to appear that management here, was not diverse.

I could take offense but, there is little value in doing so. I do feel really bad for the contractor who was asked to attend the conference. He wonders why there was this sudden interest in his attendance. How sad for him that he does not realize that he was being exploited for his outward appearance.

And, neither he nor I really like going to these CEO ego gratifying conferences where tens of thousands of taxpayer funds are wasted on mutual admiration activities.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

On the question of: Tell me about your most uncomfortable situation. I made the mistake of talking about me being a witness with my boss present telling HR about my boss sexually harassing a co-worker. The interviewer questioned me like it was a bad thing to tell the truth. I didn't come forward until HR asked. This boss should of been fired, but in a big Company, he was buried in another division. A few years later, I had the pleasure of signing his severance check. Karma.

Lyn Spens
Title: Consulting Manager
Company: Tyler Technologies
LinkedIn Profile
(Consulting Manager, Tyler Technologies) |

It wasn't on the job interview because I never got it. But on the job application form I was asked if I was married and how much my husband made. This was in the '80s, when questions like this were not allowed. So I didn't answer them. I was not surprised that I was never called for an interview.

Anonymous
(VP of Finance) |

"If you were having a dinner party & could invite any 5 people, living or from history, who would you invite?"
"What would I learn about you within 6 months that I don't know now?"
From the founder/President of the Company.

Logan C
Title: Business Analyst
Company: PSM
(Business Analyst, PSM) |

I hate 2 questions, I find all the answers to it is ... Cliche
What is your weakness?
Where do you yourself after 5 years?

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