“How do you feel about a monkey in the office?” The worst job interview questions ever

Today’s  job seekers try to prepare for everything.

They diligently research the background of companies to try to match their specific talents, experiences and expertise with what is required in the job posting.  They spend long hours customizing their resumes and cover letters.   They have incredible patience and perseverance, waiting by the phone and willing to jump at a moment’s notice for an interview.

And when they do get an interview, they rehearse their answers to the most commonly asked interview questions.

But even the most experienced job seeker would be at a loss when asked the questions below.

These are all real questions asked at real job interviews.  Perhaps the recruiter was trying to be cute or trying to see how the job seeker would handle an odd question, but these have got to be some of the worst questions asked at a job interview…..ever.

Some of these questions are illegal to ask.  At the very least many of them are inappropriate.  Others are just silly.   Some of these zingers are born from bizarre workplace  profile tests in which they are attempting to somehow judge whether your personality would fit in the corporate culture of the company.

Nevertheless, if you get asked an odd question, take a deep breath and don’t say the first thing that comes to mind.   Take a moment and decide the best response.  Granted, in some cases that best response might be standing up and walking out.

The Worst Interview Questions Ever

“If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you want poured on you?”

“How do you define sexual harassment?”

“Pretend I am an Eskimo and sell me a freezer.”

“We’ve already made a hiring decision, but I’m required to ask you  some questions anyway.”

“It’s OK if you don’t know a lot about our industry.  Our CEO’s kind of an idiot about what we do as well.”

“How do you feel about a monkey in the office?”

“Are you sure you are Hispanic?  Your last name sure doesn’t sound Latin.”

I was asked “Why are pothole covers round?” while interviewing for a reception job years ago. WHAT? Luckily I got it right (so they don’t fall in), and still didn’t get the job.

“You’re not the type that would sue your employer, are you?”

“When was the last time you did something illegal?”

“What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?”

“We don’t allow personal calls at work.  Would your children ever call you?”

“You’d be the fourth person in this position in the last six months.  What traits do you think will help you stay in this position?”

“Are you dating anyone? Well don’t date anyone here.”

“If you were to pick the theme song that would be played when you stepped out onto home plate at Coors Field – what would it be?”

“Do you care if your boss reads your email?”

“If we don’t hire you, which of our competitors would you want to work for?” Followed by:  “If we finally offered the same wages as them, would you work for us?”

“If we hire you, do you promise not to quit?”

“How do you feel about working unpaid overtime?”

“Do you speak Japanese?”   Uhhh…shouldn’t they have put that in the ad??

“Are you pregnant, or going to get pregnant in the next 12 months?”

During a phone interview – “Are you as sexy as your voice?”

“Why do you want this job when you should be home having babies?”

“If you were a celebrity, who would you be?”

“If you could be a teacher, a jet pilot or an actor, which would you be and why?”

and lastly (after the interview) –

“We know we offered you the job, but our new CEO asked us to hire a friend of the Mayor’s instead.”



Filed under Human Resources, Job advice, Job Interview, Job Posting, Job Recruiters, Job Seeker, Uncategorized

6 responses to ““How do you feel about a monkey in the office?” The worst job interview questions ever

  1. I learned after I was offered (and accepted) the job that the staff sat around guessing my ethnicity after my interview. I only found out because someone asked me, so he could see if his guess was right! I don’t work there anymore 🙂

  2. The worst question I was ever asked is “what is my greatest shortcoming.” What an opportunity to invite you to lie! There is no good answer. It only prods you into being articulate under pressure and come up with something that is bad only if in excess but good if in control. Like, “attention to detail.” But the glibness is more important than if it is true. After all, what are they going to do with this information? What answer could they be looking for?

  3. Lisa

    A favorite of mine actually came after the interview but before the offer–“What’s more important to you, your salary requirements or getting a job?”

  4. MaryClare

    In response to most of these questions, I would say, ‘are you really as stupid as you look?’ Or in in response to not looking like my ethnicity, I would say, ‘well, at least I don’t look like an a–hole like you do.’ Of course, when saying these retorts, you can be assured of not getting the job. But then WHY would you want to work for such as asinine employer/company? These questions obviously set the tone of what your working environment will be.

    I quit the 8 to 5 rat race over 22 yrs. ago and have been self-employed since. For many years previous, I was self-employed or was on commission. It was the most money I’ve ever made and the sky was the limit.

    I answer to no one, set my own hours, and if my kids had a school event or we want to take a vacation, voila! We do it…no questions asked…

    Jobs are a good learning experience and hopefully you will realize sooner than later, that working smarter, not harder, is the way to go. If you’re truly doing what you love, than it won’t seem like ‘work’ at all, although it will probably involve more effort and tenacity, not to mention discipline and organization than what was required in an 8-5 job (just over broke).

    Take money out of the equation, and what would you do? Not to say money is not important, but what do you find yourself gravitating towards in your spare time or daydreaming about doing?

    I love working w/people and helping them become healthier and I am now into my 2nd career at age 55. The first, which I still do w/my husband, involves educational books, and yet, I find myself wanting to re-create myself into the health & wellness field which I’ve always been interested in and have benefited from being knowledgeable about.

    Life is too short not to be doing what you love to do. Fast forward to your deathbed if you want to get your priorities straight. Visualize laying there asking yourself, ‘did I do everything I wanted to do in life? ‘Do I have any regrets?’ Answering these questions will put everything into perspective and get you focused, hopefully, on what you ought to be doing w/your life.

  5. Stephanie

    This wasn’t a case of the worst interview questions, but definitely the worst interview I’ve ever had. The very young gentleman who was the manager and had been promoted three times in the past four years due to the high attrition in the company told me it really wasn’t a great place to work, the benefits aren’t good, they have strict time requirements, you’re expected to work at least 9 to 10 hours a day and they pay below market. If you clock in one minute late, an email goes to the VP and you have to explain why you were late. The only reason he thinks people should work there is for the opportunity of advancement. I promptly sent a “thanks but no thanks” letter.

  6. Pingback: Lost Loyalty. The Harsh Realities and How to Find Companies That Will Treat You Right « Where's Lefty

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