Interview questions I never want to hear again

Posted on: 05/02/2020

Interview questions

 

As a candidate and as a recruiter I have heard many an interview question. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Here are some interview questions that I have been asked….and I never want to hear again!

 

‘Sell me this pen’

This was my interview for my first-ever full-time job. Now granted, it was for a telesales role, but this is still one of the worst things I have ever heard. I don’t know how putting an 18-year-old on the spot to sell an item that is a necessity really has any bearing on how I would perform selling financial services products over the phone.

‘I tend to hire graduates and you don’t have a degree, so why should I hire you over someone fresh out of Uni?’

To give this some context, I had been working in recruitment at 3 years at this point and had managed a team. The director of this business posed this question to me during my first stage interview. Not only is a degree irrelevant to my ability to do my job (which I had been doing for the past 3 years without a degree), but it actually felt pretty belittling. Needless to say, I didn’t return for a second interview – which I got invited to, despite my lack of education!

 

‘If you could be any animal what kind would you be?’

I never know what to make of these questions, I think people use them to try and judge character or personality, based on what people answer. In my opinion this question poses any use. Especially as it just makes the candidate overthink their answer. SO, if it is simply being used as an icebreaker, you have probably made them tenser than anything. FYI – I would be a penguin.

 

‘Why should we hire you?’

Now I don’t disagree with the principle of asking this question, I think there are definitely better ways of phrasing it. This comes across as super aggressive and puts people on the spot. If you rephrase this to ‘What skills and experience do you have that you feel would be beneficial for the role’? It allows candidates to put some thought into an answer and doesn’t make them feel like they are on the back foot.

 

‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’

I don’t like this question on many levels. You don’t know what the interviewer is trying to gauge with this. If you say in the same role, do they see you as unambitious, or loyal? If you say you want to progress, do they feel threatened by you, or think you won’t stick around? Are they trying to gauge whether you are planning on having children? There isn’t much value in asking this question alone

 

What are the worst interview questions you have ever been asked, and how did you respond?

 

For all things HR Shared Services or if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

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