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The 5 Worst Things You Could Be Asked To Do At A Job Interview

Job interviews are hard. Even getting job interviews are hard. So when Alan Bacon, 21, was asked to dance to Daft Punk as part of an interview for a sales assistant position for Curry’s appliance megastore, he wasn’t thrilled.

man in business suit stressed

I guess you could say he didn’t…get lucky.

Image: Photosebia via Shutterstock

He was actually “incredulous”, “embarrassed” and “uncomfortable.” Makes sense, considering nothing about the job has to do with dancing. “I told my dad it was like a scene out of The Office. I would have walked out but I need a job. Another middle aged guy looked really upset as he danced to a rap song.” (BBC News). Currys since apologized and claimed that the request was just a “mistake” and “not part of its official recruitment processes.”

Here are some of the worst things you could be asked to do at a job interview. Some have happened, some could happen, some may never happen (to you). But it’s good to be prepared for the horribly unexpected.

5. You could be asked to sing.

woman singing into microphone

Image: Rasulov via Shutterstock

Apparently that’s what LivingSocial asked for potential “Adventures City Managers”. The full question being, “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.” They’re not even the first company who’s asked that on an unsupsecting interviewee.

man singing in a suit

“This is a little ditty called, ‘Screw You, I Didn’t Want To Work At Sears Anyway.'”

Image: Stanislav Komogorov via Shutterstock

Again, this is a terrible thing to ask because it that has nothing to do with the job and interviewees aren’t monkeys put there to entertain you. Unless you’re interviewing entertaining monkeys.

4. You could be asked about your personal tastes.

confused man

Image: Asier Romero via Shutterstock

These are questions that you would expect to find in a quiz section of a teen magazine, not at a job interview. Questions like, “Pick two celebrities to be your parents” (asked at an Urban Outfitters interview, which I know isn’t a question, but you know what I mean) or “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?” (asked by PricewaterhouseCoopers). What are they even looking for with questions like these? I guess Urban Outfitters is trying to figure out if you’re cool enough to work there, while the interviewer at Pricewaterhouse is just crowdsourcing his options.

male job interviewer

“My wife cheated on me with my brother. How would you best enact revenge?”

Image: auremar via Shutterstock

And these are the sorts of questions that don’t seem to have right answers. They really just seem like excuses to eliminate people based on personal preference for things that aren’t job related.

3. You could be asked to give your age.

old asian woman

Image: sunabesyou via Shutterstock

In most places, this is an illegal thing of potential employers to ask, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t do it, especially in Los Angeles.  You’re supposed to be protected from questions about age and religion, so that you’re not unfairly discriminated against. But some employers either don’t know that, or don’t care. And then you’re left sitting there awkwardly, unsure if you should tell them, lie, or say, “I don’t think you’re allowed to ask that.” No matter what, you’re still going to feel weird and you may wonder if you even want to work at a place that would ask.

clothing store stylist interview

I was asked this on an interview for a sales job at a clothing store. I said, “I’m over one-hundred. I’m Dumbledore!” And then I waved my wand and disappeared into a puff of smoke.

Image: Africa Studio via Shutterstock

2. You could be asked to do unrelated and complicated math problems.

math equation Image: Gajus via Shutterstock

It’s not that these math questions are (always) hard, it’s just that they come out of nowhere and are impossible to answer on the spot. For example, JetBlue has been known to ask, “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?” (“I don’t know, I’d have to ask Google”) and Google has asked, “How many cows are in Canada?” (“I don’t know, I’d have to ask Goo–damnit.”)

If the job is in the math field, then you should be ready to solve a math problem. Otherwise it’s just frustrating. Yes, I get that the idea is to see how the person would problem solve…or…wait, maybe the idea is to see how they react when a random question is thrown at them…or maybe it’s to see their reasoning skills at work, or…no, screw you, JetBlue. There is no answer anyone could give to your Empire State building quarters question that would prove anything other than sheer patience for not wanting to punch you in the face for asking.

regis philbin who wants to be a millionaire

Is this a job interview or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Image via Showbiz 411.

Then there’s the question that’s apparently been said at a few major companies, Bain & Company being one of them: “Estimate how many windows are in New York.” Ugh.

1. You could be asked to go on a date.

coworker hitting on

Image:  Khakimullin Aleksandr via Shutterstock

I wish this didn’t happen as often as it did. But a few of my friends have gone on job interviews and felt like they were being aggressively hit on by their male interviewer and one guy even asked my friend out. It was towards the end of the interview and she had no idea what to do. Up until that point, he hadn’t seemed like a creepy guy. She said it felt like it came out of nowhere and she gave an embarrassed laugh and said something about having a boyfriend. She’s still kicking herself that she didn’t tell the guy off and report him. (She didn’t get the job anyway. I have a sad feeling maybe she wasn’t ever being seriously considered for it.)

What’s the weirdest job interview request you’ve ever gotten?

Photo of job interviewees by baranq for Shutterstock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=79700325 Liz Sager

    For the first four (because with dancing it’s six) I was like, “Yeah, the word you’re looking for is audition.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7956606 Ellie Julier

    It took me a minute, but the answer to the JetBlue question is probably the cost of admission to the observation deck, divided by 25 cents. Perhaps this weeds out candidates who don’t think as practically? Regardless, I probably would have realized this after I had left the interview.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9392153 Suheiry Feliciano

      You’re freaking brilliant. I would never have come to that conclusion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1169040070 Lily Miller

    I had an interview over a month ago that I thought went okay, but not great, solely based on two interview questions that were in the “getting to know you” category and the “random question” category. The random question was, “If you could control what to put on every billboard in the city for what day, what would you put on there?” Not the worst, but it definitely stumped me and I’ve been thinking about it ever since I left the interview. The other one, for the “getting to know you category,” was, “If you could get rid of any state in the U.S., which one would you get rid of and why?” I said Florida, for a variety of reasons but mostly because I was worried about it being underwater soon.
    My interviewer’s family lives in Florida.
    How was I supposed to know that?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1567291007 Tracey White

    I worked for a guy who made applicants submit a handwriting sample for analysis. That’s the only unusual thing I’ve encountered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1328751165 Faith Josephine Justins

    For the urban outfitter’s question I would probably say Tom Ford(!) and Kerry Washington. With Both genes, I Would never go wrong!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000010843896 Yumi Ang

    As off-the-wall as these interview questions can seem, I thought most of these “unrelated-to-job” questions were asked to see how you the interviewer would react. Like if you were faced with a situation with a client, co-worker, etc. that you don’t encounter daily… I thought the interviewer wants to see “your process” and not just the right answer..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=771816941 Lisa Pereira

    The person interviewing me was running “a couple of hours late”, and since the boss was out, everyone in the office wanted to go to lunch together. They asked me if I could hang out a few hours to wait for the interviewer/boss, and since I was there, could I answer the phones while they all ran out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=150801491 Genevieve ‘Genni’ Ormon

      This is the most disrespectful thing I have ever heard! What is wrong with people? as Effie Trinket would say, “Manners!” smh

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6709147 Katie Funk

    I definitely don’t agree with #2 – I’ve been asked these questions many times, and they’re usually not looking for the “correct” answer, they’re asked to judge your analytical thinking skills, as well as how good you are at staying calm and thinking on your feet. I wouldn’t base an entire interview solely off of these types of questions, but they do have merit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1683661612 Charity S Wagner

    A number of years back, I had a guy ask me out on a date during the middle of an interview. Even worse, he was a married man 20 years my elder that walked dragging one leg – not your typical Don Juan. It shocked the heck out of me & was awefully awkward. I’d realized car dealerships were known for sleezy guys, but hadn’t expected that spilled over into their graphics dept. as well. Who knew.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=801766461 Annalisa Marie

      Maybe he thought you’d say yes because your name is Charity? Haha, sorry I just had to say it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680506869 Ailin Borquez

    I once had to write a poem and they ended up publishing it in the company’s website (!!!) after they hired me… On the same group interview, they asked someone to sing and someone else to write a short story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1539466293 Sophie Aronson

    I went in for a photography position and after asking what subjects in school I liked and disliked (math) he gave me a math test on the spot. I should have seen it coming but I was completely shocked and upset, however when they called me in for a second interview I was so distracted with being mad at him that I didn’t even get nervous – and asked him if his company was in any threat of having to close its doors. I actually got that job. I heard afterwards he did that to everyone and even made a few girls walk out crying because of that math test. I understand the value of the math questions now but also understand how upsetting it can be if you’re not expecting it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=304700684 Nicola Elizabeth

    I’ve been asked questions like #4 and I think it’s to judge character, if you picked Rihanna and Chris Brown maybe you aren’t for Talbots ha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=835105170 Hannah Mella

    I once went to interview for a graphic design internship and spent almost three and a half hours watching youtube videos that the interviewer thought were funny and listening to him boast about his life achievements. Not once did he ask me a question or ask to see my work. Strangely enough, I was offered the position but thank god I got another internship at a better company!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1060121188 Lisa Newlin

    When I interviewed for the job I have now, my boss asked me to tell him something interesting about myself that wasn’t on my resume. I considered telling him I had herpes, but thought better of it.

    I don’t have herpes, but I thought it would make for interesting (and awkward) conversation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486842021 Aaron Jo Smith

      similar thing happened to me. the interviewer wanted to know something interesting about me that he didn’t know from my application. i told him that as of august 3rd i was free of MOST sexually transmitted deceases. Needless to say the funny side wasn’t seen and i remained a full time unemployed guy. kind of worth it

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002581598663 Hans Johan Svensson

    Only one of them has happened to me: Here in Sweden your social security code is allways asked for and you have to give it up for taxpurpouses. Aplications are usually expected in written form – then they might sit down to talk to you.
    Some are today even asking for a draft out of your criminal record to proove that you are not a criminal – wich is illeegal but they do it anyway. Such a draft is leagal if you apply to work with children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486842021 Aaron Jo Smith

    i have the worst history of job interviews ever. i’ve been asked the most asinine questions possible i,e how would you describe a tree and how does it make you feel(what has this got to do with selling shoes?), if you were a superhero what power would you have if you weren’t allowed super strength(why exclude super strength?) and how far in to the harry potter franchise is it ok to start finding emma watson attractive?(creepy). i swear sometimes the interviewers have already decided who’s got the job and just wants to laugh through the remaining interviews.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=801766461 Annalisa Marie

    Here’s my weird story: Several years ago, my husband gave me a job lead for a medical office where he had temped as an x-ray tech — he’d heard they were looking for a full time receptionist. I applied and was excited to get an interview. The interview seemed to go OK, but at the end, the office manager said he’d only hire me if I gave him the recipe for my curried roasted squash soup or if I promised to make him some and bring it to work. Apparently, my husband had taken some of my soup to work with him when he’d temped there, and the office manager had smelled it and decided he wanted to make my husband share it with him (which was weird enough on its own), but he was excited when I had applied because he thought he could get more of the soup if he hired me. I mean, it’s good soup I guess, but…it was a pretty bizarre request.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001211313350 Annie Petunia

    I haven’t had the best of luck with employment and the one job I have had was horrible. I had applied for a job where the current employee was pregnant and she was about to have her baby any day. The organization had waited so long to hire anyone and they wanted the new employee to train for 6 months with the current one. During my interview the #2 in charge (her husband was #1) told me a story about one of their board members and how he was a “people” person. After she told me this story, she then asked me if I was a people people people person. Yes, she really said people 3 times! I was so confused that even to this day, I have no clue what I said as an answer. I ended up getting sick suddenly and due to some other health problems, it was VERY serious. My employers and immediate supervisor were not understanding or caring at all. What makes this so terrible is that this job was with a Christian non-profit! They were so horrible to me just because I got sick. I already have another disability that they were harassing me about and were threatening to let me go anyway (if I had known more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, I would have burned them!).
    While I was at a dr. appt. the woman who showed me back to my exam room asked something about my work and when I told her where I worked, she replied, “You must have just gotten that job. I thought that was really odd. She then went on to explain that she had applied for the job and during the interview they not only had her crying, but had her doubting her faith! And these are supposed to be fellow Christians! I am so glad I know that not all Christians and humans behave the way these horrible people do. I loved the actual job and work, but the people I worked with and for were just so inexplicably terrible. I ended up having to quit and when I did, I wrote a long letter to the couple that owned and ran the organization. I let them know that they were/are a joke to the community and many people know to not even waste their time and call them, because they know the elderly volunteers (they’re too cheap to hire a proper receptionist) won’t deliver their messages and if they do, they don’t get called back. Unfortunately because I know how these people are, I won’t post this with my real facebook, because I still have people from that community on my facebook and I don’t want this to start any problems for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=547475778 Sofia Lasson

    A lot of unexpected questions might provide the interviewer with valuable information in determining whether or not the person suits the position. However, I think most employers need to consider the interview process asa part of their Employer Branding process rather than just a way of minimizing the risks of hiring the wrong person. I was once asked “When was the last time you cried?” Even if I answered the question in a good way I felt it was way too private and therefor lost all my interest in that company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006612761551 Carmen Bridges

    I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do, http://www.Best96.com

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