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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.