Star Wars or Star Trek? Questions you just might hear in the interview

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As someone who doesn’t know a Klingon from a Jedi, I’ve watched in bewilderment as friends have debated which franchise is superior: “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.” Normally, I feign interest for a few minutes and then tune out when someone begins to imitate Yoda. The next time I’m in this situation, I might start taking notes instead.

Interviewers, tired of asking the same old questions again and again, are posing unique questions to job seekers. Some that seemingly have no right answer, and job seekers have reported being asked which they prefer, “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.” We’re not talking about the usual head scratchers or about jobs where this information is relevant, such as a comics store or special effects studio. No, organizations of all sizes and in a variety of industries are posing unusual questions to their interviewees., the online shoe seller known for its relaxed culture and quirky employees, has one of the more interesting applications you’re likely to see. According to Christa Foley, a recruiting manager for the company, you might be asked any of the following:

  • If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
  • If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you? Why did you choose that number?
  • What was your best MacGyver moment?
  • If you saw someone steal a quarter, would you report it? If not, what dollar amount would you report?

Unusual, right? Aside from the last question, which conceivably factors into your trustworthiness, the others are fun and allow you to be creative. These brain teasers are usually used so that employers can see how your mind works, but they also make you wonder if the employer is taking you seriously or just messing with you.

What to say

Now, we’ve dispensed a lot of advice here on The Work Buzz when it comes to handling interview questions and asking them. Find a few examples here, here, here and here. But sometimes even we can’t give you the right answers for truly unorthodox questions. As with brain teasers, these weird questions don’t always have a right or wrong answer.

As a rule, you should approach unusual interview questions with the following mindset:

  • Is it illegal or unethical? If so, feel free to stand up and walk out. (You don’t want to work for that kind of boss, do you?)
  • Is there a right or wrong answer?
  • What is my answer? Why?
  • Why didn’t I choose the other options or answer differently?

What matters is that you answer the question and articulate your reasoning. You can’t predict how the interviewer will react, so the best you can do it answer confidently. If the interviewer cringes when you say “Star Wars” instead of “Star Trek” and shows you out of the interviewer room, you’re not to blame.

Recently, we asked job seekers if they had experienced any unusual or flat-out weird interview questions. Judging by the responses you wrote on Facebook and Twitter, these questions might be odd but they’re not rare. In fact, they seem to be commonplace in interview, but they’re no less surprising when you’re put on the spot.

Unfortunately, we don’t have space to put every unusual question you submitted, but we do have space for some of the most unique. Here are some true-life questions job seekers have been asked while interviewing.

The creative

“I was once asked what I would bring if the department had a potluck.” - Amanda L.

“If you were a sea creature, what would you be and why?” - Jay D.

“What color is your brain?” - Connie B.

“If you were a professional wrestler, what would your stage name be?” - Alyssa Giustino, KEH Communications

“How many airplanes are in the skies over the US right now?” - Timothy R. Yee, Green Retirement Plans, Inc.

“How would you open the locked and sealed window in this hotel room?” - Yee

“I was asked, if I went to the moon and can only bring three things, what would I bring? Oxygen and food were already provided. I said my bed — had a great mattress then– my friends and a dog.” - Cindy Holtzman, Medical Refund Service, Inc.

The bewildering

“I was asked if I knew how to make explosives, [right] after 9/11, in an interview for an administrative assistant position.” - @danileo1

“What kind of car do you drive?” - Susan C.

“Will you file my fingernails?” (For a position at a church.) - Autrey K.

“I interviewed for a [job] waiting tables and the manager wanted to know how I would eat an ice cream cone.” - Peggy M.

“I was asked what my grade point average was in college. I have a BS, MS, Ph.D. and spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral scholar in a government research lab.” - Charles T.

“If you had been on the Titanic would you have been in a row boat, on the ship, or freezing in the water? If you were a Spice Girl, what would you call yourself? How would you feel about doing small personal errands like dog-sitting or buying gifts for my ‘lady friends?’” (All from the same interview.) - Trina Rimmer,

“I was asked what I did the day prior from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed.” - Moisés I.

“Who won the Super Bowl last year?” - Kevin D.


The illegal, unethical or potentially both

“So, are you married or whatever?” - @KYProgressive

“Kids you don’t have one of those, do you?” - Lois C.

“Have you ever used state assistance?” - Katie L.

“Do you have migraines? Do you have small children? Do you like long vacations?” – Krishna S.

“Do you attend church? What is your denomination?” - Katie B.

“Do you spank your child?” - Karen

“The strangest question I received was in regards to astrology. He was a real estate agent you wanted to know my date, time and where I was born. He wanted to see if we were a match. Needless to say I didn’t get the job.” - Teresa Turner,

The tricky

“Are you gonna stay or just practicing for the next job?” - @soyflz

“Where do you see yourself globally?” - Andrew B.

“What is a secret about you that no one knows?” - Daniel S.

“If we were in a party, which guy would I be, the shy guy sitting alone or rocking on the dance floor?” - Elio T.

“If we asked you to wear a bumble bee costume, walk around and hand out candy to employees, would you do it?” - Lisa M.

I was asked “If you opened your sock drawer, what would it look like?” - Nancy Dahl. SheTaxi

“So if I were to go out and get a few drinks with your friends, what would they tell me about you?” - Kristin Rose

The amusing

“What is your favorite movie?” - @DMRyan711

“What’s the funniest Youtube video you have seen lately?” - @byuboston

“What wine do you drink? What is your favorite bouquet?” - @Durudarshan

“Which Winnie the Pooh character do you relate with the most and why?” - Celie H.

“If you were a Disney character, what character would you be and why?” - Jayne S.

“If a movie was made about your life, who would play you and why?” - @tofuti2001

“If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” - Jerry h.

“I was once asked if my closet was organized” - Crissy Landreth

What have we learned? First, employers shouldn’t be asking about an employee’s family planning, so that needs to stop. But we also learned that you can’t only prepare for the standard interview questions anymore. When you’re practicing your handshake and ironing your clothes the night before the interview, think about how you would react to these unexpected questions.

Or have you already been on the receiving these questions? “Star Wars” or “Star Trek?” Let us know what odd questions you’ve been asked and how you answered them.

  1. During my promotion board for Staff Sergeant in 2001, one of the Master Sergeants on the board (there were 5) asked me, “what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” – to which there is only one answer, “what do you mean; African or European?”

  2. Steven F., I like that one! I have been in many offices where I would toss out a somewhat benign Monty Python quote and, guaranteed, someone would fire off another quote.

    How else will you find out who the Monty Python fans are?!?

    • I was interview by three directors, operations, development and engineering. It was an open discussion about management and technical approaches. One of them look at me and said “neek”. I responded: get your own shrubs. I got the job

  3. I was asked once in a job interview, if I had the chance to walk where I would go. you see I am in a wheelchair…. This job was for an IT position…………

      • Really? You’d sue the interviewer for asking where they would walk if they could? Is it against the law to be insensitive? Maybe there was a reason behind asking the question, like trying to find out more about the job interviewee.

        • Chris,

          Asking a question like that borders on an equal opportunity violation since the inteveiwer make clear that there could be a potential bias at the company towards disabled individuals. It is actually one of the only rights that is protected by law for a jobseeker; the right to equal opportunity under the law and cannot be discriminated agaist race, religion, age, gender, or disability when seeking a job. I hope you are not a manager of any company, I believe the rest of America learns this rule at age 10

          • That’s not exactly true, for you can’t be a firefighter, a police officer or any position who state they have physical, height, weight or age requirements or limits.

          • Wait so dan if i asked you in a job interview where you would go if you could fly, would you be mad because you cant fly? The question isnt about whether he is disabled or not it is about getting to know the potentional employee

          • I couldn’t agree more! Just because one may have a physical disability,does not BAN THEM FROM A POTENTIAL JOB!!! The only way a disability should ban one from ANY type of employment is if that disability is MENTAL! No offense to anyone who is “an idiot”…..However,there are a wide~variety of disabilities that prevent someone from holding a demanding job. However in todays technological driven environment….the new rule of thumb should be “Idiots please keep eating your crayons,and licking walls please”! I can almost gurantee, that “Wheelchair~Dependant~Person” was probably applying for something “light~duty” & also “Idiot~Proof”. Now, to whomever the interviewer was; that turned down that person in a wheelchair: SHAME ON YOU!!! I hope you get fired and that person takes your job! It’s so easy to cunduct an interview….I’m sure that person conducted your interview all while sitting down right? Or did that individual stand up long enough to hold the door open for you;to find your way out? Point being I’m almost positive “It’s So Easy A Caveman Could Do It”….& I’m 100% sure some sort of discrimination took place! Point being I hope you find a job:-) A better one….To whom ever made that post….you can always look on the bright side…..”Karma” has a funny way of returning to both people on both ends:-) I hope you recieve your “Dream Job” and that heartless individual receives a “New Position” in the “Waiting Line” at their local unemployment office:-P Ha,ha! I’ve had many,many,many job interviews conducted,all by people whom were all.. in a wheelchair! I hope they always remeber “god~giveth….and god can also taketh away”. By the way…I was once in the military:-) THEY DO NOT DISCRIMINATE. Consider becoming a “Civilian employee” of the United States Goverment:-) Where the interviewee’s are willing to fight for you and your rights…..just how many,many of us have fought for our own and the rights of others as well! This is America….or so I thought?

            • Good grief! Lindsay sounds like Emily Latella on SNL….Hey-The interviewer didn’t refuse to hire the disabled person. ‘just wanted to know WHERE they would GO to get an idea of the persons preferences and how they think. That’s not illegal and it doesnt idicate any prejudice. Maybe he /she could’ve phrased it differently. “Oh never mind then” -Emily Latella

            • I feel that your comments towards mentally disabled people are uncalled for.
              I for one have a severe case of autism, and as you can read i have the capabilities to type in proper grammar and personality. Mental disorders do not turn anyone stupid or idiotic. And if you feel that such problems are to be seen in low lights, then go and find real people who have serious mental problems and tell me what you think of them. I bet you that you will see that ALL of those people have thoughts, and ideals, and most definetely views of things. Idiots dont have that. Idiots are people who follow society and listen to every little thing they hear and commit to standards that are presented to them by the media and the government.

              So critically speaking, with you discharged from the military; at one point in your life, you were more dull than a monochrome free bird.

              If you feel the need to defend a cause just because of its flavor, dont spit on any other causes just because you didnt like them.

              Sorry if I sound mean and mad, but i personally do not take lightly the discriminations of people who share circumstances that I share. I find them very mean and unfair.

            • People with cobnitive disabilities are not “idiots” To say that they are is rude. many people that have a cognitave or mental disability are fabulouse employes and can be a great help to a company. my company hiered a student with a cognitave disability to make coppies on the copy machine. He worked full time, made a good wage and saved the company money when our time wasn’t used on the task of making copies

            • To Lindsay: I agree with Red and some others U are the prime example of STUPID!!! and GOD need to taketh away your little pea brain and etc. and replace you.and leave you with nothing because there’s a purpose here for everyone and no one ask for the situations they maybe born with.

          • Chris,

            I have to agree with your way of seeing it. Everyone has the right to a job and being handicapped does not mean you cannot work. I know for a fact that handicapped people are not even allowed life insurance! Can you believe that; they are a risk to themselves so NO INSURANCE. I have two Uncles’ that were injured as children. One has no legs and only one hand due to falling out of a coal mining car at age 9. The other one has no legs and I do not remember exactly why? But, they have families and are productive, and on top of that have to pay for their own medical and burial, and this is AMERICA? Discrimination, it still happens and we will not even go in the discussion where women are treated like idiots and still are not getting equal rights or equal pay!

        • Yes…insensitive remarks ARE illegal. IT? Typical. Daniel, you should have asked the interviewer….”would you like to ask me that question again in front of your HR director, or better yet, your legal department”?

      • Asking a person that cannot walk, where they would walk if they regained that ability – how is that insensitive? I can imagine all sorts of creative answers to that question, and some boring ones too.

        People obsessed with Political Correctness need to get over it. Life isn’t fair, and you cannot make it fair by requiring people to use or eliminate certain language.

        Calling a Black guy an African American isn’t going to change his life or erase bad experiences he suffered. Calling secretaries Administrative Assistants hasn’t done anything for them either (although that title is easier on the guys). Alternating pronouns “he” and “she” in a document that is gender neutral doesn’t make anything easier for anyone – just more confusing.

        Why must people take what starts out as a good thing and take it so far, everyone gets sick to death of it?

        • Ken & Chris: Any question that draws attention to an applicants handicap had better be relevant to the qualifications of the job or the employer is subject to a lawsuit as per the Americans with Disabilities Act. The question was a poorly veiled attempt to tell the applicant “You don’t fit our physical idea of what we want our employees to look like regardless if you are qualified for the job.” I hope they ended up with a turd for an employee. I’ve worked with many very intelligent and qualified handicapped individuals and would gladly do so again.

          • I love how people are giving their own explanation of what these questions mean as if they are fact. Did you come up with the question your self??? NO!?!?!? *gasp* than stop saying “The question is testing your…..” & such as if your were there. Oh & btw, being PC is over rated, if your gonna get offended by everything than go work in a Day Care or something.

            • This is exactly why the question should never be asked..whenever there is too much room for interpretation..the true purpose of the question gets lost. Being a part of a large group of managers at my firm..our motto is if you need to explain the question more then 1x don’t bother asking it. This question definitely was irrelevant and botherline unethical, probe on other more relevant questions to get the answers you are seeking. Throughout my interviewing experience, there are way too many people that do not understand the laws and should not be interviewing.

    • My answer would be: “I’d walk over and punch you in the mouth for asking someone in a wheelchair such a stupid question!”. Probably wouldn’t get the job, but it sure would be fun to watch the cretin’s reaction.

      • I couldn’t agree more. I was thinking something similar after I read the question.

        Frankly, it doesn’t matter if a random stranger who CAN walk chimes in on this and says that the question isn’t offensive. If you are not in a wheelchair, you have no idea how a question that intrusive and out of bounds would feel. Speculation doesn’t count.

        The people saying that the question is merely a means to learn more about the person being interviewed are not factoring in how sadistic that question may seem to someone who can not walk. It is NOT like asking where someone would go if they could fly – no one can fly…except Superman, and I hardly think he was conducting the interview.

        • I dont get how pointing out that someone is something (in a wheelchair in this case) is wrong. Does saying someone is tall, fat, skinny, white, black, bald, right handed, or left handed make you wrong now? It isnt as if they said – “Hey your in a wheelchair…really? That must suck, but why should I hire you? I mean, do you really think you can do this job, I only question it because your in a wheelchair?”

          So, no, I dont think the question was that big of a deal or out of line. However, if the guy had asked – do you think you are capable of doing all the duties of this job – should he be sued/fired because he pointed out that someone was in a wheelchair by asking if they could perform the job duties??? Whereas they might not have asked someone without it? NO.

    • Next time if you get a walking question again just tell them you would walk around the whole earth, and then say so I guess one would say in circles.

    • Hi Daniel,

      I interviewed with a Social Service company about ten years ago for a clinical position. The program director asked “What wrong with your hands?” I am challenged by RA and my hands are deformed. Needless to say, when HR offered me the position, I declined it and shared with her my experience.

      I have learned that interviews work both ways. It’s an opportunity for the interviewer to learn some things about me & for me to get some sense of the work environment.

      • Everyone will have a different opinion on whether or not asking someone who cannot walk where they would walk if they could is insensitive/wrong or right/imaginitive.

        I think everyone forgot though that while they were putting their own opinion down, the one guy who CAN’T walk and was actually asked that question obviously thought it was not right. He didn’t make a haha joke about it or put a smiley face on it. He also didn’t say they were *&#!@.

        I think that is sadly, something he has learned to live with while trying to live his life like the rest of the world and while we all want everyone to know our own opinion on it, he’s the one who actually lived and will live through it.

    • Wow, there are a lot of replys to this comment and a lot of debate as to whether or not the interviewer was correct in asking the interviewee if he could walk then where would he go. I’m thinking that usually interview questions are prearranged ahead of time and the same questions are asked to every candidate to compare responses to be able to accurately judge the best person to hire. Since the majority of people are able to walk I’m thinking they would not ask everyone the question of if they could walk then where would they go. The company composing the questiions would already know people could walk so the IF part nullifys the question right from the get go. My conclusion is that the interviewee asked it on the fly and was out of line.

      BTW, I do not believe in politcal correctness….at all.

  4. The only questions I have regard the people making these ridiculous queries: (1) are they HR representatives, or functional people; (2) if they are HR reps, how long have they been in HR; and (3) how long have they been with that firm?

    The only questions HR people should be asking before a person is hired are (1) what kind of job are you seeking — engineering, marketing, finance, etc. ?; and (2) where would you prefer to work — here, or another one of our locations ? All other questions should be asked by functional people — those in engineering, marketing, field sales, finance, accounting, R&D, etc. Unless the HR rep has experience in the field, s/he isn’t really qualified to assess a candidate’s qualifications or fit.

    HR should not be an entry level function, nor should it be a career. It should be a temporary assignment — from one to three years — on a talented person’s career path. Those with experience in a given discipline are best-equipped to gauge how appropriate a candidate’s education and other qualifications are for a given job opening, and how well that individual will fit within the organization.

    Putting representatives from different functions together for the purpose of recruiting and interviewing job candidates allows them to assess the mindsets within the different functions and locations, and helps reduce the disparity of perceived values that frequently grows within large organizations. And rotating these people into HR and back out to their functional areas on a staggered basis ensures that this information is transmitted throughout the organization.

    Until an organization demonstrates the ability — or at least a commitment to try — to actually transform people into trees, animals, or super-heroes, questions regarding which species a candidate might prefer are best left unasked.

    • Robert …. looks like you need to work in HR for a bit. You will find that interviewing is only a small part of what they do. It’s not a core function to be sure and some companies have chosen to outsource it, but make no mistake: it is an important function of any company that requires seasoned and experienced (and usually degreed) individuals. To leave it to temporary employees or inexperienced members of other teams would open up the company to potential lawsuits, high turnover rates and broken policy rules. You plan would be a nightmare.

      • HR sucks. Our HR department can’t even get the new staff situation under control so we (functional proffessionals) who present at staff orientation know how many are coming till the day of. I work at a large organization 10K plus, so HR is staffed and I’d say over staffed. The rest go to meetings discussing how to make emoployees feel better. The director levels wont even write important policies for fear of stepping on employee’s toes.

        • “Remember that it is not he or she who gives abuse or blows who affronts, but the view we take of these things as insulting. When therefoe anyone provokes you, be assured that it is YOUR OWN OPINION which provokes you.” Has our wheelchair-bound friend not wished he could WALK somewhere? So what’s the big deal about the question?

    • Bill: You make a valid point that hiring managers should make hiring decisions. HR does not hire nor do they fire. They administer those functions. HR’s biggest responsibility is to protect the organization from landing in court as the result of ignarance and stupidity of management in labor law. The problem is that many managers think they know it all when others do it all. HR IS a career path. I have worked in it successfully for over 25 years. I hold two master degrees. An MBA and Human Resources Organizational Development. I also served in the U.S. Army for 10 years after receiving an ROTC scholarship directly from active duty. I entered a private and left a Captain. I’ll stack my experiences and education against yours any day.

      • Wow, all that education, degree’s, and military experience, and you still don’t know how to communicate simply and directly. From your post I still could not perceive if you are pro or con Human Resources. I too was in the military. It’s not just a matter of doing your job, there are also plenty of politics involved there as well. You appear pro HR because you were fortunate enough to make a career out of it. My wife used to work for HR in a bank. It was anything BUT “Human.”
        I think a lot of these interviewers might benefit from asking straight forward questions that have to do with procedures of the task that is being applied for, rather than trying to be so “clever” in their inquisitive tasks. Instead, they pride themselves in asking questions that potentially puts the interviewee in a position indecisive agitation. Yes, I realize they may be trying to assess how the person might react under stress. But, wouldn’t it be simpler to ask what they might actually do in a certain applicable situation, rather than play with them as a scientist would a rat?
        I was once asked what I would do if I were speaking to a room of 500 people and saw that they were getting bored or falling asleep?
        The position I was applying for was an 8.00/hr. admin. assistant job. Really?!!
        Wouldn’t a more important question be how have the people who answered these questions “correctly” fare in their position to date, that is if indeed they still have them?
        Let’s see Captain, what would you do if a mild mannered person (male or female) came into your office pulled out a Magnum .45 and said “I don’t need a fucking job, I just wanted to see the look on your face when I stuck a gun in it?”

    • The tree/superhero questions sound silly but I see the value of learning how the person sees themselves.
      I hire general laborers, craftsmen and lower level managment. Often, when I have established a more casual, relaxed enviroment we will talk about sports or games. because finding something someone will excell at is not as easy as asking them what they want.A chess player and a poker player have a very different set of skills and talents. I think many, mostly young folks, have no idea what they would be good at.
      Also, regarding HR: the company I work for has a staff of 3 attorneys who have spend decades resolving disputes between unions, federal agencies and us. It would be a disaster to let some hack with just 2 or 3 years experence touch that.

  5. Interviewing people is an area of vast need for improvement. In most cases people are unprepared and untrained to interview properly. These type of questions are not a result of boredom but ignorance. Back in the 80′s there were efforts to do this but have long since disappeared. @Robert – totally agree, if you don’t have good questions to ask then don’t ask silly ones.

  6. I was once asked how many poodles stacked on top of each other would it take to equal the height of the Empire State Building. I asked whether he meant standard, toy, or teacup. The interview was for web content manager.

  7. I have been through some strange interviews involving ‘team interviews.’ I once interviewed with a company that makes weapons for the military. One of the engineers laughed and made the comment about ‘we have fun making guns that kill people!” I don’t know if they were ‘testing’ me…but even though I was qualified for the job…I turned it down when I went to the final interview with the HR manager. He was the most stupid individual I had ever met…just sat there and twiddle around when I began asking him questions about the company, benefits, etc. I looked him square in the eye and told him that based on my observations of employees at his firm, I could not work for that company. He was shocked! I left feeling better…they needed to do psychological testing on some of their engineering staff!

    • If you turned down that job because you cant handle the fact that what you would be making killed people then why would you apply at a company that made GUNS!!! for the MILITARY!!! What did you think they would use them for, to light there cigarettes

  8. I was asked in an interview for becoming a Police Reserve officer how spell rain, to which I responded which type? The kind that falls from the sky, reign as in monarchy, or rein as in reining in a horse.

  9. Seems to me that asking Star Wars or Star Trek could be a subtle way to ask an illegal age question. If the interviewer does not specify which particular series since there have been spin-offs from the original Star Trek (e.g., Voyager), the interviewee could be indicating their age.

    • I disagree about the particular Star Trek series age. I wasn’t even born when the original came out, and Kirk will always be the best. I love all the series in different ways, but I think preference has to deal with personality. When it comes to songs that have remakes, I typically favor the original, regardless of when it was made.

      I love the classics.

    • Another way that companies try to determine age is by asking a candidate when he earned his degree. Of course, many earn degrees later in life, but. . .

      Age discrimination is the last “acceptable” taboo.

    • It could have to do with the basic philosophy behind the two series. In Star Wars, you have to be born great to achieve greatness. This could indicate an entitlement attitude. In Star Trek, greatness comes as a result of hard work and integrity, possible indicating a good work habit.

  10. Strangest question: “Manhole covers are all round. Why? Why aren’t they square?”

    It’s trickier than it might look, and here’s how I answered it: Since the concept of the manhole generally developed in major cities, quite possibly New York City, the decision was based on one of two factors: cost or safety. Since I would imagine that the cost would be the same regardless of shape of the manhole cover, safety was probably the driving factor. And since there’s no way a circular object can be turned in such a way that it will go down a like-sized cylinder, that had to be the reason — so the cover couldn’t be dropped on the noggin of the people working below.

    Another one was a quickie: Same company, further up the ladder. This is for a Unix sysadmin question: “Emacs or vi?” My answer: “Sed” (with an ever so slight hint of “Unix-ier than thou” in my voice. I got the job, and it was the best one I’ve had to date.

      • The covers are round so that no matter HOW you manipulate them, they WILL NOT fall through the hole.

        Square or rectangular covers would.

          • ok-
            1. round covers are put on ROUND pipes.
            2. BUT if the pipe is square then they do use a SQUARE cover. There is no way to fit the square cover into the square pipe as it is about 3/4″ larger in size on all edges no matter which way you turn it.
            2a. There are some larger entries that they use split covers on and that is also stupid as I have seen them break and then someone usually gets hurt. I reported a 3 part cover that was missing 2 pieses ( each about 2′ x3 1/2′ in size) for over a year before they fixed it. Ironically it was less than 25 feet from a bus stop where several wheelchair people get off and they would have to go down the block the wrong way, cross the street and then turn back and recross the stree if they needed to get past the hole which took up 90% of the sidewalk. Usually the larger ones get the metal covers that bolt together and on so they should ( notice I say should because I’ve seen them broken too) not fall apart or cause hazards to pedestrians.
            3. The fools who came up with the rectangular water meter boxes and covers should have to walk down a dark alley of them with broken or missing covers on them and see if they still have ankles afterwards. One company near me has put a red cone and reported the missing cover for over 6 months but the city just does not replace them.

            As to the ‘MAN’ part- it usually was a male person who would go into the sewers so they just got called manholes. When they first started very few if any women were willing to go into the filth and possible rats or god knows what. Other then ‘access holes or access points’ it makes no sense to call them anything else as you would have to change how many millions of entries on documents. You might notice quite a few of the TV shows and movies now say ‘access points’ or sewer access.

    • Actually, the answers is that they are not “man” hole covers at all. This a slang term that is, by definition, a sexist term. Now I’m not crazy big of being overtly PC, I can respect that women may find this exclusionary, and a re-enforcement of stereotyping for job discrimination in general, but in normal conversation in a social setting I wouldn’t correct this as I wouldn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable….

      HOWEVER in a interview, with HR, this is most definitely THE point of the question.

      The question is testing your level of social conditioning and awareness of how simple “accepted” terminology can be offensive. If you ignored the term and started talking about why they were all round you probably got a black mark on the HR form, even if you were right.

      The HR mindset here is that if you don’t get this then you’re probably going to be offensive to someone in the office at some point.

        • I’m not usually one for lewd comments, but that one made me laugh. (I got a mental picture of my husband saying this with that stupid lovable smirk he gets on his face when he’s trying to be naughty.)

      • When confronted about PCness and the prefix or suffix ‘man’ I respond “Man is merely a truncated from of Human and is not necessarily gender specific” I make my get-a-way during the long drawn out pause as they simply don’t know how to respond. *smile*


        • This is a common response. I can see you were joking but the fact that you feel you need to get-away afterwards is interesting.

          Unfortunately although you may be using the term ‘man’ as a shorterning of human, it is a word in itself and has an innate specific gender meaning that can’t be removed in speech and is very hard to communicate in writing.

          The word is by it’s nature gender specific and can’t be changed to be otherwise regardless of the intent of the user. It doesn’t matter what you intend to say, it’s what you DO say that matters.

          Would you use the word ‘fly’ and expect that your audience knows you mean ‘dragonfly’. Or use the word ‘dragon’ with the same expectation. This is the same thing. shortening the word creates a word this is already in use and means something different.

          Where a “truncation” doesn’t work it should not be used. When people are lazy and use ‘man’ as the default and expect the reader to think ‘human’ they are creating a subconcious separation based on gender. They are also placing ‘man’ in a superior role than ‘woman’ as it is selected as the default term for reference both where no other gender clue is present in the text or speech.

          Most native English speakers that read such thing e.g. “All men are created equal!”, will skirt over the use of men as the default for human, but subconsciously the word “man” still means “man” to us all and the female reader knows this is not her.

          For non-native English speakers it’s even harder to explain when man is meant to be read as human and when it isn’t. In fact it’s not possible to do so accurately without leaving room for interpretation of the intent of the speaker/writer.

          Now, let’s turn this around. How would you feel if the default for human was woman. If everyone just said woman and told you, ‘hey it’s ok, i mean men too, it’s implied!’. Obviously this doesn’t work due to way English is constructed but the emotional effect is the same.

          At the end of the day, does it really waste much time to say human instead of man, when you mean both men and women? Trust me, you’ll get more respect from the women in your life.

          • Wow. Yo are such a feminazi.

            There are some words that have been part of English ever since there was English.

            I find you intolerance offensive.

              • jesus christ!! you people are taking the slang term “man-hole” to far. In regards to that it is round so it will not fall in, and it is call a “man-hole” because when they 1st started putting them in women would not crawl down in the sewer to clean others peoples shit, therefore it was a man’s job hence “man-hole”

                  • Some women do go willingly for the pay. Some HAVE to because they are Fire, Police or other specialty workers that have to go down there. Also, all sewers don’t carry human waste most are for just water disposal. Some are for utilities: gas, water, electric and with all the fiber optic cables being run there are more women then ever seen on these jobs as they pay so well. Overalls and boots can cover a lot of stuff.

                    I can remember the first time I saw a female flag’man’ along a federal highway and pointed her out to my dad. He pointed out the pay for the job. I think I was like 9 and it was more than triple whatever the minimum wage was then. I thought she was smarter then putting up with people in a restaurant as at that time 80% of the women I knew either worked in restaurants or as sales clerks.

              • Joe look at where her reply was, if she was replying to you it would be indented to the right, like mine should be right now.

                Pretty sure she was saying it to the guy who needs to get out of HR and into reality. Rich needs to learn a little thing called “context” and “intent”.

          • I couldn’t disagree more with your idea that the use of the word “man”, per se, constitutes some inuendo of the superiority of the male human. First, in the general matter of the masculine substantive, it does not necessarily mean that males are superior. That is your view of the word usage, which probably implies your own thinking. You say it implies the superiority of male humans, I say it doesn’t. The females, being superior, have their own substantive, “woman”, while man get a generic term, “man”. Also, on manholes, I believe what you want is like what some people do with the word history, making it herstory and such. Words are just that, they are no speech-acts. Actually, the act of being so conscious about not using masculine substantives is much more significative than using them. It means you think man are, indeed superior, and thus whenever you use it you are implying men’s superiority; it also shows that you are so afraid that other people find out you are sexist. There you go.

            • Personally, I find the earlier “tiff” and name calling inappropriate for this forum.
              On the topic; what, would anybody understand the question if it were phrased as a “woman hole cover?”

            • Well, you can disagree if you want to that “man” implies superiority in men–but you will be wrong.

              Studies have already been performed–and when a phrase has “man” in it (chairman, congressman, policeman), then a woman in that job is seen as foreign and/or not appropriate to the job. One has to think to oneself “female congressman”–which just sounds weird.

              The use of “man” makes any given job or function suitable to men but not women in the minds of those who hear the term. In most cases, one can easily alter the term (chair, congress member, police officer) so that it is not specific to males.

              A “man hole” is more accurately a sewer cover or access cover. It isn’t for “men” and isn’t only used by “men” and also has a bad pun to it. It is best to use a more accurate term when one is available, and it is even better to go read up on language use before pontificating about it.

          • As a grammarian, I can tell you it has nothing whatever to do with “truncation” or anything else meant to be degrading to either sex. It has to do with the fact that saying “his or her”and like phrases repeatedly gets tiresome and if used frequently enough, gets distracting so that people no longer listen to what you are saying.
            The ever-more-popular use of the word “their” and the rest of the pluralized pronouns in place of the now-offensive “man” is grammatically incorrect.
            In order to be grammatically correct, and not long-winded and tiresome, we have continued using the masculine pronoun when referring to groups of people of both genders.
            I’m a grammarian AND a woman, and I see nothing whatever wrong with the usage of the masculine pronoun. Neither do I get offended when my boss refers to myself and the rest of my female coworkers as “you guys”. We know what he means.
            Have a nice day! :)

          • Rich, I am afraid you do not know what you are talking about in this regard, because you are not cognizant of Latin’s influence on the English language. There is indeed a gender neutral expression of the word “man” – this is the difference between the terms “vir” and “homo” in Latin. “Homo sapiens” means “thinking man” in the sense of mankind, not male. “Vir” is the term reserved for the male gender, and is used only in specific address, not overarching statements. Thus “…all men are created equal..” does indeed refer to the ‘homo”, the mankind. Any other interpretation is due to the ignorance of the PC crowd who clamor for “equal” recognition at every turn without having ground to stand on. Please learn your language before speaking about it.

      • Um Rich,
        If “Actually, the answers is that they are not “man” hole covers at all. This a slang term that is, by definition, a sexist term.”

        Then what praytell are they “Actually” called?

        I supose next your going to say that history is by term sexist for “his story”?

      • A “black mark”? Interesting. How PC is that remark. Why not a white mark, a blue mark, etc. For many years I have facilitated Multicultural Diversity Training addressing the negative implications of such expressions but I see my work is not finished. Blackmail, blackball, blacklist are among the list of terms the minority peoples of the planet (“white” people) use with no regard for the implications.

        If you try listening to some of those “PC” folks, you might just learn something.

      • You can’t really ask “Why are she-holes round?” now can you???

        Many of you can never be employed, and that is why we are at this site, right. If you are in an interview and somebody asks an off-script question, they are probably not the mindless HR interviewer, but somebody that is trying to find out about YOU. Do you fit, do you not fit? If they are offensive to YOU, maybe YOU should ask some questions back to see if THEY fit.

        As someone who has had to hire people, and done ok at it, many of you need to know… EVERY QUESTION ISN’T THAT IMPORTANT!

        I bet that if you ask back “Is that question legal for you to ask?” you don’t get hired. Legal or not, if you react in that way, I don’t want to hire you, and you don’t want to work.(There is no parenthetical ‘for me’ intended.)

        Are you going to work out, or, are we wasting each others’ time and my money?

    • The answer to the manhole cover question is this:

      The covers are round because that is the only shape that can not be accidentally twisted and fall into the hole. Additionally, any shape with corners would be vulnerable to damage at those corners, crating hazards for both traffic and workers.

    • It actually is a safety issue. They tried square manhole covers for a while, but they kept falling through the hole at an angle and hurting the people down in the hole. Round manhole covers don’t have that problem… there is no angle where the hole is larger than the cover, so you don’t have to worry about it falling.

    • Johnny is right, you didn’t answer the right question. YOu answered why manHOLES are round … they asked you why manhole COVERS are round. You are NOT hired! :-)

  11. Aw man. I thought I INVENTED the Star Wars Vs Star Trek interview question (the correct answer is Trek, BTW). Now I have to come up with a whole new set of interview questions. ;)

    Seriously though, I ask questions like this to gauge how a person is going to fit into our work group personality-wise. The answers aren’t nearly as important as how they react to the questions. “How do you feel about cursing in the workplace?” “Do you have any objections to naming a child Vladimir, even if it’s a boy?” It’s not about being random so much as it’s about catching them off guard to get a peek at who they really are beneath the practiced veneer they want to show you.

    It also lets them know what they’re in for if they decide to come work with us. =)

    • Shannon, if you want to gauge how a person is going to fit into your work group personality-wise, I have a better question than Star Wars or Star Trek. Ask the classic and crowd pleasing Gilligan’s Island question; Ginger or Maryann.

      Now, should I send my resume to you or your boss?

    • see, now I completely agree with that way of thinking. I liked the question “What is a secret about you that no one knows?” because it allows you to see if it is the type of person that will divulge information just to get a better job, or if they have the integrity to keep secrets (including company secrets) a secret. Too often an employee who is fired or quits will go around and tell everyone every detail of the company model.

      • The technical and safe answer to that is “I don’t know” because if it’s a secret that NOBODY knows … he wouldn’t know either! Proper phrasing would be “what is a secret about you that no one ELSE knows?” Believe it or not, sometimes the job requires that a candidate be very particular about the details.

    • I’d have answered Neither, I prefer Stargate, and Battalestar Galactica. =p Then I’d have made a comment about Darth Spock being the coolest mirror universe villian EVER =p besides, its totally plausible for STAR WARS and Star Trek to exist in the same “Universe” STAR WARS takes place after all, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Star Trek takes place in our own galaxy in the future. so its possible to love both together. That and Kirk would totally be great friends with Han Solo.

      • I agree, Stargate SGU. I usually prefer an original series over a sequel, but Having Atlantis both as a city and a spaceship is unique. You could also use SGU as an answer to your favorite McGyver incident. When Major Carter told Colonel O’Neil she “McGyvered it” when asked how she fixed soemthing.

        • for Star Wars or Star Trek— I’d say Both and probably really confuse them.
          If the McGyver Q came up last season a dad bent up a fron fender on one of the ‘Amazing Race” mercedes (ouch) …. and believe it or not he dug in his bag and took out some duct tape his wife had rolled up and put in ‘just in case’ and used it to hold it off the tire to continue driving the car. so I would mess them up on that too.

          • Best McG moment ever was when he managed to stop a nuclear meltdown with a chocolate bar. It’s also when he stopped becoming believable to my no-longer naive 15 year old mind. Didn’t change the fact that he was hot, though.

    • The answer is Trek. Remember, in the Chris Pine/Zachary Quintos movie, history was completely altered, and everything after the day Kirk was born is now a clean slate. Think of the possibilities!

      That should impress them!

      • I totally agree. I love Star Wars don’t get me wrong but you can re-invent star trek (which they already did) there are more possibilities with star trek than there are with star wars

    • I’m sure that you’ve lost some excellent candidates who were savvy enough to “peek” your methodlogy, if one can call it that. Your loss.

  12. @Sherri well that’s not true cause I’m 24 and I like the old star trek and love the old star wars.

    But nothing like that has happened to me yet so.

  13. I was asked by H. Ross Perot’s company if I had ever killed anyone. They wanted someone who had had to make that tough decision and were mainly looking for former military officers.

  14. Shannon. I agree. It’s not about the questions .. or even the answers. It’s about reaction, guaging critical thinking, knowing how someone comes to a decision. The key is to keep it relevant to the position and keep it appropriate. But you have to be careful…the answers AND the process can be thwarted by the details involved.

    For example. in the star wars vs star trek, I can see those preferring trek to being more analytical and detail oriented (many individual episodes dealing with particular events and challenges), while the wars preference indicates a big picture thinker (good vs evil). But the answers could simply indicate someone is thinking about the acting ability of the respective stars’ “stars”! The bottom line is that HR is charged with finding the best person for a particular “seat on the bus” that they need to fill. You can judge them partially by employee turnover rates. I would like to see that kind of study!

  15. Pingback: Tweets that mention Star Wars or Star Trek? Questions you just might hear in the interview : The Work Buzz --

  16. Mine was great, I sat in the middle of a semicricle, everyone sending questions at me, no rhyme or reason, just tech tech tech, all in different schools of thought. Microsoft vs Unix. Then came the kicker, “which is cooler, Star Trek, or Star Wars? ” I thought for a minute, and said, Im going back to the most sacred of them all gentlemen, DUNE…. Smiles of approval. I was then asked, “Do you drive a saturn”. I responded with a Volkswagen, they all mumbled, as my nerdness was clearly not up to snuff. I think I didnt get the job on the car question.

    • Re: The saturn question, my response would’ve been to look at them dead in the eye and say, “I don’t have a job to afford one right now. That’s why I’m here.”

      I was once asked the standard, “What’s your biggest weakness?” My response was, “My honesty, I can never remember my lies.” I got that job!

  17. Jara LOL that is so funny (sorry you didn’t get the job). I personally think VW may be nerdy enough. My follow up question would have been what type of VW, passat, jetta or beetle? (ranging from cool to nerdy in that order!)

  18. Sometimes you need to know if a candidate knows how to answer the question being asked. I’m reminded of an old Benny Hill episode where a game show contestant was asked “do you know exactly how many people attended Wembly last year?” The correct answer was ….. “no”. :-)

  19. If someone asks, “Star Trek” or “Star Wars,” they really want to know if you are more scientific or more romantic (classical use of the word). Star Trek consists of, along with cowboy diplomacy, lots of analytical thought and philosophy. Star Wars is basically a giant soap opera set in space, complete with royalty, quests, epic battles and damsels in distress. Decide which one is best for the job and answer accordingly.

  20. I got interviewed by eight people once. They all asked really pointless questions and after 30mins I asked them one,”who’s doing your job while your talking to me?”

    I then got up and left. I didn’t want to end up being the guy that did the work of eight people while they interviewed someone.

  21. Rich, I like that. I have also developed questions for the interviewed to ask the interviewer. For a job I really wanted, I asked in the second interview: How do I compare with the other candidates? Where do I stand with you and how can I improve my chances of getting the job?

    I got the job!

    • This is an awesome story and one that everyone should hear. Companies, with now stricter guidelines for spending money, want to know the intergrity of the employee and that they are not simply hiring a chair warmer. Showing that you were concerned about where you were in the hiring process made them think that you would also question other areas of the business from an advocate’s perspective. Congratulations!

      • Thanks. After dozens of interviews where I got to number 2 or to the last stage and didn’t get the job, I was really stumped about why I didn’t get it. Some quality companies would actually answer after the fact honestly … others would say “not a good fit” and some just not respond. I figured the best time to know that answer was BEFORE they have made the decision because if it was something that I just wasn’t communicating properly, I wanted to know. BTW the interviewer was a little taken aback, but then smiled and said “good question” he answered that the other candidate was a bit more technical (it was a director position) and they he had some reservations about the fact that I had changed jobs a few times recently. I gave honest responses for both to address his concerns. It was good for both of us and I think he was glad I asked.

        • I like your line of thinking.
          And like you I was 1 of 2 canidates after a series of interviews, I was not selected. About a month or two later, the same hiring manager was calling me exstensively because the other person had quit after a few weeks.
          I might have accepted the position but they wanted me to go through the whole interview process from the begining, but by then I had a different job.

  22. I also got tired of interview questions when I had to hire over 30 employees for a new department. I came up with a story about a conflict that anyone one day may experience. I asked how they would rectify the issue. For example, if you had too much work and the person next to you had very little and was on personal calls all day, but this other person reported to another boss, how would you react? What would you do? Since there is no right or wrong answer, I got a good population of varied responses. When they simply shrugged their shoulders, they were out the door! Sorry, no handshake for this interview.

  23. My most interesting interview moment was while I was being interviewd for the director position as head of their facilites and real estate group. The chief leagl officer of this multi billion dollar international communications company upon looking at my extensive experience asked, “Just how old are you?”, upon which I replied “a little older than you. Which he then said “Oh I can’t ask that, which he then immediatly followed up with, “oh and I am the head of legal!” Brilliant!!! It was just to funny. So mucch for Texas

  24. I was interviewing for a Sys Admin position with Netflix last year, and here are a few of the random questions they asked me…1) Why are manhole covers round? 2) How would you paint an airplane? 3) Why is it that when you look into a mirror, the image is flipped horizontally but not vertically? I answered all 3 questions, however still did not get the job.

    • Strange interview questions really tell you a lot about yourself, but especially about who you’re going to potentially end up working for and with. If I were interviewing for a job, my most important question would be:

      Me: If there are 5 apples, and you take away two, how many do you have?
      Interviewee: Three…?
      Me: Of course not, silly, you’d have the two that you took!

      (I hope to be forever young at heart…) ;]

  25. At a major University interview in So. Ca. I was seated across the table from 4 interviewers. Midway through my interview I was asked how I felt seated across from them and whether or not I felt as though I was being ‘studied’. My first thought was of being a defendant in a military tribunal, but my answer was, “I feel like I’m already in charge with the four of you seated in front of me”.

    I must assume it was the correct answer; it is still a great place to work.

  26. When I worked at a newspaper website, one of our questions was, “Pop-Tart or pie?”

    The answer should always be “Pie”, without hesitation.

  27. I like any question that an applicant can not answer.

    I typically ask about rare, seldom used features on an application, or go into minutia that nobody could possibly answer.

    The reason? I want to know how an employee will react when faced with something they can not do.

    To those questions: The responses “I don’t know, but I could look it up (names website or help files) and find out”, or “I would have to ask for help on that one” are preferred, but even “I don’t know” is acceptable.

    What I do NOT want to see is a verbal tapdance trying to BS their way out of a difficult situation.

    • I don’t know…I’m all for the straight forward “What would you do in this difficult situation?…” type questions. Frankly I feel that ALL of these type of questions mentioned are MIND GAMES and interviewers/managers trying to use their “position” to enhance their ability to hold someone’s destiny/fate into their hands, thereby making themselves feel important KNOWING that good jobs are hard to come by in today’s economy. ALL of these types of questions quite frankly are pointless, useless, AND PERSONAL with NOTHING to do with one’s potential or ability TO PERFORM at the company. What’s more is these “suggestive” mind tricks (which really that’s what they are) as oppose to candid, straight forward, “tell me what you’re all about” (considering there are BACKGROUND CHECKS anyway) aren’t worth answering for the money that they’re offering which ironically an IMPORTANT question like salary is avoided by the interviewer “unless you are being offered the position.” I would feel exactly what the article has pointed out which is either 1. “the interviewer is just messing with me” (which most of the time they would just smile and say “just kidding” to lighten the atmosphere) OR 2. they are wasting my time and “not taking me seriously”. I would rather quite frankly be polite about removing myself from a potentially BAD environment to work in, and end the interview myself. Too many people work hard to improve and enhance their credentials just to have the interview itself be a roadblock?….Are you kidding? If interviewers want their companies to be taken seriously or at least uphold their image, THAT’S NOT the image they should portray. Perhaps this is the reason why there’s HIGH TURNOVER just when these “interviewers” THOUGHT they’ve hired a good bunch, because instead of a “good group of people,” they’ve bought in lackluster, “kiss butt and answer any USELESS, degrading question at the interview,” “another day another dollar,” no integrity or common sense type of people into the departments. It still boils down to PROFESSIONALISM ON BOTH ENDS…or at least it should.

  28. After twenty two years of field service for a Fortune 500 Computer Corp an H.R. Person said I was not qualified to fix P.C.’s and showed me my resume had many incorrect words. {Correctly used Product names and tech terms)

  29. How about the question “If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?” I said I would call in sick and stay in bed all day. Confused, the interviewer asked why. I told him that if my eyes were transparent, the light would simply pass though my head without being focused and processed and I would be rendered blind. It would be safer to stay in bed, then accidentally wander into traffic and have my invisible self splattered all over the street by a speeding car that didn’t see me.
    The interviewer didn’t seem to have heard that response before.

    • How about, “I would go behind the scenes at this company to learn more about the corporate culture” or better yet, “I would sneak into the room while you were talking about the people you’d just interviewed to hear what you most were looking for.”

      Um, yeah. This is why I never get past the first interview. sigh.

  30. the question that gets me is…”why haven’t i heard from you”…

    half of the perspective employers want to hear from you every 5 minutes, or they think you’re not really interested, while the other half get annoyed if you contact them once a month…

    ya’ just can’t win either way…

  31. Seems that the gist of these left-field questions are simply to see how the candidate will react. Like RickU, I like the questions that are totally unexpected and completely unanswerable, but still have some merit. I need to see some response beyond “I dunno,” such as a plan as to how to address such a question.

    Clients (real and potential) throw this stuff out all the time, and it’s good to know I’ve got someone who can answer without either mumbling or B.S.

    Still, it is advisable that interviewees know what is acceptable (legal) to ask and what is not.

  32. While discussing salary the interviewer stated that he felt the pay grade was to high. He “defended” his opinion by stating that he was sure there were many less qualified applicants who would take the job for less money. My response was; that rationale could be applied to any position including his.

  33. I was asked (by a Texas Redneck) “How would you go about hooking up Two Legs on Double Pole Solar Powered Clothes Dryer.”. I started by thinking….a Solar powered clothes dryer would require solar panels as big as a parking lot, and then it hit me….two legs=pants, double pole = two poles of a clothes line, solar powered = sun/air dry, so you hook it up with clothes pins. BTW I didn’t get the job……seriously….they said I was …you guessed it…. OVERQUALIFIED.

  34. I guess my response to the above weird question would be, Star Trek, of course it was my first job in the union at 19, Paramount,Taft-Hartleyed me in. I had a wonderful experience in getting work in the film industry for good 20 years, it taught me confidence. The best was always expected, because one is working with experts. Unfortunately, the industry and my wonderful career is turning into competition with foreign workers, off-shore production and changing technology.

  35. An interview question: So you’re in your car driving on a highway out in the middle of nowhere, there is no one else around and you’re traveling at the speed of light. Night begins to fall and it is getting dark and difficult to see the road in front of you. Since you’re traveling at the speed of light, does turning on your headlights do anything for you?

    Answer: These are not the droids you are looking for… move along…

    • My Answer: I’d turn on the lights. The Doppler effect only affects objects with differing velocities. I’d avoid overthinking an answer to a ridiculous question however.

      • I believe the answer would be no. I ride a motorcycle and there’s a particular hazard while riding at night where you “over-ride” your own headlight.

    • If I’m “in the middle of nowhere,” “traveling at the speed of light,” wouldn’t I shortly be not “in the middle of nowhere?” :)

  36. I don’t mind the off-topic questions if they are used so interviewer can gauge a response, but I’ve noticed (and read above) that some want a specific answer even though there’s not really a correct one.

    In one interview, I was asked:
    1.) If you could be any food…
    2.) If you could be any animal…
    3.) If you could be a home appliance…
    4.) Favorite pill color…

    These allowed me to be creative, but they later told me that my answers were “too creative.” It was for a graphic design position. No, they weren’t involved in the pharmaceutical industry.

    I think my most hated question was “How would you be loyal to our company if your absolute dream job with an unlimited salary were offered to you.” That’s a heck of a lot of wishful thinking, and it rather threw me off since it seemed to be creative director from Hell for a firm that creates that horrible TV lawyer commercials versus being editor of a nation-wide culinary arts magazine. This is the same interview where they gave me a chair with three legs. (I’m not kidding you.) Needless to say, I informed the hiring manager that they should explore alternative employees.

    • GREAT CALL….because I figured at this point (and age) in my life, I would have done THE SAME. I simply don’t have the time, patience, energy, or mindset to job hop anymore. Therefore where I end up is truly where I would prefer to spend alot of years if not RETIRE at. So if the environment is BAD from the interview(?), I at least have the maturity and courtesy to REMOVE myself from it. I would end the interview in the most frank yet professional manner possible.

  37. Here’s one:

    If you were inside a perfect sphere, and the inside of the sphere was a perfect mirror, and you turned on a flashlight, what would you see?

  38. It’s incredible to see how working and the conduct in corporate America these days. The comments written in repsonse to this article are proof of that.

    I work for Asian company (I’m a white American) and nonsense of this type never enter interviews. The same also applies for serious-minded European companies. I find it amazing that Americans make themselves feel good while their competitors are running circle around them.

    Maybe this nonsense is the reason GM, Chrysler and others have been left behind?

    My question to all of you: How’s your German or Chinese? How’s your Russian? These will be your future masters and they really don’t give a damn about Star Wars or what your’e doing at home. They are interested in making money and dominating the world.

    Yes, corporate America plays games while the rest world is serious about making money (honestly) and dominating their field.

    Deciding to work for an Asian company is the best move I’ve ever made.

    • I prefer American individualism and diversity. As in evolution, diversity creates the superior product. Uniformity of thought AND culture eventually gets stagnated. The best ideas always come from Americans … then they are perfecrted by the Chinese, but by then, we have moved on to the next idea! I’d be bored in an Asian company.

    • Ron,

      I’m just curious. Have you found that the hiring mangers in other countries actually understand the job? I have often run into a situation where I’m clearly talking way above the interviewer’s head because they have nothing to do with the actual position or department. While I can understand that not everyone in a company knows everything, especially since I work in marketing, it does make interviews pointless and far too long at times.


    • THANK YOU “RON”….Thank you SO much for making such a VALID point and sharing your experience. I had made a comment earlier and made the point that “….it should boil down to PROFESSIONALISM ON BOTH ENDS…” Although I am “younger” than most managers/interviewers, I am old enough to have been in enough work environments to have been exposed to what is ideally LOGIC and what is truly LUDACRIS. Seems like these days, everyone wants to be friends with the boss as oppose to legitimately being the best they could possibly be at their job. In turn/as a result, bosses have INVADED employees personal space and expect ALL employees to share their PRIVATE worlds and life OUTSIDE of the office with them, as if they have a right to know these things. I think these ideas/ways of thinking has therefore trickled down into the interviewing process. THE ONLY THING a company should and need to concern themselves with are the fundamentals of what it is to be an employee….1. Do you come to work when scheduled? 2. Do you perform your duties as instructed WITH INTEGRITY? 3. Do you perform in a PROFESSIONAL manner?….so on and so forth. These are THE ONLY things I as an employee should have to uphold, NOT what MY PERSONAL LIKES AND DISLIKES ARE OUTSIDE of the office. The old saying is, “I’m here to work and make a living and perform NOT to make friends.”

      • I agree. I actually have a lot of personal freinds at work and we discuss in all goofiness the merits of Star Trek and Star Wars. Having personal freindships and goofy time at work is great! However, I built these freindships while doing my job and maintaining professionalism. If the boss and I end up “buddies” that’s fine but it should not be expected. That would be just a bonus to a solid and professional working relationship.

  39. If someone asked me, “Star Wars or Star Trek,” I’d be forced to say, “I am familiar with both but have a real interest in neither.”

  40. I was once asked what I would do to modify a lawnmower engine to make a motorized go-cart (the job was in the engineering department but required no engineering, in factit was IT). I thought a bit and then went into an explanation of how I would have to make a gear arrangement to make the shaft turn the wheels at a 90 degree angle from the way the shaft is turning, a way lower the speed so the cart wouldn’t stall at startup…
    He triumphantly told me that the simplest way would be to simply turn the engine on its side so the shaft would be aligned with the wheels. I considered letting that go but I decided I was here to show him I could think, so I explained to him that the gas and oil would leak out and not be distributed properly and you would still need a clutch and gearing or belts to adjust the speed. This time he paused, then said he had never considered that.
    I got the job.
    The funny thing was I heard some commotion over the cube walls when he said that and I later found out my new co-workers could hear every word and everyone got asked that question for years. No-one had ever shot him down like I did. They had to leave the office to laugh. He never asked the lawnmower question again.

  41. I was asked, “if I was divorced and if so whatwould my ex say was the reason.”
    Really. That was just one of several illegal questions asked me in the same interview after I was already told i was hired. I refused to answer and was abruptly unhired.

  42. I was asked to do a writing assignment ror a receptionist position in GA. I was to pretend to be a Japanese American in 1942 about to be placed in an internment camp. What 10 things I would take with me and what 10 things I would leave behind and why. I had 45 minutes in which to do this. I have since spoken to several temp agency recruiters who said they have never heard of anyone doing this.

  43. I applied for a job as a EKG Tech at a hospital. And was told by a HR person that being a male I was the wrong gender . When I asked her Do you know what you just said to me ? She said I know try and prove it .

    • WOW….So should people start to secretly record their interview sessions now for their own security?…Unfortunately unbelievable…shocking. This IS a first for me.

  44. I once had a big shot VP pick his nose while we were talking just to get my reaction. I calmly reached under my collar and adjusted my bra strap. I became his favorite employee.

  45. Don’t be interviewed! Do the interviewing! Take control.

    I spend the time asking them questions. First, it shows interest in their company. Second, it tells me if I really want to work there. Third, it shows I value my time and career. Fourth, it keeps them from asking silly questions. When you turn the tables (“Where do you see yourself / the company in five years?”) they often don’t have good answers. Even if I don’t get the job I feel good about the interview and myself. Afterwards, I treat myself to a drink at a swanky bar.

    “Star Wars or Star Trek?”
    “Lord of the Rings. Sci-fi is for people who can’t handle reality.”

    “How would you be loyal to our company if your absolute dream job with an unlimited salary were offered to you.”
    “I’d take that job then buy this company.”

    “Ginger or Mary Ann?”
    “Actually, the Professor. Unless you have something against homosexuals.”
    (Oh no! If I don’t hire him there will be a discrimination suit. What do I do? What do I do???)

    “Do you have any other questions for me?”
    “Can I have the job?”
    You can’t get what you don’t ask for.

  46. 1. Star Wars or Star Trek?

    A. TREK.

    Although WARS did offer an important message, about “standing up to corruption”…

    TREK depicted a fair more hope-full tomorrow, in which it didn’t mater the color of Uhura’s, skin, or the shape of Spock’s ears… Or who Mr. Takei sleeps with… All were to busy working for a well defined set of golds…. Locating “New Worlds”… Contacting “New lifeforms, and civilizations”… TREK represents what I think any business should aspire to “Working for a common “bulls-eye”, by using the resources you have… and to he|| with the hatters

    2. If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?

    A. Barbra Gorden

    Who else do you know that can build her own costume persecute bike, earn a black-belt in Judo and hold down a full time job as the head research Liberian of Gotham City… ALL while keeping daddy Commissioner James Gordon, from figuring out who BATGIRL really is?

    3. If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?

    I Hope You Dance Lee Ann Womack

    Why?… I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
    Never settle for the path of least resistance
    Living might mean taking chances
    But they’re worth taking
    Lovin’ might be a mistake
    But it’s worth making
    Don’t let some hell bent heart
    Leave you bitter
    When you come close to selling out
    Give the heavens above
    More than just a passing glance

    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
    I hope you dance

    4. On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you? Why did you choose that number?

    A. LOL… 12.5 And i hope i NEVER settle for just normal or plain

    5. What was your best MacGyver moment?

    A. The day I was DMing a game of Dungeons and Dragons… And rather than handing a “player’s handbook” to a carious onlooker and telling her to “come back when she understood the rules”… I introduced a new character as an amnesia victim… and let the other players teach her to play by figuring out who the character was.

    5. If you saw someone steal a quarter, would you report it? If not, what dollar amount would you report?

    A. For a quarter? MOST LIKELY not… I’d just point out to her that her till’s not going to balance at the end of the night if she doesn’t put it back.

  47. This is bull crap! There is a strong difference between an interviewer asking irrelevant questions of a candidate in an effort to ease tension and impart as sense of relaxed atmosphere vs playing games! Job seeking is a VERY important and sometimes VERY unpleasant thing we all at some point have to do. It’s serious and important for us, and it should be to the employer as well. Were I EVER asked questions such as some of these that are irrelevant to an interview that were obviously intended to shake me up or provide a shock factor to the occasion, I’d politely get up and tell the interviewer, “this interview has just ended!”, and walk out the door. I do NOT play games at a job interview and Will NOT tolerate an interviewer doing this. Whatever they were “fishing” for, they won’t find it in me! Sure, I can be nutty and oddball as well and the next engineer – when product is out the door and everything’s going well. My last Christmas Party will be sufficient evidence of that! But it is NOT appropriate at an interview (in my humble opinion).

  48. General Patton said : “Don’t tell your people how to do their jobs. ( Once they’ve been trained.) Instead, tell them what you expect of them and then let then surprise you with how they go about achieving those results.”

  49. If an employer hires someone with “knowledge”, there is never a guarantee that person has the dedication and integrity needed when it is “crunch- time” and that person must be truly relied upon.

    However; If an employer hires “integrity”, he knows that this employee can be counted on to grow in knowledge, of course, but the factor of Integrity was there first and foremost.

    It is the essential element to any real bonefide success.

    I wish civilian employers would grade my counterparts as we were graded in the Marines- on the factors of Proficiency and Conduct.

    Many slackers and suck-ups would be in for a shock to see how they are really looked upon when factors are detailed out for them in that format.

  50. First of all, why would anyone waste time with an otherwise competent person doing HR and following that, why are HR people in the way between those who can perform and those who best know a performer when he or she meets one? Is it because it is an accepted principle that upper management decreases in hands-on knowledge or ability as they rise in management careers? I don’t think that would be acceptable if we thought of higher ups as leaders instead of managers. These questions show (again) that those doing interviews, esp HR don’t have a clue. I’ve had more outrageous questions than these, and sometimes Iook back and realize it would have been better to have not had the best answer to a ridiculous question, because I could have gotten a better job (maybe) than THIS one.

    • The reason that HR is in between the candidates and those already in the company is because most of the people in the company are not competent to screen or evaluate candidates. I’m an engineer, but I have done recruiting work in a company as well.

      You might be interested in hearing a problem I used to have, which was to get the department director to stabilize regarding how many employees he thought we would need in the near future. One day, he’d say we needed 20 people in a month, the next day, he’s say we shouldn’t hire anyone until we landed the next big contract. It was fun to show him the time line and the hours of work required to double the size of our department.

  51. I was appling for an off position. I listened politly took notes. When the interviewer asked if I had any questions. I said when do I start. They showed me the door.

  52. Trek vs. Wars?
    Red Dwarf. Because they had a much smaller budget and were still creative enough to get a good fan base.

    These creative questions may be good at catching people off guard or seeing how creative they are but it really limits the types of people you get. Many people I know, myself included, like to think over problems and come back to a discussion with an even better answer. You can’t do that in in interview. Those questions work best for the smart-ass who is used to saying the first thing on his mind.

  53. Sounds to me like these HR people are getting a little bored with their jobs. Unless the interviewer has a degree in psychology, they’re the one that should be out looking for a job.

    • There is a concept in psych, known as the face validity of an assessment. If something has little face validity and is valid in content, then it is still a question that may be asked, even though the assessed will have no clue why it is being asked.

      So yeah. A large amount of these questions are more or less valid in this respect, even some of the illegal/unethical ones.

      But since you obviously don’t have a degree in psych (which you made quite obvious), I wouldn’t have expected you to know that.

      sidenote: The only time an HR professional should ever NEED a degree/training in psychology or assessment scoring is when an actual psychological test is given, such as the MBTI personality test. Far too many HR people administer these assessments and then make assumptions about what a score means, when they have no training to ethically administer the assessment in the first place.

  54. Years ago in an interview I was asked to describe either how I organize my closet or my wallet.

    But I must share my son’s answer to a question in a medical school interview:
    Q: If you don’t get into med school, what job would you like to have?
    A: Unfortunately, that job is already taken; I want to be the captain of the Starship Enterprise.

    No one should worry about his job. My son is now an ER doc.

  55. I was asked at an interview if I was offended by the word “f***”. That question was also asked to all of my references. It was for a design/management position. Yes, I got the job, however I didn’t stay long.

    For my current job in design/management, I was asked if I planned on getting married, having children, and working after having children. I didn’t answer the questions, still got the job, and has so far been the best job yet.

  56. I was asked the “what animal would you be” question which after some of what I’ve read here, is almost normal by comparison. I think most of this stuff is an absolute waste of time; theirs AND mine. By and large, companies seem to have their priorities, grossly out of whack these days. Employers are more intent on finding a reason NOT to hire and these asinine questions are just another attempt at justification. It’s the epitome of corporate stupidity. And by the way, I told them I’d be an elephant. When they asked why, I said: “Because, like an elephant, I’m gregarious, have a great memory, and fairly even-tempered … and I will only charge after being repeatedly poked, prodded or otherwise provoked.” I didn’t get the job and, frankly, if that was the reason, didn’t give a damn either.

  57. I often wonder how many potentially great employees are passed by due to the shortcomings of the HR Department and/or the person performing the interview. More often than not there seems to be a sense that someone is abusing their position of power and strugging with their own self esteem and ego issues. Neither of which should EVER be a hurdle to finding the right candidate for a position.

    • Reguarding HR people I was told by a HR person at Harbor Hospital in Baltimore .After applying for a job as a EKG Tech that I was the wrong gender . When I asked her Do you know what you just said to me ? she stated yes but try and prove it . I mean why even call someone and do that . You know my son fought and died in Iraq to right the wrongs over there and it is happening here .

  58. During an interview for a CASHIER position , I was asked to give my opinion of the person, who worked at the store,who encouraged me to apply and recommended me to the position. I declined ,
    stating that our relationship is defined by shared interests. I did get the position.

  59. As an HRO Consultant/Business Analyst I’m constantly being interviewed by prospective clients. I’ve never been turned down, but I have deflected numerous inappropriate questions with humor. Being confrontational gets you nowhere. Frankly neither do gimmicky interviewing techniques.

    First if you’re asking “clever” questions you’re more interested in entertaining yourself and appearing smart than you are in determining how this person will perform.

    Want to know how they think? Get up at the white board. Engage them in a problem you’re currently facing. Ask them how they’d tackle it. Engage them in the same way you’d solve a problem with one of your current employees. Encourage them to ask questions. As you provide more feedback and get deeper into problem solving you’ll see how they really think. Disagree with them and you’ll get a peak at how they deal with negative feedback. Most importantly spend time with them.

    If you hire this person you’ll spend eight or more hours per day with them. If you really think some inane quirky questions are a substitute for actually engaging that person you’re not as clever as you think.

  60. There are some beauties here, but I have one -Sales Mngr job, 2nd interview AFTER HR ran through bennies with me: “If you leave our parking lot, get killed by a bus, what would you want on your tombstone?” Didn’t even blink before replying, “Peperoni!” He sat there, stone-faced. “Don’t watch much TV, do you?”,and he said no. BTW, he used 6 euphamisms for the word ‘dead’, obviously uncomfortable asking. I followed up with, “Loving husband, great father, humorist.” I’m an atheist, will donate body to med research, hence this encroached on my religious views. Wish I’d said it at the time. Headhunter was furious!

  61. These types of questions have nothing to get you closer to the job hiring process.
    They may say it covers “decision making, choice analysis, motivation level.”
    There is a reason standard interview questions are asked and asked, It gives everyone a Equal chance at the job.
    Once an interviewer starts of alter the question course. The possible employee is leaving themselves open to being screened out and left out. Another form of job discrimination to hit the law level..

  62. In one interview I was asked:
    - will you answer email at 4 am?
    - do you really need health insurance or any other benefits?
    - if you had to drop everything and drive across the state to meet someone unexpectedly, would it be a problem, like, would you have to arrange for a babysitter?
    I wasn’t too upset when I wasn’t offered the job.

  63. First phone interview (for mfg eng position) included this exchange:

    20-something: Would you really want to work in a factory environment?

    me: Sure. I’ve worked in manufacturing companies [3] all my life [35+ years] so it’s nothing new.

    20-something: Wow. Most old guys really hate working in the factory.

    The patter continued but they didn’t call me back … I’m sure they found a nice string of 20-somethings for the position (as it comes up again about every 12-16 months).

    Another company went something like this:

    1st interviewer (maybe 18?): Like, do you know CAD? Did you ever have to work with anyone really smelly?

    2nd interviewer (maybe 22): Like, we do lots of ****** stuff here. You think you might like that? Did you ever have to work with any of “those” people?

    3rd interviewer (may 28 but had his PHd): Most of our product is used in industrial applications. We do all the research, design, and application adaptation here. [Tour of the facility.] So, did you ever have to work with people of other nationalities?

    4th interviewer (may 40 and clearly a temp): Have a seat. We’re just waiting for “Joe” to call for you so we’ll chat a minute. [In other words, I have to babysit you while my lunch is getting cold.] BTW, have you ever had to deal with a bitchy co-worker and how did you handle that?

    5th interviewer (slightly older than I): Nice to meet you. How much do you know about ******? I’m the world’s leading scientist on the topic but I have to retire next week. There isn’t anything new to be developed but we do just fine adapting it for new Customers. So, have you ever had to fire anyone?

    Oddly enough, just like the phone interview, the patter continued on for a few minutes before I could make my escape.

    Later, I received a nice postcard announcing they had found someone more suitable [no kidding].

    And, as before, I’m sure they found a nice string of 20-somethings for the position because they provide relocation funds. There must be other factors at play though because this position also comes up again about every 9-12 months.

    In this case, between the weird [maybe even illegal] questions and the fact that the only interviewer even close to my age was being edged out [clearly before he wanted to go], I think I ducked a bullet.

    Interviewers: If you think these kinds of questions will somehow provide a magical insight into the interviewee’s personality and capability … well, go for it; and have a nice day.

  64. Pingback: Star Wars or Star Trek? Questions you just might hear in the interview | You Will Get A Job

  65. I was asked, if my children were I’ll and I had an important meeting, what would I do? (clearly illegal, and probably never asked of male candidates).

    My reply, well at this point in time I am focused on my career and goals, I am sure I could manage the same as you would.

    After leaving the interview, I sent a very nice, “I don’t think this position is the right fit” sort of note.

    I also been on the other side of the fence, and I love the off style questions. Honestly, I don’t care what the answers are, it is a matter of seeing if a can date can think quickly in order to make a decision, and back up the answer with good reasoning.
    For example, I have asked, what was the last book you read and did you enjoy it?

    I have also heard or been asked these great questions:

    Tell me three things about yourself, that I can’t find on your resume

    If you were a tree what type would you be and why? (saw this posted earlier) I actually now have a prepared answer, just in case: I would be a willow tree, they are firm and flexible, they provide a lovely place to relax and they are able to flow with the wind (saying here, I know my own mind, can stand up for myself when needed, am adaptable, and am able to go with the flow when needed.) for what I do, all of these traits are necessary!

    If you could be on a baseball team, what position would you play and why? My real answer is I wouldn’t be on the team, I would own the team. However, not really what a person is looking for, this is just a leadership and team player question in disguise. I

    I also have heard, if you could be an M & M, what color would you be?

  66. hahaha I laughed at a lot of these. I’d much rather answer a question that’s a little strange and creative then be asked “where do you see yourself in 10 years” or “what’s your biggest weakness”… Can’t stand those ones because no matter how you answer it always comes out phoney!

  67. The oddest question I’ve ever been asked is, “On a long flight, who, living or dead, would you most like to sit next to?”
    I pondered for a moment and answered, “nobody.”
    When asked why I responded with that answer, I explained that the dead would probably stink to high you know what along with, “you don’t know the kind of weirdos I’ve had to endure sitting next to me on a flight.”
    I must have caught the interviewing manager off-guard as he told me that I was the first to provide that response. He then asked if I might select a different answer. My response was, “My Mom.”
    I didn’t get the job.

  68. Pingback: (Retitled) Failed Interview « Casey S. Remy : The Blog

  69. I was once asked “if you were a barnyard animal, which one would you be?” And before I could answer, the interviewer said “and dont say the rooster, since he is the king of the barnyard, and that is me”

  70. I once had a potential employer tell me that he preferred to hire “us gals” for the picker/packer positions in the warehouse (the business was an office supply wholesaler) because “we are grateful, know our places, and don’t go getting all uppity about never getting a promotion, like those college boys do”.

    I told him he was very, very, very lucky I wasn’t an undercover investigator for the EEOC. I let that sink in until he blanched, then got up and walked out.

  71. My last job interview I received my appointment notification by Email… I replied them back But… Don’t you just hate that the “R” is so Close to the “T”

    Thank you Shana, I will see you Monday 8:30
    Retards (regards)

  72. “What books have you read recently?” I answered the Hunger Games books. The interviewers said “We should check those out.” Then they asked “Why did you read those books?” I said for entertainment.

    Later in the same interview they asked me “What is your biggest weakness, but don’t give us some canned answer like, I am a perfectionist so I find it hard to move on to other projects before I feel completely satisfied with the one I started, or I sometimes take my work home with me but I think I will get better at that with time and experience.” This surprised me because I had been thinking about this question ever since they offered me the interview and I had a couple of great canned answers.

  73. I’ve never had a strange interview question but my friend has. Our local movie theater in their interviews will ask “If you were a part of a car, what part would you be and why?” They’d always ask that question as the final question and only to people they were already planning on hiring. Only one person has ever been asked that question and not been hired and until he answered the question he had the job. But his answer was cocky and quite rude and literally that one answer alone cost him the job.

  74. I was asked by a woman interviewer “How would you feel being the only male working in an office of all women.”

  75. And about your “Question.”

    I would say “Star Wars”, because it involved a multiple episode plot which included a dynamic and intriguing host of characters and story lines. The story allowed for a sizable amount of expansion in both prequels and sequels to the original story. Yes, that is possible with many plots but, some are more intriguingly expandable than others. It piques the curiosity of those who find the story entertaining and interesting, while at the same time captures the attention of the “casual” viewer. It not only contains all the main elements of an intriguing narrative, but includes all of the potential technology of a not so distant future. The fast pace of the action scenes makes for an exciting as well as, an thought provoking ride.
    TAKE THAT, H.R.!!!!!!!!!!

    • Au Contrere, Boba Fett!Star Trek is based on a number of episodes AND movies, with the TV serializations aimed toward a specific social point (moreso in the earlier series) that’s being debated.  Whereas Star Wars has no such mechanism, it’s only one big story broken up into six movies.  As good as both are, they’re like apples and oranges, and I’d refuse to commit to which one is “better”…

  76. I had an interviewer ask me if I liked southern sweet tea. The interview was for the position of assistant general manager of a book store.

  77. I taught mathematics for 38 years at a branch of the Univ. of Wisc. When I “interviewed” for the position, I walked into the room, noticed the interviewer had a bunch of math books on his shelf, and, before the interview started, asked him why he had so many math books in his office. For 28 minutes he talked about HIS teaching for 35 years, then looked as his watch and said: “I have to be at a meeting in 2 minutes. Do you want the job?” I said “Yes” and that was MY interview.

  78. 3 accountants applied for the same job, all three did fine on the 1st interview
    on the 2nd interview they were asked one final quesion,
    what is 2 + 2
    the 1st said 4
    the 2nd said 4
    the 3rd one said “what you want it to be”
    guess who got the job

  79. Ive never had a job interview without a predetermined set of questions. Would be nice to have an interviewer just talk person to person without the game playing.

  80. Heres an unfortunately common question that most interviewers ask.

    Why should we hire you if we have more qualified and experienced candidates available?

    That always annoys me because if they do then we’re both wasting our time with this interview and if not then the interviewer is lying to me.

    • THANK YOU!!!….EXACTLY!!! Maybe people should give the response you just gave after pointing out and saying something to the effect of “YOU called ME for this interview and I obliged because I feel I do have the potential…etc. etc…”….give diplomatic/legitimate answers about YOUR credentials/experience and why you would want to work for the company, AND THEN hit them with “but if that’s the statement you feel you need to point out to me during MY opportunity to talk about me in regards to having more qualified and experienced candidates available, ‘then we’re both wasting our time with this interview’(as you’ve stated)”……

      • I’ll admit Ikanony that I didnt even say all that. I merely said ‘well if that is the case then we are both wasting our time’.

        • :-) Oh actually, I even thought you were just making a point or noting your thoughts.I didn’t realize you were attempting to say that you really DID say something like what you’ve noted…which in my opinion is STILL taking a stance. Some people would only THINK the thoughts of what you’ve stated and cry on someone’s shoulder afterwards, but won’t have the courage/confidance to actually say it outright to the interviewer. So BRAVO! :-)

    • “because those overqualified candidates will want your job and the underqualified ones will cost you yours”.  I just want THIS job.

    • You’re missing the whole point.  Do you know what those shows are about?  Or that Star Trek is a collection of serials AND various movies whereas Star Wars is only a collection of six movies.  Maybe you don’t have to be a fan of the subject matter, but being factually stunted does not help your interview chances.

  81. If your at all uncomfortable with a question, Ask “Why are you asking me That” If you don’t like the answer walk out. You have what they want and need.

    The best Interview I ever received was for job doing Computer aided Drafting using AutoCADD. The engineer on the project asked me to take a blue print and find it on the computer and print out a copy. Most blueprints have the path printed on the bottom of the sheet. So this was easy to do. I checked the scale of the drawing compared to the printed scale on the sheet, it was off so I checked the drawing and found it was not in the right type of space. I fixed that problem in a new file and printed out a corrected copy. When I showed him my copy and his original, and pointed out the error in his, I thought it was part of the test. He turned white and asked “what do you mean its the wrong scale” I showed him a 10 foot door that scaled out to 12 feet on his drawing. He franticly went through 6 more drawings and all of them were printed wrong. He looked at me and asked “Did you fix all of these?” I said “No I made a new file with the corrected one in it, you said you had 20 people testing for this job in the next few days, if none of them find this problem I think you will be calling me back.” I was hired two days later. So heres a case of the right person doing the interview. So when I hired a helper I went for a student that had been trained were I was trained. We got a 6200 sheet blue print set reprinted and got UNIVERSAL CITY WALK back on track and all the trades coordinated so that the water, air and heat and my electric lines went where they were susposed to. and they still don’t know that I’m a REAL SUPER HERO!!!!

    • GREAT STORY…I’m not kidding you, I made a comment directly listed after yours (#89) BEFORE I read your comment. Needless to say, I agree with your approach on how to address certain questions/interviewers. Perhaps if more people would be confidant enough to take the risk in “not getting the job” (which ironically with these questions, they’re NOT likely going to get the job anyway) by asking the significance of their approach, versus struggling to provide answers to illegitimate questions, employers would take the hint, feel ashamed and go back the true meaning of professionalism, common courtesy, and legitimately hire the better person for the job or group of people for the department….TURNOVER WILL BE FAR AND IN BETWEEN.

  82. Maybe the questions/answers prospective employees should start asking/saying to these type of interviewers mentioned in the article are
    1. ” I fail to understand why/how these questions determine my eligibility or potential…can you please explain?” (frank yet professional) OR something to the manner of, 2. “Is this a new format of interviewing?….I am honestly not sure how to answer ANY of these questions considering I’m not able to distinguish how they relate to the job I’m attempting to interview for….Is this how the company has interviewed you and ALL employees including veteran employees of 10 plus years?”….. I swear if he/she starts giving me this “by the book”/B.S. answer that they accuse prospective employees to give, I would know and I WOULD END THE INTERVIEW MYSELF…..professionally of course ;-)

  83. I remember once, I was asked if my mohawk [when i had one] was real or gelled. I told him that it was natural, and my interviewer was curious enough to run her fingers through my hair and mess my hair up to ensure my merit.

    I was applying for a position as a secretary at the executive office at the Corps of Engineers.

    I was hired within six hours just cuz she thought it was amazing that I could naturally produce a 5 inch mohawk without gel or comb.

  84. I remember one question I was once asked in an interview for a registered nurse job “what would I like to see on my tombstone” when I died. ( I felt like answering “pepperoni and mushrooms.”)

    No questions were asked about my experience in relation to the job, or special qualifications. At the time I had over 20 years of experience in my field, some of it very specialized, and also had over 5 years of management and supervisory experience. I was in law school as well. I didn’t get the job, for which I was well qualified. I did follow up on the interview and ask why I didn’t get the job, and was told I didn’t display “critical thinking skills” so apparently I gave the “wrong” answer to that tombstone question.

    Most interview questions seem to be geared to weeding potential job candidates out in nonsensical ways, based on some mysterious personal whims of a recruiter, rather than looking at experience and qualifications. I’ve also been asked which superhero would I be if I could be one, and what is the most negative thing I could think of about myself, and what would my supervisor say about me. I have also been asked how much sick time I’ve used in the past year, and been asked to sign a form to allow checking of personal information related to sick time use.

    • Your answer should have been “A good nurse would have prevented this”But the “pepporoni and mushrooms” is a good second choice.

  85. While interviewing for a part-time job for a company that told me outright that it was not giving any sort of raises, I was asked what my career plans with them were. I told them to ask again after my first raise.

  86. best question for an adminsitrative office position

    WHy are manhole covers round??? and What kind of truck would you like to be ??

  87. I agree with those who have posted that these questions are a waste of time. I also agree that HR’s function is to protect management from legal liability in hiring an firing, but I have rarely met anyone in HR who wasn’t a sociopath. Sorry all you HR people, but HR was a major interface in my occupation (accounting manager) and I’ve dealt with dozens of HR people in large corporations. Asking these ridiculous questions also assumes that the interviewer has the training and insight to interpret your answers. If I asked you “If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be?”, and you said, a lima bean, does that mean that you are lazy? Or does that mean you are a closet serial murderer? Realize that all too few managers of any kind, HR or otherwise, have been trained in interviewing skills. It’s quite an art. There is a vernacular term for someone who hires other people because they can spew back Monty Python quotes-they call them idiots. BTW, trained interviewers don’t ask “canned” questions. They just ask you “So, tell me about yourself.” and after you finish talking, they ask more questions based on what information you have given them. A good interviewer can get you to reveal yourself without resorting to these imbecilic faddish nonsense questions. When all is said and done, hiring is a crap shoot anyway.

  88. To be honest here- – -I probably would give smartass answers – question their motives- – and walk out.Times are tough but to be asked irrelevant questions (unless they want to tell me the relevance)- – It would be “Have a nice day” and good luck with the next person

    • I think the right answer would be:

      “I’m sure the question has relevance to the work I’ll be doing for you. Would you explain that in more detail, so I know how to apply it to giving you the best results I can?”

  89. A criminal defense attorney asked me several times in the same interview how many kids I have for a legal secretary position. I told him the answer. And when it came up more than once I walked out of the interview.

  90. I recently applied for a position at Microsoft as a quality agent. My husband works there, and his manager was looking for someone to audit service requests to make sure that they were grammatically correct, and that there was a complete follow-through. When his manager found out I was an English major, I was offered the job, but still had to go through the interview process. I was told I wouldn’t have to know anything technical about computers or their inner workings, just the basics on how to run simple industry-based software, which was fine with me because that’s about all I know about them.

    The person I was supposed to interview with wasn’t in the day of my appointment, so I interviewed with someone else, and stated most emphatically that I was applying for the quality position.

    Still, he asked me the routine questions required for technical support: “What is an IP address?” “What does BIOS stand for?” “Name all the internal components of a standard desktop computer.”

    I was flummoxed for a moment, then responded, “I don’t know, since I was told I wouldn’t need to know this for the position. However, if you are offering training in this department, I’d love to learn! I’m a fast learner, and am always looking to expand my field of knowledge. You never know when you’ll need some type of information, and it never hurts to be prepared!”

    He seemed impressed. He looked over my resume, saw my GPA and the fact that I had worked in a wide variety of fields that were completely unrelated (a student teacher in high school, a college library assistant, a medical office patient manager) and said to me, “Most people come in here and tell me they can learn pretty quickly. I seldom believe them. But looking at all the things you’ve learned, and apparently how successful you were, I can honestly say, I believe you.”

    (I had had each job for at least 3 years, except the library position, which I only held a few semesters in college. But I did tell him that I was the only student in the history of the college library who had been allowed to open, operate, and close the library by myself on Saturdays. I had the head librarian’s cell number so I could call in an emergency, but I only had to use it twice. He also seemed impressed with that)

    So while the questions I was asked weren’t “strange” by any stretch of the imagination, they did throw me for a loop as I was completely unprepared for them. Being willing to learn is often a big help, I guess!

    • I think the interviewer was impressed because you said you “didn’t know”.  Microsoft is full of “know-it-alls” that’s why they’re so downtrodden when they don’t finish first in everything.  I’m looking forward to when Google falls, it will be excellent!

  91. If I entered into an interview where I got any of these questions, it would be abundantly clear to me that this was not a serious nor professional organization and I would walk. Fortunately, all interviews I have ever been on over my lifespan have been handled in a very legal and professional manner, following standard human resources “good practices”. Quite frankly, I can’t believe some of the questions listed in this article. Aside from being illegal and worthy of suit putting the company in jeopardy, many are irrelevant or poorly developed interview questions. Certainly not the kind of organizations I would want to work with unless I was being brought on board to fix such shortcomings.

  92. I have been asked so many ridiculous question, had so many absurd comments said to me, & so many impossible requests made, & even been threatened by potential employers in interviews, that I am sure they do it specifically because they know I am over qualified for the jobs I am applying for & see me as a threat to their own manager position or the structure of the piramid they so precariously have set up of underlings supporting them. And, not only in job interviews,…also filling out papers for doctor’s offices, such as, Do you own a gun? & Is it loaded? I had to laugh at that one. A doctor who is so sure he with fk you up, that he wants to know if you will hunt him down afterward. And also, cashiers who think because they came off of welfare, they should take the opportunity to ask for everyone SS#, date of birth, address, etc. for a simple but meeded purchase like tampons, “you can’t buy them if you don’t answer!!” The world is full of freaks of every lowly type, just freak!! It so sad.

  93. In reference to the question, “If you had a choice, what animal would you be?” The most appropriate, unless you want to lose some finely tuned capabilities is: Human.

    Technically, we are animals (as opposed to plants, minerals, gases, etc.)

  94. I beg to differ on mental disability being a reason not to hire someone. I’ve worked for several people over the years who had severe mental and emotional problems – two of whom I know for a fact were taking multiple meds to get through life. Seriously, I once worked for a med school that employeed a young lady with Down’s Syndrome in the maintenance department. She was a fiend about recycling – scolded you if you threw a pop can in your wastebasket. She was sharp as a tack and performed her job beautifullly.

  95. I was asked in a science teaching position, ” What is the age of the Earth ? “. This is an independent church school. Since there is no specific scientific agreement as to the actual age of the earth I did factor so many things into the answer, like, energy changes, physical, chemical, bilogical and astrological,l theology, faith, philosophy, Atom ic energy changes and transmutation of elements Lihgt Year etc.
    An i ndirect question on the theory of evolution and Intelligent Design. The interviewer still wanted a specific answer. 7 billions based on all the factors and including the fact that the beginng of time is uncertain and the instrument and technologies used could be faulty. No right or wrong answer but she wanted me to tie myself down to the 4.5billion or thereabout in vogue.
    Rationale. That students ask that question .

  96. most on this panel seem to use idiot as an expression for others, when they shouls use the word ignorant to apply to themselves.
    one or two individuals stated the subject correctly. Hr does not make policy. period. they also do not hire or fire. they are required to interview all candidates, by law, submit the best potential candidates to the dicipline manager that requested this position, and then get out of the way. further, hr does not have to be experts in each didipline. they should be proffessional and treat all candidates with the same fairness. most levels of managers do not make policy either. they abide by it, but have a direct link to the hire and fire part of the system. finally, we seem to spend too much time on nitpicking the potential employer than in trying to put our best foot foreword.

  97. I see a lot of people here complaining that “HR doesn’t know what they’re doing” and seems to think they’re the ones asking the questions… but they’re not the ones that have to deal with a new member of a team. I’m a hiring manager of sorts in an IT department, and don’t get a lot of guidance from my HR department, so I’m left to my own devices (get it? IT–devices) to come up with my own question set.

    I’m also usually interviewing college kids for a part-time job, and they’ve likely never had a job, so the off-the-wall questions come in handy to get them to talk about themselves, and usually gets them thinking.

  98. now i think i understand why there are so many unqualified people employed that i have seen or heard about in the different work places. Is it possible that these unqualified people were ask these irrelevant questions just because the interviewer was bored with questions that may actually show a persons knowledge of the position?. and are these the people that are usually terminated because they are unable to actually be productive or the ones that get so frustrated and stressed out that they quit? what a waste of time all around for the company and for the productive workers who get tired of having to do their job plus the job of these unknowledgeable people. i mean, really?

  99. This is great. I want to work with you people. My last job was with rude, boring, idiots, ….and most of the supervisors were the worst. I was in a beauty contest “Miss Hometown” and was asked how many kids I wanted someday and why. I was18 and had never thought about it., and had not had a social awareness discussion about it. So, in front of half of my hometown said “Probably 2 or 4. There were 3 in my family and I think an even number would be better” I walked away thinking, WHAT have I done…why was I asked that….oh well, didn’t think I would win this anyway”
    I got runner up. The winner was asked who she admired the most. She gave a good answer.
    I’ve had interviewers make me feel like I was 2 inches tall sitting before them. I’ve had some play games and try to exert their POWER over little insignificant me. I feel that they will try to give the job to a relative or friend if they can. They will create as many people who “owe them” as possible.

    I have family working for Zappos, and if they ask if you would put on a bee costume and give out candy to fellow workers, it is something that employees there do. ….not required tho. It is a cool place to work.

    Reuters published an article about olders job applicants. I said NOT to put all of your vast experience on your resume. It said some young whippersnapper hiring manager will think you are a “know it all”. I’d rather be a KNA than a whippersnapper any day. I send resumes in listing the exact experience they are looking for, all day long, and never hear back. Yeah, they don’t read em.
    It’s a crap shoot. I CAN shoot………may need to practice on some crap…

  100. As a hiring manager for a fast food place, I used to ask what their favorite dog was. It gave insight into how they would handle customers. Now this question all though it appears silly is relevent as if they can’t handle this question how will they handle an upset customer.
    One young guy said his favorite was a pitbull because they are illegal. One woman said what the hell does that have to do with the job. One young girl said she prefered cats. Who do you think I hired?

  101. A counterpart of mine, who I knew was jealous of my overseas travels, told me he liked to trip up interview candidates with the question, “What would you want written on your epitath?” I told him the question was easy for me… “I’d rather be in the U.K.”

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