The Most Unusual Interview Question

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If there is one universal fact in the world, it’s that human beings are by nature very curious creatures and in no other place is this more evident than in one of the most inaccurate means of productivity and usefulness analysis – the work interview. I’ve personally never been asked any particularly strange questions and I’ve had my fair share of interviews but I’ve certainly heard of some strange questions being asked (I’m not talking about those “how many gas stations are there in the United States” questions, I’m talking out there questions) and I wanted to know if you all had any particularly eyebrow raising queries.

The strangest “question” by far, and this is more of a request than a question, was when my friend went to interview with an engineering firm and they made him take a personality test. Now, I doubt the usefulness of a personality test but if they put one in front of me, I’m going to oblige… if it wasn’t going to take me three hours to finish! My friend took the test (not realizing it would take three hours, he just thought it was long) even though he wasn’t all that sold on the job. If a company every put an SAT test in front of me, I’d thank them for their time and politely excuse myself. That wasn’t really a question but that’s certainly the most unusual question/request I’ve ever heard of.

Do you have a question or request that can top a three hour personality test?

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “The Most Unusual Interview Question”

  1. eROCK says:

    Nothing that odd, but in one interview I had someone ask me to convert an IP address to binary. It caught me by surprise and was highly irrelevant to the position.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I once interviewed for a position with an investment bank in New York. The interviewer asked VERY strange questions. It was definitely a stress interview. He asked me how “tough” I was.

    As I was answering, he began to swipe his hand, grabbing the air, as if struggling to catch a fly. I saw no fly but he continued as I answered. I forget his other questions. But my roommate also thought he was obnoxious when he called at 6:30 am for me.

  3. 1MansMoney says:

    A few years back, I went to an interview looking forward to learning more about the position. The interviewer and I got off to a great start and then he hit me with, “Are you familiar with multi-level marketing?”

  4. shadox says:

    This happened in my company just this week. We are intrviewing some candidates for a very senior position in my firm and our HR director told me that one of the questions she asked one of the candidates was: “Tell me something that you haven’t told anyone else in this interview process.”

    I thought it was a weird and pointless question. I was not sure where she was going with this, so I asked her. She said she was just trying to see how the candidate would react. Whatever.

    Generally speaking, I really like our HR person. I think she is nice and smart, but I guess she was just trying to be overly creative.

  5. Jonathan says:

    I’ve had personality tests, but it probably took about half an hour.

    Later on in the job, I learned that they really do consider it in the hiring process. Something about certain personalities being more open to cutting corners or something.

  6. Lisa says:

    I’ve had many hours of personality tests when I interviewed for a job many years ago. I also had to do math tests as well, which made more sense to me. Anyway the whole interview seemed strange until I realized there were a lot of L Ron Hubbard books lying around….I think Scientologists are known for their personality tests.

  7. Amanda says:

    I had to take a short personality test for my current job. I’ve since learned that they do, in fact, take the results pretty seriously…

  8. plonkee says:

    I’ve taken a Myers-Briggs test for a job, which I’ve since learned is considered unethical as they didn’t give us the results or anything. Interestingly, despite being as introverted as you can get (not often seen as a desirable trait) I was recalled for a second interview. I declined as I wasn’t interested in the job.

    I’ve had to write a timed essay before, which threw me a little, especially as I studied maths at university and so hadn’t written an essay of any sort for 4 years.

  9. Wish says:

    I had a creepy interview where the guy asked me if I’ve ever filed a sexual harrassment lawsuit and then asked if I was “seeing” anyone. When I told him I was married he showed me out of the building immediately.

    People should go to a bar to find dates, not conduct job interviews.

  10. Jasmine says:

    I was once asked to give five words that my best friend would use to describe me. I don’t know how unusual that question is, it’s certainly something I’d never been asked before (or even thought about before), and very much put me on the spot! In the feedback process though, the interviewer said that was the question I answered best, so i can’t complain! Although, I didn’t get the job…

  11. MERF(: says:

    the other day a person came into an interview and asked me if i was flexible./

  12. Bobby says:

    I once had a manger ask if I thought life were black and white or if shades of grey existed. I answered that I believed that there were shades of grey. His follow-up question was “what if those shades of grey were actually infinitely small lines of black and white giving the appearance of grey?” I didn’t know what to say.

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