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Most bizarre job interview questions:

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Here's one I encountered early in my career:

"If you could be a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be?" And the dreaded follow up question,
"Why?"

Prudence is partial to asking people, Who is your favorite Simpsons character?, Why?, Give me a direct quote from that character."

What doozies have you run across?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
"If you had to choose between going to a rock concert or a classical music performance, which would you choose, and why?"

I think I said it would depend who was playing...

Didn't get the job - they said I was their first choice, but the planning commission decided to not hire anybody. Uh huh...right.

And that is why my little dot on the cyburbia map is not located in Maryland.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I just had a job interview this morning, they asked me what they said would be an easy question, but was not. What was the last book you read?

I did not want to tell them the true answer, religion book, but I could not remember the name of the other book I recently read so I had to explain the story to them, I think it scared them.

More and more of the job interviews I have been having are moving away from the touchy feely questions and asking the knowledge based ones. Is this a change in interviewing trends or just the level of positions I am applying for, mid to senior.

Best answer I have heard when interviewing a person when asked how do you learn from your mistakes was "I don't make mistakes".
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I got "if you were a fruit, what type would you be?"... and of course, the follow up "why"?

I haven't had that many bizarre questions... it's the role play that is weird. I've been subject to disturbing mock city council meetings, where the actors playing the councilmembers would be doing things like reading the paper, snapping gum, and napping, while others were interrupting your presentation.

I also was given a Zoning Ordinance, and had to stand at a podium like it was the front counter and help an "average citizen" with a question, which was of course played by some planner with an attitude.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
donk said:
Best answer I have heard when interviewing a person when asked how do you learn from your mistakes was "I don't make mistakes".
As that wise sage Big Bird once sang, "Everyone makes mistakes, oh yes they do."

If I had gotten that response from an interviewee, I'd assume any of the following:
a) arrogance
b) lies to avoid admitting mistakes
c) unable to recognize his/her errors on the job
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
donk said:
Best answer I have heard when interviewing a person when asked how do you learn from your mistakes was "I don't make mistakes".
Best as in good? That kind of answer would just make me want to boot him/her straight out the door.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Check this out, once I was at this job interview, right, and the chick Planning Director was hot I mean hot. She asks me "what do you like to do for fun?" So I says "I like to party that's what and I party hard."

So she takes her glasses off, right, and she is smokin', I mean smokin'. She says "I've had a long day," and she takes her hair down and

...nah, I making this crap up.


My worst job interview was my first ever for McDonalds when I was 15. I just couldn't answer all the "why do you want to work here" questions and I could barely speak at all. I didn't get hired because he wasn't sure I could communicate well with others. But I showed him the next summer I worked at another McDonalds. - Success!!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Seabishop said:
Check this out, once I was at this job interview, right, and the chick Planning Director was hot I mean hot. She asks me "what do you like to do for fun?" So I says "I like to party that's what and I party hard."

So she takes her glasses off, right, and she is smokin', I mean smokin'. She says "I've had a long day," and she takes her hair down and

...nah, I making this crap up.
[ot] I just saw "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" this weekend. ROTLFMAO! [/ot]
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Best as in good?
Best, as in most memorable. she was a head case that looked good on paper and that was it.

As for seabishop's post, as soon as he said hot female planning director I knew it had to be a tall tale.
 
Last edited:

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Just last summer, for my current job: "If you could be reincarnated and come back as any animal, which one would you pick?". I said cat.

Found out later the engineer who asked that one has 15 cats at home. Whew!
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
donk said:


As for seabishop's post, as soon as he said hot female planning director I knew it had to be a tall tale.
Oh, that took balls, my friend.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
I bet I win this one:

In my previous field, I was interviewing for a State Park Ranger job. Got all of the standard stuff for 20 minutes or so, then just when I was feeling relaxed and confident. The lady hands me a pencil, and says, "give me a 5 minute interpretive program on this". I go: It's wood.....ah um ah .....see the tree rings, the tree grows a new ring each year.... (look at clock 30 seconds had elapsed)...uh....um....
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
donk said:
Best answer I have heard when interviewing a person when asked how do you learn from your mistakes was "I don't make mistakes".
I actually used that one on my current boss during the interview. Of course I let him know I was joking and went on to exlain that mistakes are..blah, blah, blah...the usual interview b.s. I think maybe showing a little sense of humor might have helped me land what was a very competative posistion above a lot of more qualified candidates.

EDIT: By far the oddest and rudest question I ever had was during an interview with a non-profit group here in PA when the woman conducting the interview asked me if she needed to slow down so I could understand what she was saying. I told her that I could understand her just fine and her response was, "Well ok, I know that you're probably used to people speaking a lot more slowly since you're from the south." The woman almost got a beat down right then-and-there.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I interviewed for a job and I was asked "If you won the lottery, would you continue to work here?" To which I replied "That depends on how much money I won" They said "A few million, like the megabucks or powerball." I told them that if I won enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life that I would resign because there is probably someone who would need the job more than I did.

Apparently some former employee had won the lottery and said she would keep working there, but ended up quitting soon after she realzed managing that much money was a full time job. Not sure if this is true or if they were trying to cover their tracks after asking such a stupid question. I didn't get the job.

For my internship I was asked if I liked to drink beer or go out with co-workers to bars. I had already kind of knew the guy interviewing me, so I said yes and was hired.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
I nearly applied for a job in Wisconsin about a year ago, but knowing that I'd get some Simpons question I applied in AZ instead. :)

A job in Texas asked me if I was a Longhorn or ATM fan, luckily I saw the ATM crap on his desk before I answered.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Habanero said:
A job in Texas asked me if I was a Longhorn or ATM fan, luckily I saw the ATM crap on his desk before I answered.
Same thing happened in Miss. They asked if I was a State or Ole Miss Fan. I went to Ole Miss undergrad do naturally I said Ole Miss. The entire interview they called me Johnny (as in Johnny Reb, the mascot ). They were all State fans.

I got the job, but by the time they called I had already committed elsewhere.

What could have been….
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,178
Points
25
We were interviewing as a group once for a mental hea;th related position. The lady had just a wonderful sense of humor and our sides hurt we laughed so hard during the interview. Our last question of her was, Why do you think you will be good for this job?
Her response was the best... She said frankly I didn't have any idea what I was interviewing for when I came in but you guys have been great to interview with so I guess we would have a great time working together.

When I called her back to offer her the job, I said, we don't know why we want to offer you a job you don't have any idea about but we had a great time too! We worked together for 5 years, it was great!
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Once a long time ago when the guy interviewing me, after he asked insulting questions for 30 minutes, asked if I had any questions, I ask; Why would anyone work for a prick like you? I didn't get the job, and he was a prick. I imagine he still is.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
When I interviewed for my current job, my boss kept asking me about how smart I am. First he said, "on a scale of 1-10, how smart are you?" I felt a trap coming, but I just plunged in. I said, "8 1/2, 9." He asks me, "are you the smartest person you know?" And I said, "not the smartest, but smarter than most everyone I meet."

I guess I gave the right answer -- I got the job. And I can tell you I know of one place where intelligence is in short supply. ;)
 

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
Worst Interview questions

I was interviewed for a county planning position in Michigan. The interview panel was snotty, bored and was obviously just going through the motions and already had someone in mind for the job. After 1 hour of hostile questions, they asked me if I had any and then indicated, before I had a chance to ask MY questions, that they were out of time.

I did, however, manage to ask after the status of their master plan - one interviewer said the county didn't have one in place. I responded that that sounded like a formula for "sprawl" and marched out.

Obviously, I didn't get the job - **** 'em, their loss!
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Queen B said:
We were interviewing as a group once for a mental hea;th related position. The lady had just a wonderful sense of humor and our sides hurt we laughed so hard during the interview. Our last question of her was, Why do you think you will be good for this job?
Her response was the best... She said frankly I didn't have any idea what I was interviewing for when I came in but you guys have been great to interview with so I guess we would have a great time working together.

When I called her back to offer her the job, I said, we don't know why we want to offer you a job you don't have any idea about but we had a great time too! We worked together for 5 years, it was great!
:) was she checking in?
 

Jessie-J

Cyburbian
Messages
386
Points
12
SGB said:


If I had gotten that response from an interviewee, I'd assume any of the following:
a) arrogance
b) lies to avoid admitting mistakes
c) unable to recognize his/her errors on the job

What about d) has a sense of humor ?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
What I hate are the obviously canned questions that the interviewer took from some guide or textbook. Give me a break. If you can't take the effort (or don't have the ability) to put together relevant questions, I don't care to take the job.
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
Messages
1,296
Points
24
You know, this wasn't an interview question, but it is interview related. When I was first hired here, I had to go through two interviews. The second interview was much shorter than the first and I was asked if I could start that afternoon. It turned out that there had been two guys named Brian that had interviewed for my job and my boss couldn't remember which Brian was which, so he called us both back for a second interview. Thank goodness I wasn't the other Brian!
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
A question that undoubtley will be added in the future: :p
"How many hours a day do you spend in Cyburbia?" :D
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
SkeLeton said:
A question that undoubtley will be added in the future: :p
"How many hours a day do you spend in Cyburbia?" :D
I hope not. :)
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
As for canned questions, often I am TOLD what questions to ask. I try to sneak around that system by having second interviews on my on, outside the office.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
SkeLeton said:
A question that undoubtley will be added in the future: :p
"How many hours a day do you spend in Cyburbia?" :D
My resume lists "On the Top 25 Posters list on Cyburbia.org" as an accomplishment.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
At the interview for my current job, I was asked "How would you apply criminological theory to deal with an accident black spot?" (ie a place where there are a lot of car accidents). I said something like, if the problem was that people were driving too fast, based on Rational Choice Theory you could try to decrease speeds by increasing the perceived risk of being caught speeding by, for example, putting up signs indicating the presence of speed cameras.

They were 3 men with backgrounds in chemistry, property, and engineering, and they weren't quite sure what to ask someone with a social science background! My answer must have been okay, they offered me the job the same day.
 

smarty

Cyburbian
Messages
88
Points
4
Rational Choice Theory???

Here in the States, Rational Choice Theory rarely applies to Planning.

I really don't have an odd ball interview question.
 
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