Outrageous, offensive and (probably) illegal interview questions

by 28 Oct 2011

Hiring interviews aren’t always characterised by professional behaviour, according to the results of a study conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI) and Monster.

The results of surveying more than 1,000 HR managers and 3,000 jobseekers worldwide brought lots of laughs and raised eyebrows about the most inappropriate questions they’ve asked, and been asked, during a job interview.

The most inappropriate interview questions asked by hiring managers were:


  • Would you join a church to get a job?

  • Are you single?

  • Why aren’t you married yet?

The most offensive and outrageous questions asked were:


  • Would you be available from time to time to watch my children?

  • Are you willing to continue this interview over dinner and do you mind me bringing my daughter along?

  • Would you be willing to stay overnight with a client if they request it?

The most personal questions asked by hiring managers were:


  • Do you intend to have children?

  • Are you happy in your relationship?

  • Is that your natural hair colour?

The most bizarre questions asked by hiring managers were:


  • Who is your favourite Beatle and why?

  • What is your perception of the painting in our lobby?

The comments that most shocked hiring managers were:


  • I can’t work with women. (The interviewer was a woman)

  • I’ve already accepted another position, but I thought I may as well turn up to this interview just in case this was a better paying job

  • Please excuse some of my replies as I am still a little hung-over from the weekend. (It was a Wednesday).

  • I had a dream and a fairy told me I should work for your company.

  • I am applying to this job because I am about to be fired.


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  • by Bernie Althofer 28/10/2011 4:26:23 PM

    Whilst we may have a laugh about the questions and the responses, there are certain risks that exist in conducting interviews. For example, a presenter at a Conference was discussing interview risks. She indicated that her legal firm was asked to defend a claim of unlawful discrimination. She asked to see the paperwork and saw that a panel member had written "blond hair, big t..s". The polite legal response provide regarding defensibility was "you don't have a leg to stand on". So whilst some questions may at the time be humourous or responses written as reminders about a particular applicant, there can be legal implications that end up being indefensible.

  • by Bernie Althofer 2/11/2011 4:26:52 PM

    I saw this one in a magazine today. An applicant for an accounting position said "I am a people person, I am no good with numbers".