by manuela on August 6, 2007

posted on boyce recruitment updates,

The most unusual questions asked at interview

As part of our series on interview technique, we asked our clients what was the most unusual (or in some cases entertaining!) answer that they had ever been given by a candidate. Whilst a lot of the responses were fairly entertaining they were all inappropriate for an interview and did not impress their interviewers.

INTERVIEWER: “What is your greatest weakness?”CANDIDATE: “Chocolate!” (Not appropriate for an interview!)

INTERVIEWER: “Why did you apply for this position?”
CANDIDATE: “I don’t know – I just saw it on the Internet and thought it looked ok…” (Not impressive – show lack of research and enthusiasm – big no no!)

“A girl was doing an aptitude test and asked for a glass of water. I left to get her one and returned and she had stopped doing the test and had drawn a picture of herself on the whiteboard in the room, with a speech bubble saying ‘I’m worried!’. Needless to say, she didn’t get the job!”

INTERVIEWER: “Why are you interested in this company?”
CANDIDATE: “Not really bothered about the company actually, just thought the job looked alright” (Unsurprisingly they didn’t get the job!)

INTERVIEWER: “What are your outside interests?”
CANDIDATE: “Collecting clocks…”

A candidate who had said she had strong language skills, and then when the interviewer asked her something in that language, did not even understand the question!

A candidate started telling them about the social problems (crime and violence) in her home country and started crying about this. Whilst this was obviously an upsetting subject, the interviewer was a bit baffled as to why the candidate brought it up…

INTERVIEWER: “Do you have any particular skills you could bring to the role?”
CANDIDATE: “I can do an Orville voice…” and then proceeded to sing in his Orville voice to his interviewers!!

INTERVIEWER: “Why do you want to work for us?”
CANDIDATE: Doesn’t speak, just shrugs!!!

INTERVIEWER: “So why do you want to work in this particular aspect of the business?”
CANDIDATE: “Actually, what is it that you do?”

INTERVIEWER: “Why market research?”
CANDIDATE: “Whilst I was backpacking around the Australian outback, I picked up a friend’s book on Marketing, read the chapter on Market Research and decided that was the career for me!”

Candidates who get very distracted from the purpose of the interview are very frustrating for interviewers. One guy who told them how he had lost 17 stone thanks to his gastric bypass. He even brought out before and after pictures! (impressive, but not all that relevant!)

We also asked clients what the best answer that they had ever been given by a candidate was, or alternatively if a candidate really stood out, then we asked them why. Some of the clients’ responses were industry-specific, however many of them were useful comments for all candidates. We’ll be looking at those answers next week