The Worst Interview Questions

The Worst Interview Questions


Personally, I hate being interviewed. The whole thing seems fake, but the worst part is being asked those weird and awkward questions. Unfortunately, to get past each interview round, you need to know how to handle even the most bizarre questions. Whether you love or hate interviewing, here are a few examples to prepare you for the worst.

Let's start with those classic questions where you are asked to estimate things without all the facts:

Pretend this room was filled with tennis balls. How many balls would fit in the room?

How many ships dock in Manhattan each day?

With these types of questions, employers are generally trying to understand how you would go about solving a problem. The answer is usually not as important as the process that you take to solve it. Think about what you need to know to make your guesstimate, like the size of the room or the number of docks in Manhattan. Then walk the interviewer through how you came up with your answer.

Here is a question that I was asked several years ago, that has stuck with me:

Let’s say we go on a team camping trip. Once we arrive, everyone is responsible for a task. What would be your role on the trip?

This one caught me off guard. Looking back, the interviewer was likely trying to learn whether I was a team player. He also was probably trying to understand my work style. How did I answer? I told him that I was happy to do whatever was needed to make the trip a success. I was called back for a second round.

If you could change something about your current manager (or employer), what would you change?

The key thing here is to not trash your company or boss. Even if you are 100% justified in hating your manager, you have to be diplomatic in your answer. Respond with changes that would help the team, like being more organized. Don't mention major personality flaws, like anger or a lack of integrity.

Finally, there are questions that target your weaknesses. I admit, there is one question I like to ask in interviews that can be a deal-breaker:

Tell me about a time when you failed.

While asking this doesn’t help me find the best candidate, it is a good weed out question. I get to learn if candidates are comfortable owning up to errors and whether they will take the initiative to make it right. It also let’s me know if they will blame others when things go wrong. I have passed over a few candidates, who told me about a time when someone else failed.

The best thing you can do to get better with answering the worst interview questions is practice. If you are looking for more interview advice, check out these other posts:

Answering Questions about Yourself

Interviewing: It's all about attitude

Haven’t finished your degree? Apply anyway

Haven’t finished your degree? Apply anyway

Should you trust that career test?

Should you trust that career test?