The BBC has a fascinating article today, titled “Just the job? When interviews go wrong!” featuring some of the worst interviewing experiences that people have had.
These include Katherine Irvine, recruitment consultant:
She was then asked: “What do you think? Do you think you’re too old?”
Kevin Helton, ex army:
The interviewer asked, ‘You used to be in the Army, how many people have you killed?’
The interviewer brought out a large straw hat.
“Put this hat over your face and tell me why I should give you a job,” he said.
“Why do you want me to do that?” she said.
He replied: “In my experience, pretty girls like you rely too much on their looks.”
The BBC article lists the questions that you should never be asked during an interview and offers suggestions on how to push back if they crop up.
Well worth a read!
Interview. In the UK it’s standard to have long notice periods of generally at least one month.
Interviewer: Right so we only have a couple more questions at this point. How long is your notice period at your current job?
Me: Two months.
Interviewer: Two months?! Any chance you can get that down to one month?
Me: I can always ask at the point I hand in my notice, however obviously I can’t give any guarantees as it’s clearly written in my contract. What’s the notice period here, out of interest?
Interviewer: …. two months.
Interviewer: So that’s us, do you have any questions for me?
Me: I’m very interested in the diversity of the team. Do you have any female developers?
Interviewer: No. We…had one but she… ahem… left. Quite suddenly actually… for… er… health reasons.
Note: In the UK as in many states in the US, interviewers are advised to stay away from asking any questions that may lead to an accusation of discriminatory hiring practices. This means no asking about sexual orientation, religion or politics. It is also frowned upon to ask a female about whether she has or wants kids.
Example 1 – The direct one.
Interviewer: Soooo, you have kids?
Example 2 – The pryer.
Interviewer: Do you live locally?
Me: Yes, about 20 minutes away.
Interviewer: You in one of these houseshares?
Interviewer: Do you have a family?
Me: Er… I live with my partner.
Interviewer: No kids?
Example 3 – The sneaky one.
Interviewer: This job sometimes requires on call work.
Me: That’s fine.
Interviewer: It can be really unsociable hours.
Me: That’s fine.
Interviewer: It can be really hard on a family.
Interviewer: Especially if you have young children.
Me: I can imagine.
Interviewer: Or are likely to have in the near future.
Example 4 – Bold faced cheek
Note: This was not a tech job and I was 15 years old.
Interviewer: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Not sure it matters but yes.
Interviewer: Are you pregnant?
Interviewer: We have to know. Health and Safety.