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!
Recruiter: Hi, so I saw your CV on [well known recruitment site] and it looked like a perfect match for a role that [company] is trying to fill so I sent it over to their hiring team and…
Me: Wait, what? You already sent over my CV?
Recruiter: Yes and the feedback is really positive and…
Me: Hold up. You can’t just give my CV out to people without my permission! What if I’d already applied to [company] or I had reasons I’d never want to work for [company]?!
Recruiter: Sorry, we like to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Me: That’s incredibly inappropriate. Please rescind my application from [company] at once.
Recruiter: But they really want to interview you!
Me: I have no interest in applying for them.
Recruiter: They’re a really good company to work for.
Me: They’re an hour and 45 minutes commute away.
Recruiter: Oh. Yeah, sorry.
I just know that the recruiter will have misinformed the employer as to my reasons for rescinding my candidacy.
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.
Email title: New contract in [Location]
Recruiter: I have this great contract that looks like it might be right up your street. Check out the attached specs!
*attaches the resumes of four male civil engineers.
Me: Hi I think you’ve attached the wrong files. These are other people’s CVs.
Recruiter: So what do you think of the contract?
Me: …is this a hitman contract?
Note: Joking aside I’m actually quite concerned at the company’s handling of CV files. I now possess the names, addresses and contact details for four complete strangers. The recruiter never got back to me.