Unless you’ve been cruising between jobs with your feet up, it’s more than likely that you’ve ended up at a fair share of job interviews and been asked some downright strange questions. Not only are some of these disrespectful to the candidate, it shows that the organisation is sticking to a script that belongs to the old age of recruiting and will not allow a candidate’s best side to shine through.
We compiled our list of the worst questions we’ve been asked at job interviews:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Don’t get me wrong it’s great to be ambitious, but between jobs you are in a transitional period where you probably could not be more uncertain of what the future holds for you. A recruiter will want to hear that you’ll still be with the organisation yearning for internal recognition with a couple of promotions under your belt but the old days are long gone. According to research by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average worker stays at their job for roughly 4 1/2 years, with millennials born between 1977-1997 expecting to stay in their job for less than 3 years. Some things are just outside of your control and you cannot promise to commit 5 long years of your life over a coffee.
Why do you want the job?
The whole point of a job interview is for both parties to find out more information about each other and whether or not the candidate will be a suitable fit. While any decent candidate would have already have done their share of background research to help them prepare a company website can only tell you so much about an organisation. Ever heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”? In this situation, the candidate may not necessarily be certain that they want the job and came along to the interview to get more information from the recruiter and away from the traditional script that provides little value to the candidate.
Who else have you applied for positions with?
Not only can this leave you in an awkward position, but whatever negotiations you are in with other companies is strictly confidential. It might be a harmless question where the employer just wants to know whether you have been applying for jobs in like-minded organisations to try to see if you have a passion for the industry or they could be trying to gain an advantage when negotiating with you. If the recruiter is asking out of curiosity, then they should have no problem accepting your answer if you wish to keep that information private whereas if they try to force you into giving an answer, you’re better off elsewhere. A graduate may not even have a specific field in mind when applying for positions and could simply be applying for hundreds of jobs to increase their chances.
How much were you getting paid at your old job?
Straight to the point, it’s none of the recruiters business how much you have been earning in the past. It has no relevancy to whether or not you can fulfil the requirements of the potential job or whether you will be a good fit for the organisation. A Personal Assistant in based in Auckland could earn as much as 10% more than someone in the same position based in Christchurch proving that there is much more that goes into an employee’s pay than experience alone.
When you apply for the job you will already know approximately what the employer will be willing to offer for the role and if you didn’t feel it met your expectations based on experience, you would have most likely passed on it. Once again this can fall into the confidential category where the recruiter has no right to know unless you are comfortable with telling them.
An interview may be the candidate’s first experience with the organisation which makes it especially important for the staff in charge of hiring make a positive first impression during the interview stages. They will be judging you based on the type of questions you ask and where the dialogue leads to from there. If an interviewer is too naive to draw the line between professionalism and being nosy then it is probably for the best to turn around and walk out the door.