Recruitment | Executive Search

The 5 most awkward job interview questions

As a recruiter, it is always such a pleasure briefing a candidate before their big day with a client. At Initiate International we take this briefing very seriously, as it can make or break the job interview. Preparing candidates for their first job interview we cover a wide range of areas: What to expect, how to dress appropriately, potential questions that may be asked and how to dazzle the potential employer with good thought through answers.

Unfortunately, as much as I regard myself as a talent warrior, who doubles as a candidate whisperer aka Recruiter I cannot always know for sure what questions will be asked or how the candidate will respond but all I can do is prepare candidates as good as I can. In doing so I am trying to give the candidate some time getting comfortable with what they might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in their responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the candidate for the job. After every job interview we have a de-brief with our candidates. More often than not, candidates do admit they have been asked some rather awkward questions. Here are the 5 most awkward interview questions that we have encountered over the years.

Awkward job interview question 1: Are you single?

While we may all feel this question is rather personal especially considering it has absolutely nothing to do with the job at hand or ability to perform at it, candidates have encountered it more than once. The employer may be trying to ascertain who may influence your decision should they want to extend an offer of employment to you. Admittedly this question could be better phrased as “what/who influences your decision making?”

Awkward job interview question 2: Do you drink?

This job interview question is popular within dynamic and vibrant spaces where employers offer incentives when deadlines have been met. I always encourage candidates to be honest with their answers, but to point out that indulging takes place outside of working hours.

Awkward interview question 3: If you were an animal, which one would you be?

With this job interview question there is no right or wrong answer, however for a sales job if you liken yourself with an Opossum which is known for its ability to sleep for over 18 hours per day you may not be a front runner for this particular position.

Awkward interview question 4: Why should you be considered for this position?

Most may see this as an opportunity to explain their personal hardships making mention of financial situations and desperation to secure an job offer of that magnitude; It is also an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate why they feel they are the best suited candidate. Referencing past experiences and skills and matching them with the job specification will definitely make the potential employer realize you have done your homework and are serious about the job. Generic answers such as “I am hardworking and loyal” will not make you stand out.

Awkward interview question 5: Why are you looking to leave your current job?

While I always stress that candidates need to be honest and sincere with their answers during job interviews, this advise is not without reservations. Your future employer will not be impressed if your basis for the need for a move is purely financial or personal – for example feeling underpaid or not getting along with a superior may be interpreted the wrong way, like you might be a difficult employee. While your personality may not be for everyone, let’s not make this the reason why you left. Worse, it may even make the interviewer question your professionalism.

At Initiate International, we employ a team of specialist recruiters who are familiar with the most commonly asked job interview questions in their field. We are therefore in a good position to guide our candidates and prepare them for the big day.

If you have any funny or awkward interview questions that you would like to share with us, we would love to know.