The Worst Interview Questions Employers Ask

How to Respond When Job Interviewer Behave Badly

Anxious woman during business interview
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Sometimes, it’s a case of an interviewer not knowing what they shouldn’t be asking during a job interview. In others, the employer knows better but asks inappropriate interview questions or says something they shouldn’t say to try to get more information from an applicant.

In either case, it can be awkward when you're asked a question the hiring manager shouldn't be asking. Whether it's not relevant to the job or your qualifications, or it's personal, it can put you in a challenging situation.

It can also help you decide that this isn't the job for you or the company you want to work for.

I was once asked if my husband minded me traveling. That obviously didn’t have anything to do with my ability to do the job. I’ve also been asked how old I was. That one can work both ways – you can be considered too old or too young and not mature enough to do the job. Here’s a list of age-related interview questions that are off-limits.

The Worst Interview Questions

What else shouldn’t employers mention? Here are some of the worst things that interviewers have (really) asked or said during a job interview, despite the fact they should never have said them.

  • Are you dating someone?
  • How old are you?
  • You are young enough to be my daughter.
  • Do you have any problems going out drinking with the office on Fridays?
  • You are so cute.
  • Are you a parent?
  • How would your husband feel about you relocating for work?
  • Are you very religious?
  • I want a receptionist who looks like a Playboy bunny.
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you going back to your country anytime soon?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have small children?
  • Do you have childcare arrangements lined up?
  • Would you mind picking up my kids from school?
  • Who is going to look after your kids?
  • I need someone who will deal with everyone when they start crying.
  • You’ll have plenty of time to advance in your career.
  • Tell me what you think about the individuals you just met with?
  • Are you married?
  • How is your marriage working?  The stress of the long hours required might not be good for your marriage.
  • Where do you live?
  • We’d love to hire you, but we want someone who will be here long term.
  • If you have kids how will you do this job when your husband is gone (person asked had a Military spouse)?
  • You’re military (another Military spouse) so why should we hire you?
  • I need someone who will stay to shut off the lights every night.
  • Are you thinking about retiring?
  • How do you feel about working for a younger manager?
  • What did you live on while you were out of work?
  • Why have you been unemployed so long?

What Employers Shouldn’t Do During an Interview

There are also some things the interviewer shouldn’t do. Here are a few examples of inappropriate interview behavior that job seekers have shared.

  • Give the applicant a big hug.
  • Pat the interviewee on the head when you’re offering her the job.
  • Keep the interview going until there is nobody else left in the office.
  • Interview outside for an office on a 90 degree August day.
  • Ask the candidate if he would like to go for a drink after the interview.

How to Respond to Inappropriate Interview Questions

What can you do if you’re asked questions that an employer shouldn’t ask? Questions about your age, ancestry, citizenship, credit rating, criminal record, disabilities, family status, gender, military status, or religion should only be asked if they are directly related to the job. Here’s how to handle inappropriate interview questions.

It’s Your Turn: What Applicants Shouldn’t Say or Do

Just like with an interviewer, there are some things you shouldn’t do just a job interview. Here are the top 15 things you shouldn’t do when you’re interviewing.

There are also some things that you shouldn’t share with the interviewer if you want a chance at moving forward during the interview process.

  Here are 25 things you should never say at a job interview.

What Else You Need to Know: Interview Questions Employers Should Not Ask | 15 Tips to Make the Best Impression at an Interview

Read More: Most Asked Job Interview Questions and Answers | Top 10 Job Interview Tips | Behavioral Interviews | What to Wear to a Job Interview