In a perfect world, all the interviewers will be good at doing their job and use only suitable questions in an interview. However, we do not live in a perfect world.
It is not uncommon (especially in small and middle sized companies) to leave the room after the interview and say: “This person was not qualified for his job. This interview made no sense”. Sometimes it may be reality and sometimes it may be just your opinion. Anyway, there are definitely some questions that can be called bad, without any prejudice. Let’s have a look at three main groups of these questions.
Illegal interview questions
Any question that touches you personally or question your age, marital status, race, etc. is illegal according to US laws. I am speaking about the following bad interview questions:
- Do you have any children?
- Do you plan to have any children?
- Where does your father come from?
- Where were you born?
- Are you gay?
These are just some of the illegal interview questions that are definitely bad and should not appear in any serious job interview.
Unrelated interview questions
Second group represents that questions that are totally unrelated to the job. Let’s imagine a job interview for a position of a secretary. Some bad interview questions for this position include, but are not limited to the following:
- Have you ever managed a group of people?
- Tell me something about process management?
- What does an integer mean in Java?
- If I gave you 1 million US Dollars right now, what stocks will you buy?
As you can see, such questions has nothing to do with a position of a secretary. Asking it will not help the employer anyway to assess the suitability of an applicant for a secretary job. It’s a shame of HR that it’s not uncommon to get few of these questions, even in big companies.
Questions that are too personal
Third group of bad interview questions represent questions that are just too personal. These questions are not illegal by law, but an interviewer can easily touch the job applicant with it strongly, what could lead to unpleasant situations and emotions in an interview. Let’s have a look at couple of these right now.
- Imagine that there is a need to work overtime, but your child is ill at home. Would you stay at work in this situation?
- Are you open to relationships in the workplace?
- Do you plan to study at the college in the future, or is this basic education satisfactory for you?
- Do you have any real experience for this job?
Bad questions from this third group occur mostly when the interviewer is in a bad mood or simply it goes about a highly unprofessional interviewer.
If you are an employer, you should now have a look at the list of your interview questions and think carefully if any of these do not belong to bad interview questions. If it is so, we suggest you to reformulate it to an acceptable level, or to simply delete it from your list.
If you are a job seeker, you should consider such questions in an interview as a signal of unprofessional employer and in most cases someone it is not worth to work for. The best thing you can do is to stay calm, answer the questions (you can even make up some answers), leave the company and never come back again. You will for sure find many employers for who it is worth to work.