INTERVIEWS / JUL. 16, 2013
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How to Respond to the Most Offensive Interview Questions

In the interview it is not uncommon to be asked the occasional question that makes you feel apprehensive or uncomfortable. Nevertheless there are many examples of interviews where the candidate was asked an extremely offensive and inappropriate question that made them feel distressed, offended and upset.

In many countries across the globe there are no protection laws against asking questions of a personal or offensive nature, and it is therefore essential that you have in mind how you intend to respond should the situation arise.

Typically offensive questions asked

According to reports, both men and women are frequently sexually propositioned during interviews. In a recent survey carried out by FindEmployment titled: The Employers Market Survey, one of the biggest complaints across the globe was being asked sexually orientated questions. These include:

·         How many sexual partners have you had?
·         Are you sexually active?
·         Are you a virgin?
·         At what age did you lose your virginity?
·         Are you willing to flaunt your body for better customer gains?

Dealing with offensive questions

In today’s increasingly difficult employment sector employers are getting away with asking offensive and inappropriate questions. As the quest to find a job becomes ever more competitive amongst job seekers, many are willing to go the extra mile in an effort to land a job.  

So how do you respond to questions of this nature while retaining your chances of finding employment?

In some instances there is nothing stopping you from terminating the interview and leaving the room. No interviewer has the right to ask you questions of a sexual nature and you are not at liberty to respond.

However if you choose to remain in the interview you could simply ask: ‘What relevance does this question have to the job role?’ if the recruiter provides a suitable reason for asking such a question, then you may respond accordingly. However if they are asking you without a qualified reason, explain that you prefer not to answer at this time.

Remain poised and unemotional. Remember you are attending a job interview in which you are required to be professional at all times. Be as diplomatic as possible and avoid arguing with the recruiter or becoming defensive. 

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