It is pretty common to emerge from a job interview feeling confused, overwhelmed and a little unnerved. If you have never felt embarrassed or worried after an interview, then you are very much part of the minority. Some interviews go great, but alas you don’t get the job, others you feel far less sure about but you actually get the job. Whether you get the job or not, the worst kind of interview is when you are placed in an awkward situation where the interviewer asks you embarrassing questions.
In many countries across the globe, especially Western Europe and America, there are countless laws in place forbidding recruiters from asking embarrassing questions. However in other locations, the asking of such questions is not only permissible, but something that happens on an all-too-common basis.
Below are some of the most embarrassing job interview questions ever asked and the kind of response you should provide in order to turn the tables on the interviewer:
Are you within the required age limits for the job?
Some companies ask this question to avoid hiring older workers, but as a job seeker you are perfectly within your rights to seek employment right up to the age of retirement. Asking this question is a big no no for recruiters; however it is also a hard question for candidates to ignore. If you refuse to answer it, many recruiters may feel that you are too old to hold the position, no matter what your qualifications are. It is easy for candidates to feel pressured to answer this question. There is a possibility to flip this question around on the interviewer though. Imply they want to know your age for solicitation purposes. Give them a cheeky smile and a wink and say that they have to guess your age, or that “you don’t tell it to just anyone…”. It could be fun and would embarrass the interviewer quite a bit, especially the younger ones.
If you do decide to answer the question then saying “I prefer not to answer this question” can almost be as bad as saying I am too old. It is usually best to dodge the question by giving a well rounded answer such as: “I am well within the required age range and plan to remain in employment for at least the next decade.” In this case, although you are not directly answering the question, you are providing a general response.
Are you pregnant or planning to have a family?
Yes it does actually get asked even in Western Europe as people are worried about hiring women who are going to take maternity leave. If you are asked a question about having children or getting pregnant, again, do not feel obliged to provide a response. You can be asked questions about whether you are able to meet work schedules or travel for the position, but your employer has no right to question you on your intentions to become pregnant. In fact if you are being interviewed by a man, he has got to be quite brave to ask you, as hell hath no fury like a pissed off woman if you ask her if she indeed is pregnant.
If you choose to answer such a question, your first response should be “are you saying I’m fat?”. This may actually stop the question right there and then especially if the recruiter is a man. You can also provide a graceful response that acknowledges how you will be fully able to perform all of the duties that the position entails. If the interviewer probes further, simply state that at present, such matters are not a cause for concern to the recruiter. However, for the pregnancy question I would try and take it as a personal slight in order to avoid having to answer the question altogether. You could also assume that they are trying to hit on you, which could be pretty funny. “I’m sorry, but are you asking if I am single?” I always advise going for the jugular and flipping questions around on these obnoxious recruiters if possible.
What is your sexual orientation?
In many countries, asking someone about their sexual orientation is an illegal question that can result in a long-winded and costly lawsuit. Therefore you should avoid answering if possible as this question bears no relevance to the job that you are applying for. If you do choose to answer the question you can actually embarrass the interviewer.
Act insulted that the interviewer is trying to hit on you, whether male or female. That is the beauty of this question. You can flip the question around on them and say ‘I accept your lifestyle choices but sorry, I don’t swing that way!’ You may get an embarrassed looking interviewer after that question if you flip it around on them. I mean how can they recover from that? They will have to say “no no I wasn’t hitting on you!”. They are essentially apologising at this stage. You can of course answer politely and say that there is no reason to answer such a question. But this could mean that you are hiding the fact that you do have something to say but are simply too worried to say it. Go for the jugular no matter what orientation you are and embarrass the interviewer. I mean they are already being an ****** for asking the question in the first place.
The best advice that I can give when faced with embarrassing questions is to turn the tables on the interviewer and try and embarrass them. Don’t let yourself be a victim. If the job interview isn’t going so well and you realise that you don’t actually want the job, then get your own back on the interviewer and make them sweat beneath the collar. If you do however still want the job, be tactical in how you respond and be ready with neutral responses that cannot possible affect your chances of securing the job.