Nightmare Interviews: What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

4 minute read

Interviews. The word alone is enough to make your heart stop beating and your blood run cold. Well maybe they’re not quite that bad, but they can still be pretty scary!

Many Recruiters fall into the trap of trying to make candidates jump through hoops, asking them trick questions and attempting to trip them up. Wouldn’t it be far better if they were to simply ask relevant questions related to the job, and create the right conditions that would allow a candidate to perform to the best of their ability? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Interviews are pretty much a universal experience, and almost everyone has experienced some bad and some good. If it’s gone well, great! If not, well that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. The style of an interview can give you an insight as to whether this is really a company you want to work for. The whole recruitment process is your first impression of the company, so see it as a chance to work out whether it’s really the right fit for you.

We asked on social media for some of the worst questions you encountered in an interview, and judging by some of them, these companies were definitely not the right fit!


The Pigeon Question

Would you have seen this one coming? Nope, us neither. Now unless this company was hiring for the endangered role of pigeon salesperson, we aren’t completely sure how this question was relevant…


Conceptually annoying?

Oh, concept questions. They’re a favourite amongst recruiters, so it’s advisable to spend some time practising these (no matter how much you may dislike them). The trouble is when so much of the interview is taken up by ‘describe a time when…’ or ‘what would you do if…’, it becomes hard to gain a clear sense of what your potential future role will actually entail. But like them or not, you can probably expect to get asked a couple of these in most interviews so preparation is key.



Crossing personal lines

‘I have to admit it might not be the scariest but it’s quite personal to me. I was medically discharged from the military due to a lower limb injury (which is well on its way to recovery) and depression. All the interviewers to date have asked me why I left the military. I’m not one for lying so I tell them my mental health issues and my injury. It’s a very personal story for myself which does leave me feeling low as I am still affected. I am in a better place but do struggle. The issue I find is the interviewers seem to then focus on this and push me to see how I’ll deal with stressful situations etc. Maybe it’s me but it feels as if they’ve judged on that point alone and do not wish to have me in their company. Maybe other people have had the same issue in interviews and have better methods to communicate that we are still highly capable of working very hard. I just don’t want my injury and depression to define who I am.’  – Carl Warner, on LinkedIn.

Interviews are all about you, and your career history is up for inspection. This can sometimes mean that Recruiters ask a question which you may feel forces you to divulge information that is more personal than you would like to share with strangers. Or maybe you are open to sharing it, but you are aware it may leave open you to the possibility of being judged unfairly. Either way, how much you divulge is up to you, but never feel pressured to share more than you’re comfortable with. And any company that has pre-conceived notions about your capability to do the job due to health issues or otherwise probably isn’t one that you would want to work at anyway; there will be others that recognise your worth.

The curveball

Now and then there will be a question that completely throws you off. Recruiters aren’t necessarily always expecting you to know all the answers every single time, so if you have no idea then it’s ok to say. Particularly when it is as random as the one above!

If there’s been a time when you’ve been stumped by a question, don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter for a moment to think about it. Alternatively, if you think of a great point after you’ve moved on to the next question, feel free to go back and expand on it, it’s better than not getting it in at all and your recruiter will love to see that you are carefully considering what you’re being asked.



How to protect yourself from a nightmare interview scenario

Sometimes though, no matter how much you prepare, there will be times when interviews just won’t go your way. And that’s ok. The important thing is that you learn from them, and don’t let those curveball questions throw you off next time!

Have you ever had any nightmare interview questions? Share them with us below. Still searching for your next amazing career? Take a look at the jobs available in the charity sector.

Georgina D'Souza

Digital Marketing Executive at CharityJob. Lover of cat-related memes.

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