Snagajob job seekers share ‘weirdest questions’ asked

At a job interview, you expect to be asked about previous experience and skills. But at interviews for hourly jobs, it’s best to anticipate curveballs, says an informal poll of Snagajob job seekers.

Snagajob, America’s largest hourly employment marketplace for job seekers and employers, recently asked its users via an online survey, “What is the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked on a job interview?” Among their responses:

– “If you were a breakfast cereal, what would you be and why?”
– “How would you explain what a chair is to an alien?”
– “If you could be a plant, what plant would you be?”
– “If you had to make a shoe with anything in this room, how would you make it?”
– “How would you explain Facebook to your grandma?”
– “Do you think there is any hope for mankind?”
– “If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?”

“As bizarre as they may seem, the ‘what would you be’ questions do have a purpose,” says Jason Hamilton, vice president of marketing for Snagajob. “Employers want to know if you can think fast on your feet to handle unexpected customer interactions. Which plant or breakfast cereal doesn’t matter as much as your reason why you’ve selected something.”

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that some interviews go off track and include inappropriate – sometimes illegal – questions that tread into personal areas. Snagajob job seekers have been faced with such questions as:

– “Are you single?”
– “Can you babysit my children after my shift?”
– “Do you plan on getting pregnant soon?”
– “Do you go to church?”

“While the vast majority of employers are very responsible about training their managers to conduct aboveboard interviews, inappropriateness happens,” Hamilton said. “A job seeker’s best defense is to anticipate a personal question and know how to handle it. Often, we would advise job seekers to politely skirt the question and re-direct the interview. A response could be: ‘I’m not sure how that pertains to my ability to do a good job for this company. I’m happy to talk about my skill set and previous experience if you’d like to ask me more about that.’”

The online, write-in poll was conducted at between May 30 and June 18, 2013.