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5 of the Absolute Worst Interview Questions

Here are 5 of the absolute worst interview questions. A list of the dreaded (and overdone) questions candidates get again and again in the hiring process.

We need some originality. We need some authenticity.

Are companies really getting good information from these trite questions? Are they really learning about the candidate? Who even knows.

worst interview questions

1. What’s your biggest weakness?

Can we retire this one already? What even is the “right” answer?

You know candidates can’t be real, so why even go through the charade?

Potential answer: My biggest weakness is I can’t stand authority and the way workplaces are hierarchically structured and how they meticulously protect traditional systems of patriarchy and white supremacy…

… For some reason I feel like that’s the exact WRONG answer (even though, it’s technically right). 

But candidates can’t say that because they need a paycheck and inadequate health insurance through their employer.

So candidates are left replying with overused items like: “I’m too punctual”  or “I’m too detail-oriented” (don’t use those – I feel those are wrong too). 

So what even is the “right” answer?

Trying to psychologically trick candidates makes this one of the worst interview questions.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I don’t know what day it is tomorrow, so this is a tough one. Do I have goals? Sure. Does it involve romanticizing this workplace culture and company? Not really….

What do you want from me here? 

Should I say I want to be CEO of this company? Something tells me that’s the wrong answer too. 

With the recent shifts in workplaces, it’s possible (or likely) I won’t even be here in 5 years because of mass layoffs. Or maybe companies will pay newer candidates more than loyal ones, so it makes sense to job hop. Who really knows.

Let’s cut to the chase. We know we have to say something about being excited about the skills and growth opportunity and moving to the next “corporate level” like a good corporate duckling who follows the corporate rules. 

So let’s just skip this one. Thanks. 

3. What are your salary expectations?

Shouldn’t YOU be telling ME the salary range?? 

Asking this question is just a cheap way of underpaying job seekers. Always has been, always will be. 

It’s unethical to not post or share the salary range. 

The fact that you’re not transparent about something so basic tells me your pay “policy” is discriminatory. 

That makes this question squarely land as one of the worst interview questions.

4. What do you know about the company?

What is this question? Not a damn thing because I can barely cut through all the buzzword bullshit on your website. 

Do me a favor and why don’t YOU tell ME about the company. What’s appealing about it and why would I even want to work there?

Who invented the interview rules where candidates woo companies? 

(The economy, public policy and a myriad of other factors is the answer – which have historically kept workers a little bit desperate.)

Companies should be wooing candidates or at the very least have it be a joint effort. 

Tell me about the company and why you thought I would be a good fit. 

If we make it a reciprocal question, then maybe it could come off the list of worst interview questions. But until then, it stays.

5. Do you have any questions for me?

It’s honestly a trick now. If a candidate doesn’t ask any questions, they fail the interview. 

They’re supposed to be “interesting and thoughtful questions”. 

Spare me. 

This just means we can never ask the real questions unless we’re brave enough not to get the job. 

For example: What % of women are in leadership? Senior leadership? What % of your workforce are people of color? In leadership? What’s your compensation philosophy? What is the makeup of those who get promoted? Do you conduct promotion audits? Pay audits? What’s the turnover rate?

Candidates lamely get to this by asking about “culture” and other items, but the depth of questions that candidates really want to know only get asked if the candidate 1) has a lot of leverage or 2) is very brave. 

This was originally a decent question and opened it up to the candidate.

Now it’s just another test embedded within the interview, which makes it appear on the list of worst interview questions.

What other interview questions are the absolute worst?

worst interview questions

If you enjoyed this post, check out Workplace & Hiring Norms that Need to Be Retired Like Yesterday & What Does & Doesn’t Work in the Work World: 10 Things.

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worst interview questions