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Answers For Unusual And Strange Job Interview Questions

Updated on June 2, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment & Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

A Job Interview May Become An Unusual Country

Frustration And Urgency In Job Search

The original Hub Question addressed by this Hub was placed via the Hub Pages Q & A feature and asked

  1. Why jobs applications contain "stupid" questions or why employment interviewers ask "stupid" questions and
  2. How employers are justified in doing so when the jobs offered pay only $8.00 per hour.

I must say that a sincere job seeker with a solid work ethic does not usually belittle the pay offered by jobs (s)he does not want, will apply for jobs at a higher rate of pay for which (s)he is qualified, and will not consider legal job application or interview questions to be stupid.

Got Answers?

The unusual can be interesting.
The unusual can be interesting. | Source

Help For Answering Questions

On a job application, you can expect to be asked to usually provide: accurate contact information, a readable and understandable work history with dates and contact information, your education, your special skills, the job title to which you are applying, and sometimes a list of references with contact information. Make yourself a Master Application with all of your information on it and carry it with you; use it as a reference when you complete applications for emplyers. it is not wise, however, to provide your Social Security Number to an employer before you are hired, on the initial application. Interview questions will be discussed below.

During a recession and during a tight job market (i.e., high unemployment rate either nationally, locally, or both), employers have the advantage of the ability to scrutinize job candidates more minutely and of being more choosy in their employee picks. As you may know, this is termed "an employer's market."

When economies are reversed and the lower unemployment rates indicate a greater number of jobs going vacant for lack of appropriate workers, this can be varied as "A job seeker's market." The two markets seem to cycle and the cycles often coincide roughly with the changes in political parties of each successive US President and Legislature after elections are completed.

In the employer's market, potential bosses use stronger means of weeding out job candidates for the 100s and 1000s of applications or resumes received for a single vacancy. These methods can include more difficult or confusing questions in job interviews.

Sense Of Entitlement Not Appreciated

Entitlement Is Out Of Place

Frustration and dwindling personal resources in a tight job market can lead to not only everyday stress on an increasing curve. but also bad health and an inability to perform well in job interviews.

Singles without family or friends to approach for tangible help and psychological support can benefit from accessing the county and city social services networks - or the WIA employment offices - for assistance of many kinds. This includes job search help, training where available and candidates are eligible, support services such as child care and food, and several others.

In the employer's market, potential bosses use stronger means of weeding out job candidates from the 100s and 1000s of applications or resumes received for a single vacancy. These methods can include a list of the more difficult or confusing questions in job interviews. Employers have the right to ask questions that tap into how job candidates solve problems, what comprises their ethics, how they handle change, and various aspects of life at work. The rate of pay offered has nothing to do with this.

In other words, "lower pay" does not mean "easy questions" or "fewer questions."

Employers have the right to choose the best person for each job, no matter what the job is or what it pays (the best candidate is one that fills out the application completely and interviews well).

Income usually requires work.
Income usually requires work. | Source

Pay Rates and Worker Effort

As for pay rates, $8.00/hour is above federal minimum wage.

A high school student just graduated from senior year, even with straight A's or a 4.0 or 5.0 GPA will not likely receive higher pay than minimum wage, unless (s)he worked in an internship during the high school years and was hired by the company after graduation.

Some parents or other relatives can sometimes arrange for higher-paying jobs for some high school graduates right out of school, but this is not the norm. In addition, high school graduates entering a family business may or may not receive higher pay than minimum wage, and bloodline is not a guarantee.

Any job, even the $8.00/hour job, is one to be approached professionally in the interview and in daily work. A worker should do his or her best in any job, rather than to work "hard" only in a high paying job.

If you have ever "worked" in a mismanaged summer employment program through a company that met grant-funded quotas by placing youth into jobs that entailed no duties, then you were mishandled and done a supreme injustice. Real life does not operate in that manner.


Job Seeker Support and Resources

In economically depressed areas of the USA, where large companies have closed and the out-of-work are becoming desperate, job seekers can become negative about interviewing and working ("Why even try?"). Support groups set up among these individuals can help, if they exist. If no groups exist, they can be started.

Another option is the Job Club, in which jobs seekers meet once a week and share job leads as well as experiences. These are sponsored by some county employment offices, some mental health associations, some private companies, and even some churches and other faith-based groups.

A job club is a place for sharing new business openings and job openings that members have seen, along with work related presentations.
A job club is a place for sharing new business openings and job openings that members have seen, along with work related presentations. | Source

Some people must move to a new city in order to accept employment. You might need to consider that option. Need help? -- The Salvation Army has a history of supplying free bus tickets to other cities for those that have a job opportunity.

Overshadowing all of this is the fact that no one is entitled to be awarded a high-paying job without working to secure it and then working hard in it. Employment agencies and government programs don't "get you a job", either. They make connections, but you must succeed in the interview and then prove yourself in the job.

You must be willing to do your best at the bottom and work your way up -- And part of this is following directions in completing job applications correctly and being able to survive job interviews.

Hub Pages offer a wealth of information about these topics and are easy to search.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS

Non-Stupid Comments

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    • GoingOnline profile image


      10 years ago

      I've been asked for a personal recommendation from a friend. Oks, first of all, what is that trying to accomplish? To prove that I have at least 1 friend willing to say nice things about me? Because I am sure nobody just goes and badmouths a friend when acting as a referral (Or you just choose the wrong friend to ask).

    • dianacharles profile image


      10 years ago from India

      a very interesting hub...very informative. thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      notorious_HAI - Thanks for another professional's side of the desk. All this information helps very much.

      jakyas - Thanks! Always looking for good titles, btw.

    • jakyas profile image


      12 years ago from India

      cool. The content is better then the heading. Loved it.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Good hub Patty, informative and thorough.

      Eaglekiwi, a lot of the questions asked such as about your jobs in the last 10 years are screening questions. They might be looking for someone with job stability and if you've had 20 jobs in the last 10 years, you might not be the candidate they are looking for. I do understand how frustrating interviews and interviewers can be having been on both sides of the table. However, be patient and answer the questions that you perceive as silly. If you cooperate, you'll learn what answers interviewers want and what they are looking for. By the way, I've had clients who contact every single employer on a candidate's resume to validate their claims. These are large multinational organisations. Never assume anything or anyone is stupid because it will come out in your attitude at the interview. Good luck with your search.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Bill L - Good points, all of them. Scant room on an app makes no sense at all and I don't think your work history is very unusual at all. I'd like to know the same info about companies that you list.

    • profile image

      Bill L 

      12 years ago

      One thing that drives me insane about applications is they demand a complete work history and then only have 3-5 spaces to provide it. In the last 10 years I have had at least 7 jobs (incl. volunteer), 2 of them the same employer at different times and one of them where I still officially work there but its an on call basis. Is my work history so unusual?

      Why doesn't the employer fill out an application for my labor? I'd like to know the tax ID #, the names and contact info of the last 5 people who had the job, why they left, if the company has ever been convicted of violating the law, etc.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks, Anthony! - I need to write another as well, because I have been interviewing workers for several days and have discovered other events and points of view, including cultural.

    • Anthony Hayes profile image

      Anthony Hayes 

      12 years ago from Lafayette, LA

      Well written patty, great links on the side too!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That's right - no bailout for those working 2 fulltime minimum wage jobs and others in similar positions. It's difficult.

    • gpetrou85 profile image


      12 years ago from greece

      very nice,good hub.

    • Eaglekiwi profile image


      12 years ago from -Oceania


      thankyou for your objective comments and I sighed with relief knowing I was not the only one to notice the invasive and often un necessary repetitive questions.

      It is not isolated either ,its become nonsense.

      My point was never about money ,although to be honest who doesnt want to paid what they are worth?

      The sad part is many dont have the luxury of turning down employment and employers know this ( buyers market) they need to feed their familes and pay the rent next week or now!

      There is no bail out for thousands of average hard working people.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      12 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      There are more and more employers these days requiring prospective employees to get a drug test before they are willikg to even considering employing them. Must be a lot of employers out there getting hit with some kind of forfieture drug laws I'm sure!

      We can all thank former president clinton for that!

      I can't blame employers for covering their ass though!

      They could lose their business otherwise ! Sad state of affairs though!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for your experiences, pgrundy! You spent a heck of a lot of time in the application and interview process for a route merchandiser position.  It's one of the longer job-seeking trials I've heard about and I would not have had that amount of patience, I must admit.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wow, I can see both sides of this. I think part of the problem is that so many people are out of work that many people are in the position of applying for jobs they don't really want or for which they are overqualified. I agree with what Patty has to say here, and yet I also do think that the application process has gotten quite invasive at the entry level with many corporations.

      For instance, just after Christmas I applied for, and was offered, a route merchandising position for a vendor that supplied big box stores with gift cards and other small items. I had several interviews, a criminal background check and credit check, and a drug test which took an hour of my time waiting in a physician's lobby. I also had to take a number of online tests and fill out and fax about 20 pages of legal forms and releases.

      The job paid $10 an hour and required the use of my vehicle, copies of my insurance, and amounted to 12-15 hours per week. I was offered the job, and decided not to accept. A big part of my decision was realizing I could make $120-$150 per week writing at home, but another part of my decision was based on getting to know the culture of the corporation during the interview process. I knew I'd be a bad 'fit' so I declined, even though the process was lengthy.

      Now one way to put this is, "God, what a lousy wage and why do they need to know so much about me?" Certainly I thought that at times, but I didn't say it to THEM.

      So I can kind of see both sides. But I think it still pays to interview. You never know what you will find and you can't know if you don't try. The job application process is as much about the applicant learning about the employer as vice versa. In my view, you're kind of scoping EACH OTHER out. Right now, pickings are slim, so it isn't easy to get any job. I've been through recessions in which I had to leave qualifications OFF the app to get the job.

      You do what you gotta do, you know? Great article Patty!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Many personal questions are illegal to ask in job interviews in America and should not be answered, except to state that the info will be gladly provided after hire. These ?s truly have nothing to do with job performance. I also think that some of the "weird questions" we hear these days can dig out personal information we don't intend to supply. This is so frustrating to many people, who become fed up and then give up on finding a job.

      Thanks for your comment & question, someonewhoknows.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      12 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Some people feel it's unreasonable for an employer to expect them to ask personal questions ,that they feel has nothing to do with how well they will be able to do their job.I Agree,if the questions don't have any relevence ,but that's a subjective obsevation,rather than a objective one!What do you think?

    • Lgali profile image


      12 years ago

      Very nice hub, informative and to the point. Thnaks for the side links

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      To every commenter so far - Thanks for all your opinons, views, and comments. I wish everyone good job hunting that needs postive thoughts right now.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Now, the "employer emails" request is a stretch -- You can insert: Info@ or Webmaster@ or HumanResources@ whatever web domain the company has; if it has no website, put "None." I think that is easy to do. However, this could be a "weed-out" to determine Internet knowledge.  Key: Many companies route "HR@, Info@, and many others" to the Webmaster automatically.

      10 yrs of work history is reasonable; I've hired no one without that listing - not even do I accept volunteers without it - unless it is a recent high school graduate. Then I want principal's contact info, teacher's contacts, volunteer contacts (our youth must to volunteer hrs to graduate here).  I get references from every employer listed, unless they are out of business, and then I know how to look them up in state records and I contact them or their neighbors or...I simply find them.

      Out of the country and not working those years? Write "Country Name, i.e. Botswana or whatever it is" for employer, fill in the dates, and list the phone number and email (look it up) of the American Embassy there. If you worked there, then cough up the employment info. Either way, you have the entry filled out.  

      I never give my Social Security # on an job application -- I will live in a cardboard box first.  

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      12 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very good piece. And perfect timing with so many interviewing right now.

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Al Hawkes 

      12 years ago from Cornwall

      Very sound advice, there are so many out there that feel they are 'owed' employment with fantastic pay. They'll learn.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 

      12 years ago from Philippines

      Excellent piece of advice, thanks.

    • RVDaniels profile image


      12 years ago from Athens, GA

      Very nice hub, informative and to the point. Thanks!

    • Eaglekiwi profile image


      12 years ago from -Oceania

      must say that a sincere job seeker with a solid work ethic does not usually belittle the pay offered by jobs

      I think you misunderstood my question

      To answer job applications ( many) I still hold the view that someone is being paid well above minimal wage ( which varies from state to state and country to country) to create them and some of them are plain stupid!

      List your work history from last 10 yrs?

      Ok , whew ya survived that , no wait 4 of those years were out of the country except theres no option for that so its

      sorry you cannot proceed.............stupidity

      but if you do find another that yes ...this programmer has smarts and placed the option "outside of country"

      glimmer of hope rises............until

      email of previous employers.....c'mon you serious? geeze man oh man I think they ( Company Managers were probably dining in Hong Kong about now)...............................Stupidity

      Convictions etc They wil run a check no matter how hard you try to remember was that D.U.I in 1985 or 1987 ,no wait I was pregnant then , or was that the dog ?

      The point about not being wise and not providing SS number ,well I always thought so too, but Walmart ask for it CVStores ask for it ,and now some GovtDepts.....................and the first week I figured no way but like you say .....they are in control so they potentially encourage me to make myself vulnerable to fraud ,

      more stupidity

      Finally I gotta say some of the best jobs Ive had have not been highly paid at all ,but then again I wasnt as stressed out by ridiculous duplicated or an inefficent interveiw process either

      Thankyou for taking the time to respond to my question.


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