POSTED: June 28 2017
Employment mistakes – how employers and applicants get it wrong

Employment mistakes – how employers and applicants get it wrong

Recent research has found that nearly three quarters (74.5%) of those hiring have areas of concern that straight away put them off a candidate, opinions are also divided over ‘oddball’ interview questions to encourage candidates to think on their feet.

The research from two surveys from online recruiter, CV-Library, gives an insight into the mindset of recruiter.

The first survey which surveyed 800 recruitment professionals across in-house and agency positions, found that the following activity would unfortunately result in the candidate not getting the desired job:

  1. Having an arrogant or rude personality (84.9%)
  2. Not preparing efficiently for the interview (73%)
  3. Dressing inappropriately, for example, too casually (52.6%)
  4. Turning up too early or too late (29.6%)
  5. Being excessively shy (13.2%)

The second piece of research looked at recruitment interview techniques.

While many companies are opting to ask ‘oddball’ interview questions to encourage candidates to think on their feet, over half (52.1%) of professionals don’t think this is the right approach to take, with one third (35%) believing that they do not reveal whether the candidate is right for the job or not.

The research, which surveyed 1,200 UK workers, set out to explore how professionals felt about oddball interview questions, and to discover the craziest questions that they had been faced with. The study found that almost two thirds (62%) have been asked a tricky interview question in the past, with 57.2% admitting that they struggled with their answer. Other key findings include:

  • A quarter of workers (25.9%) think tricky interview questions don’t cover the important facts an interviewer needs to know
  • And one in 10 (9.6%) would be put off applying to a company if they knew they notoriously asked these types of tough questions
  • That said, 8% do think oddball interview questions are a good approach to take
  • Of those, 63.7% believe it shows an interviewer that you’re able to think on their feet

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “There are some big organisations out there that have become known for their crazy interview questions and while these may feel like a good idea to get candidates thinking on their feet and being creative, it’s clear that job hunters are feeling the pressure. Being prepared is the key to interview success, but it can be harder to prepare for the trickier questions.

The top 10 craziest interview questions from the survey were:

Jake from Swansea said: The weirdest question I’ve ever been asked was, “when a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?”, I was stumped.

Sean from Farnborough said: I was asked “how would you deal with an explosive being thrown through the window in the workplace?” I’m just hoping I’m never faced with that situation.

Kevin from Newcastle said: The hiring manager said to me “are you able to deal with banter?” I immediately began questioning what the company culture would be like there.

Siobhan from Belfast said: The interviewer asked me “how lucky are you and why?” I hope it wasn’t because I’m Irish!

Natalie from Brighton said: The weirdest thing I’ve been asked was “if you were a Disney character which would you be and why?” I knew the answer straight away of course, but it was still very odd!

Alex from Yorkshire said: When applying for a summer job in a pub I was asked “if the bar was busy and a local came in from a farm smelly from muck spreading with his pet goose on a lead would you refuse to serve him?”

Alice from Reigate said: I found it quite humorous despite being a little lost for words when I was asked, “if you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be and why?”

David from Bristol said: I was honestly lost for words when they asked me “what would be your preferred shoe size?” I couldn’t work out what that had to do with being an accountant (or with any job for that matter!).

Charlie from Leeds said: To this day I don’t know what the right answer to this questions is – “what would you serve for a breakfast for an African king?”

James from Doncaster said: I was asked “would you be prepared to break the law?” Needless to say I would not, and I quickly declined the job offer.


You can see the CV-Library press release over how candidates jeopardise their employment chances here.

You can see the original CV-Library article over craziest interview questions asked here.