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There are some questions you should NEVER be asked in an interview setting.

10 Questions You Should Never Be Asked in a Job Interview

I got a call from a recruiter the other day. His offer wasn’t very exciting, but I told him to keep in touch. It would’ve been a forgettable call… except that he then asked a series of really unusual questions.

“Can I ask a few more questions to complete your file?” he said.

“Sure.”

“You’re a U.S. citizen, right?”

I answered immediately, automatically. But as the “yep” escaped my mouth, a little warning light started flashing in the back of my brain.

“And your date of birth?”

I paused. There are some questions you should never be asked in an interview setting. Your nationality is one. Your age is another. He’d asked two of these questions in a row. What’s going on here?

I decided to give my birthdate, partially because I’m the exceedingly neutral age of 32, and partially because the truth is the easiest answer to give when caught off-guard. But then his last question was… 

“Do you feel comfortable giving me the last four digits of your social security number?”

WOAH. What what whaaaat?! I don’t know the dude from a hole in the ground! My birthdate and my social?! What’s he gonna want next—my credit card number? A copy of my house keys?? Shit no!

I thanked him for his time and asked him not to contact me again.

I knew the job offer was legit; I’d had other recruiters contact me about it as well. But the high number of sensitive questions betrayed a basic lack of training and discretion. It was just too many red flags.

Even though I know a lot of this stuff cold, I still wasn’t prepared for how to handle them when they came up in the moment. But you will do better than me! Today I’ll share with you ten bad questions to watch out for. We want you to be ready to identify and avoid sketchy workplaces. Luckily, many seem willing to make their sketchiness known before they even hire you!

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Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude

Ah, the ubiquitous job interview. A necessary if painful step toward acquiring a job—any job! Just as nobody actually loves Rod Stewart as a musician or liver and onions as an entrée, nobody actually loves interviewing for jobs. Literally nobody.

And yet being good at job interviews is an invaluable skill. Especially if you’d like to become employed at some point in your life. And barring any hyper-intelligent dolphins or useless heirs to a corporate empire reading this article, that’s all of you.

We’ve already talked about what to do when you get asked about your salary during a job interview (a question that is as unethical as it is manipulative). But how about some of those other common, annoying interview questions? The ones you can count on getting, and that you dread like a combination root canal and pap smear?

I scoured the Internet for literally dozens of minutes to find brilliant answers to some of those awful job interview questions. And what I found filled me with hope!

I’m going to break down some of the most annoying and tricky job interview questions and how to answer them with at least the confidence and poise of the mediocre white man more likely to be hired than you.

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If Kerry Washington has worn it in Scandal, it is suitable job interview attire.

What to Wear (and What Not to Wear) to a Job Interview

They say first impressions are important. What they don’t say is that they’re also not fucking fair. Like, not at all.

When you go in for a job interview, the first impression you make on your potential employer could determine the outcome of the hiring process. In fact, 30% of hiring decisions are made within the first five minutes of an interview. That’s why what you wear and how you present yourself are so important. So make it count.

Appearance-based discrimination happens all the time in the hiring process. And while you can’t help the color of your skin, your body size, or your gender, you can do something about what you wear and how you wear it to give yourself a fighting chance.

I interview job candidates all the time. I’m my company’s internship coordinator, and I also visit one of the local universities every year to practice mock interviews with their students and recent graduates.

So I’ve seen it all. Including the girl who dressed like Professor Trelawney on a bad hair day… and the guy I smelled before I saw… and the girl who looked like she was dressed for our first date rather than an interview… and all the motherfuckers who dared to wear flip-flops to a goddamn job interview.

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It's a dick move that puts the onus on you, the applicant, to determine the worth of your work.

What to Do When You’re Asked About Your Salary in a Job Interview

One of the shittiest questions to be asked in a job interview is arguably also one of the most important considerations when looking for a new job: “What are your salary requirements?”

It’s shitty because even if you’re prepared, the question can immediately throw you into a state of self-doubt and nervous confusion where you risk shooting your potential earnings in the foot. You don’t want to blurt out a number too high and risk them writing you off as an entitled, money-grubbing Millennial with an overinflated sense of self-worth. But you don’t want to lowball them either, lest they see you as a bargain hire and take you on for a fraction of what they’d planned to pay.

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