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.
“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!Read More