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What not to ask in a job interview

Feb 15, 2013

“Would you go on a date with me?” and “Could I get a pay advance?” are among the most, um, memorable questions interviewers have heard.

FORTUNE -- Some people arrive at job interviews with a well thought out list of smart questions. And then there are the other kind. Staffing firm OfficeTeam recently asked 650 human resources executives and hiring managers to recall the oddest or most off-putting queries posed by applicants. A sampling of the results:

  • “What job is this for?”
  • “Do I have to be at work every day?”
  • “Would you go on a date with me?”
  • “Do you want to take a ride in my new car?”
  • “What color is the paint in this office?”
  • “Can my husband finish this test for me?”
  • “Is the boss single?”
  • “Do you have a job for my partner?”
  • “What are the women who work here like?”
  • “Do you allow midday naps?”
  • “How much time do I have to put in?”
  • “Could I get a pay advance?”
  • “Can I place my desk near the cafeteria?”
  • “Could you help me find an apartment?”
  • “Can you help me with the employment test?”
  • “Can I get every Tuesday off?”
  • “How soon can I take my first vacation?”
  • “Can I have three weeks off every three months to pursue my music career?”
  • “Can I have my birthday off?”

Regarding those last four, OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking notes that vacation time is part of compensation, which “is best discussed after an employer has expressed a serious intent to extend a job offer” -- however unlikely that might be.

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