Hey, that’s not fair! 

Have you ever been asked an interview question that was clearly out-of-line or made you feel massively squeamish? perhaps even angry?

It happened to me for sure. It was a long time ago now but a highly reputable firm had a young consultant chatting me up while I was awaiting my first case interview ever. This young consultant asked me, and I quote,

“Do you have anyone in your life that we need to worry about?”

I remember being stunned, wondering what they could possibly mean. Were they asking me if I was married? Which I was, and this could clearly be seen by the wedding band on my left hand – so why would they ask?

Or maybe they wanted to know if I had kids? Which I didn’t at the time, but this was clearly an inappropriate question. I simultaneously realized that I couldn’t find any other explanation for the question and started to panic because I had to say something….but what?

Fast forward to today and I can honestly say that question was out of line. But in the moment, it didn’t matter.

No matter how wrong that question was, it was up to me to handle it well. Did I? Well, I could have done better. 

So what should you do if something like this happens to you? For starters, stay calm!

In honesty, that person may have had a stupid moment or may even have stated his question in a way he hadn’t intended. Don’t be afraid to gently ask for clarification. Most of all remember, at the very least, this is a test of how you do under pressure.

What ideas do you have for handling a tough/uncomfortable/unfair question?

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