Interviewers sometimes ask questions that make me uncomfortable: what is your hobby, what is your favorite fiction book, what is your relationship status, what is your greatest weakness, what is your position on Ukrainian conflict etc. Shall I look bad if I outright refuse to answer any personal questions?


2 Answers 2


It is completely OK not to answer political or personal questions; pretty much anything that is work UNrelated subjects.

A good answer would be:

I prefer not to discuss this subject now.


I am not that political (or the subject) and I tend to stay away from it.

However, "What is your favorite fiction book?", or "what is your greatest weakness/strength?", are NOT that personal.

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    "what is your greatest weakness" is important for the job, even. I wouldn't skip answering that one.
    – Erik
    Mar 1, 2018 at 20:22
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    "what is your greatest weakness" is important for the job, even. I would have a prepared answer for that one ready. Mar 1, 2018 at 20:32
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    "what is your greatest weakness/strength?" is the hallmark of an unexperienced interviewer, and as a senior in the industry, there are so much more interesting things to talk about in my CV. Mar 1, 2018 at 20:41
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    Inexperienced interviewer or not, it's a relatively common question and refusing to answer it is not going to get you hired. Mar 1, 2018 at 20:42
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    I did NOT say ignore or pass or dodge the "what is your greatest weakness" question! Why the downvotes tornado?
    – Sandra K
    Mar 1, 2018 at 20:47

These are not really personal questions, and you should be prepared to answer them.

With the political questions, demonstrate a knowledge of it, but be non committal.

Well, I understand that the conflict in the Ukraine goes back quite a bit as the region has had a complex relationship with divided loyalties in the region.

And yes, it will look bad if you just refuse to answer, that's never good form.

Asking about a hobby is them wanting to know that you have interests outside of work, if you don't have one, you should.

Asking about a book is another stressor question. I like to answer with something like

Well, I've been reading the sword of truth series, because I love the character of Richard. No matter what difficulties he faces, he never gives up and always finds creative solutions.

(see what I did there?)

"What is your greatest weakness?" is fairly standard, and you should have an answer that is either something you are working on, or is not related to your position.

I'm a coder and never have to speak or do presentations in my jobs, so I usually say something like.

Well, I'm really not that good at public speaking, which is why I prefer this line of work.


I've noticed in the past that I've tended to get obsessed with details, but knowing that, I always try to take a step back and consult with my coworkers or management if I find myself in that situation.

The only one that's worth avoiding is the relationship one. They shouldn't ask that, and if they do you can decline to answer that with:

Well, once I'm on board and part of the team for a while, I'd be happy to discuss that with you, but right now, that's a bit awkward.

If they turn you down for avoiding that last one, you don't want to work there anyway.

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