I work for a number of agencies where I go to different locations to promote products. I applied for a gig that was to help setup and organize a tech conference. Looking back it was strange that it was grouped in with the the promoting type jobs, but sometimes it happens and the work sounded interesting.

Anyway, the interviewer started by telling me that I can skip a question if I don't want to answer it. Then she went into what I'd like to call "rapid fire question mode". She asked a lot of short questions one after another. None of the questions matched up with the job posting, for example she asked if I'm certified to work with food and liquor and what kind of vehicle I drive.

She then moved onto more open ended questions like "why do you want to work for us?". I didn't handle it well but told her I'd like to speak about the job specifically. She told me I wasn't giving her enough to work with so couldn't ask more questions.

Could this have been some sort of scam? How could I have handled the situation better? I could have added "the posting said nothing about food and liquor" or taken the lead and said "can we talk about what the job is doing first?". The gig was only a few days of work and I was surprised by the large number of questions with no chance for discussion.

What was meant by telling me I didn't have to answer questions?

I spoke to someone else who had done the interview and he said after the "off-topic" questions the interviewer got to the actual job. He said it was so they could build a profile in case they have other work that would fit. If this is true, I find it a bit unprofessional, or at least wished this had been explained.

  • 3
    Reminds me of this question.
    – Simon
    Nov 15, 2018 at 12:22
  • 2
    "help setup and organize a tech conference." and "certified to work with food and liquor" seem related to me.
    – user41891
    Nov 15, 2018 at 14:41
  • "She then moved onto more open ended questions like "why do you want to work for us?". I didn't handle it well but told her I'd like to speak about the job specifically." <-- That was almost certainly your failure here. That's a very standard question, and you should be prepared to answer it well in any interview you go to.
    – berry120
    Nov 16, 2018 at 11:20
  • @SiXandSeven8ths perhaps but the job ad made it sound more manual labor, like moving boxes and connecting speakers etc. (Also since certificates cost money in the first place, the industry standard is to pay more for work that requires them)
    – Bertelem
    Dec 1, 2018 at 23:31
  • @berry120 normally yes, but less so for a temp agency that you would work for under a week
    – Bertelem
    Dec 1, 2018 at 23:39

2 Answers 2


Could this have been some sort of scam?

Only the interviewer can know for sure. But it seems unlikely that it was a scam.

But I know of someone who liked to toss out rapid-fire questions in a way that sounds exactly like what you describe. He did it in an attempt to detect dishonesty.

He would toss about a bunch of questions, only a few of which he really cared about. When asked rapidly and mixed in with a bunch of questions, he felt that the candidate wouldn't have enough time to think it through and come up with a false answer.

What makes me think it could be the same here is the "what kind of vehicle I drive" question. If the job is to "help set up and organize conferences" in various locations, then finding out if you actually own a car could be important. That's not an off-topic question. I'm guessing that there were others sprinkled in that were important to the interviewer, too.

How could I have handled the situation better?

In any interview, you should always expect and be prepared to answer the question "Why do you want to work with us?" Always.


It sounds to me that you were hit with a bunch of what are called Stressor Questions

The purpose of these questions is to throw you off script and see how you react to stress and the unexpected.

This is not a scam, simply a way for the interviewer to dig a little deeper into your personality and a test of character.

By reacting the way you did, you failed the test.

In the future, be more prepared. Your resume tells an employer that you meet the technical qualifications of a job, the interview tells an employer if you fit in.

The link above provides samples of stress questions, as well as other interview questions. Study it and go into your next interview ready to get the job.

  • 2
    I don't downvote but honestly think you should get rid of the "YOU FAILED" in bold.
    – Zorkolot
    Nov 15, 2018 at 20:11
  • @Zorkolot Good point, Thank you. I rephrased it. Nov 16, 2018 at 3:01

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