Have you ever been caught off guard in a job interview by a question that made you squirm? It seems as employers struggle to hire for the post-pandemic economy, they are doing their fair share of making the process awkward for everyone.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I’ve just been asked in a job interview if I used lockdown ‘to pursue any passion projects or personal development,’” an employee at a Dublin university tweeted earlier in June, garnering nearly 33,000 retweets and more than 332,000 “likes.” “The market really does want us all to think we’ve just had a generous sabbatical.”

There’s no telling how weird or uncomfortable interview questions — like about what personal growth applicants achieved during a global catastrophe — are contributing to current issues with filling vacant positions. Despite a sudden influx of job openings, and millions of Americans who are currently unemployed, staffing up has been a slow process. The explanation some analysts have offered is that many people just don’t want to go back to work, or at least not the same work, or with the same pay and benefits. Or maybe candidates just want a little more sympathy and understanding.

As employers and applicants work through this messy standoff, it is likely more job-search horror stories will arise, and other cringe-worthy questions will appear in interviews. If any of this happens to you, we want to hear about it. Contact us here and tell us your story.

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