The Seatbelt Question

“Describe to me how you put on a seatbelt.”

I got this question at an otherwise uneventful job interview a few years ago. To this day, I have no idea what the person who asked me this was looking for. This certainly wasn’t on the list of common job questions to expect in an interview. Needless to say, I was not prepared.

I froze for a minute and decided that as a writer, I should just be as descriptive as possible. So, I gave what can only be described as an elaborate re-enactment of adjusting my seat and mirrors, sliding the belt across my chest and fastening it securely. And then, I told him how I sat in the driveway and patiently waited until my kids put their own seatbelts on and how after much protest from the back seat, I ended with something my father would say like “we aren’t going anywhere until you do as I say.”

I didn’t get the job. But, I don’t think it was because of that answer. He seemed thoroughly entertained by my story.

This question still haunts me. What else could I have possibly said about putting on a seatbelt? And what kind of twisted, psychological test was this that my interviewer was putting me through?

How would you have answered the question? And what is the strangest interview question you’ve ever heard? I’d love to hear them!


4 comments on The Seatbelt Question

  1. Doug
    January 8, 2020 at 11:18 pm (7 months ago)

    If you are still wondering about that question, it was definitely a twisted psycho question meant to disrupt the rest of your life if not just to see how you respond to the unexpected.
    I was not on the applicant end of a job interview very often but did several from the hiring side of the table. I am sure that I asked a few “out of the blue” questions but they were never planned and I cannot recall what they might have been.
    It is interesting how questions that were standard on the application forms cannot even be asked now.

    • Elisa Heisman
      January 9, 2020 at 6:05 am (7 months ago)

      Well – it hasn’t disrupted my life. But, it taught me to expect anything in an interview, stay calm and just answer the question. It was definitely a memorable interview. 🙂

  2. Julie JordanScott
    January 9, 2020 at 7:16 am (7 months ago)

    I would probably describe how i put on a seatbelt with a bit of pantomime for good measure. With a big smile on my face!

    • Elisa Heisman
      January 10, 2020 at 8:39 am (7 months ago)

      I found your comments! They went into my spam folder. Glad I checked!


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