This amazing story comes from one of the commenters on my U.S. News & World report post earlier this week about how to handle inappropriate interview questions.
Linda R. wrote:
When I was just out of college (ahem...the early 80's, a less enlightened age), a friend went on an interview for an administrative position. She felt the interview was going very well. Then, the interviewer asked, "Can I look in your purse?"
In response to her shocked expression, he explained that he finds that to be the best indicator of how organized a woman is. She lost her composure for a minute, she was taken so by surprise, but wound up handing it over. He fingered through it, muttered something, thanked her and handed it back. She didn't wind up getting the job -- not due to a messy purse she was sure, since she had just cleaned it out. Nothing I've ever heard since then has struck me as a weirder question than that one.
1. This would really annoy me. To the point that I might not take a job working for him.
2. People have a reasonable expectation of privacy for their purse contents.
3. Most importantly, I wonder what he asks men.