Interviewers will ask the standard run of the mill questions but often will throw an odd one in to the mix to see how you react. This allows them to gauge your personality, thought processes and level of ability. Often there isn’t a right answer, but how you handle these curve ball questions can affect the outcome of the interview. Obviously you will not be able to prepare for all the crazy questions they could come up with but it will stand you in good stead to familiarise yourself with some past quirky questions. Imagine how you would answer them so you can practice thinking outside of the box. Anna Pitts of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau gives you seven bonkers examples of interview questions that have cropped up and how you might want to answer them.
You’re a miniature person and trapped inside a salad bowl- how would you get out?
Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in this predicament as its sounds horrifically traumatic, but interviewers would like to get your thoughts on how you would act if it did. The reason for this question is to see if you can think logically and problem solve. I personally think the obvious answer is to stack the carrots until you can climb to the top…but if there were no carrots- uh-oh…
Sing us a song that best describes you
The reasons for this potentially humiliating question are two-fold. One, to see what song you pick as it gives them an idea of your personality, self-image and confidence and two, to see how outgoing you are. If you have the guts to stand up and belt out a tune in front of complete strangers the chances are you aren’t going to shy away from big presentations or pitches. Think cleverly about your song choice though and the message you want to give. ‘Simply the best’ might be a bit too big headed, but then ‘Sexy and I know it’ may give the wrong impression. Go for a nice, modest little ditty- maybe something by Celine Dion…
Try and sell me a wooden saucepan
If this question is thrown at you out of nowhere try not to panic and start spluttering. Think of it like any other sales pitch and mentally make a list of all the reasons why someone might want a wooden saucepan (to keep stuff in, a quirky ornament for the mantel piece…). They are testing your ability to think on your feet and deliver a tricky presentation. It might be a good idea to ponder why people might want broom handles, blunt knives or flat tyres whilst you’re at it as these also have made an appearance in the interview setting.
Why are manhole covers round?
Microsoft and Google ask this question in interviews, the reason being to see if you have deductive reasoning and how you handle a question with multiple answers. Trying to explain why something is like it is simply is a good skill to have, especially if you need to communicate with people below your level of expertise. It also shows that you are knowledgeable, especially if you can figure out why manhole covers are round (apparently there are a number of plausible explanations.)
If you were a punctuation mark what would you be?
This structure of crazy question is popular with interviewers as it gives them a better idea of your personality. The connotations are fairly obvious with punctuation marks- question marks suggest you’re a bit wacky or curious; an exclamation mark equals a lot of fun and so on. You’ll also be asked why so make sure you can back up your punctuation alter ego- don’t try and catch them off guard by claiming to be a square bracket and then have no idea quite why you’d be one. You might also want to start thinking about which baked good, salad dressing, super hero or item of clothing you would be too as nothing is off limits.
Zombies have invaded the Earth- who’d be on your fighting team?
Picking logical and valuable team members is an attribute that employers want in their workforce. You might be in charge of recruitment in the company or be able to hire your own assistant, so questions like this shows you can make logical choices, backed up by valid reasons. In a team you need all sorts of skills, so try to reflect this in your choices for your Zombie battle (bear in mind I have already bagsied Wolverine.)
How do I rate as an interviewer?
Potentially an incredibly awkward question to be asked, especially if you’re thinking they are utter rubbish. But this question will have been posed to you to see how truthful and tactful you are, and how you handle tricky situations, perhaps with customers. Remember who you are speaking to and give an honest opinion, airing on the side of ‘you were fantastic’. Don’t exaggerate and say they were brilliant but at the same time don’t say a monkey could have done a better job. They may appreciate your honesty, but if you absolutely have to be negative, be polite.
Before your interview it might be a good idea to get your hands on ‘How Would You Move Mount Fuji?’ by William Poundstone for more examples of crazy interview questions.
Written by Anna Pitts, a Marketing Assistant and Online Researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Her work involves PR and outreach and writing informative, interesting advice based articles for graduates and students. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Image credit: Satoru Kikuchi
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