How to Answer Strange Interview Questions and Land the Job

May 25, 2017 Uncategorized

strange interview questionsAs if interview questions weren’t already stressful enough, it seems hiring managers have collectively decided to kick it up a notch. What are we talking about? Strange interview questions:

  • “If you were an animal, which one would you be?”
  • “Tell me about the most awkward moment in your life.”
  • “Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?” (Actual Whole Foods Market interview question)
  • “How many basketballs would fit in this room?”

So, when a job interviewer asks about your most creative Halloween costume, how do you answer without giving them the whole deer-in-headlights look?

Give them a smile (but not a creepy one)

A calm smile can buy you some time as long as you don’t let it linger so long that it turns into a panicked smile. The whole point to these questions is to create an opportunity for the hiring manager to observe how you handle the unexpected and see how well you can think on your feet. Hopefully your reaction will show how unfazed you are by the question. At least, that’s the ideal response.

For a lot of companies, questions like this are a way to see if you have the right cultural fit for the company. If you take yourself too seriously, you might risk coming across as a poor fit. So, smile – it allows your interviewer some insight that you are ready and willing to take on any unusual challenges.

Buy a little time

Just because you’re ready and willing doesn’t mean you can actually come up with a decent response off the top of your head.  Buy a little time if you need to. Questions like this warrant time-buying comments like these:

“Huh, and I thought I’d be ready for anything. Let’s see…”

“Wow. I’ve never been asked that before! You’ll have to give me a second.”

“That’s a great question! Let me think about that.”

Be enthusiastic

Keep in mind that these questions almost never have a right answer. The key to your response is answering coherently and enthusiastically, and not what the content of your answer might be. If you’re a funny person and it comes naturally to you, it could be the perfect outlet to use some SFW humor. If humor doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s probably not a good time to start working on it. It’d be a shame to dismantle the great impression you’ve been giving during the rest of the interview.

Take a moment to absorb the question and don’t get too wrapped up trying to think of something particularly clever. Focus more on being genuine than being hilarious. Smile, respond carefully and enthusiastically, and move on.

Follow up with your own question

A great way to wrap up your response is to ask your interviewer how they would have answered the question or what some of the best responses were from other interviewers. It’s an entertaining way to demonstrate your interest in the company culture.

The next time you’re in a job interview and they ask something unexpected like, “Tell me your favorite joke,” don’t think of it as a time to panic but rather an excellent opportunity to show off your quick wit and your ability to have a little fun.