Are you looking for a job?
If so, you know that a relevant part of your journey is to get ready for the interview. And yes, it is a tricky part, as we never know for sure what we are going to be asked, and what exactly we are expected to answer.
And, considering that job applicants are getting better and better in this game, it is understandable that recruiters are also doing their best to avoid questions far too predictable. Anybody can go online nowadays and get a list of the most common interview questions and practice their best answers, as you know.
So to spicy the moment up, and for other reasons that we will discuss below, many companies have no boundaries when it comes to asking the strangest and most unexpected questions in an interview. However, how should you prepare for a situation like this? This is what we are going to tell you now.
A selection of 10 oddball interview questions
Glassdoor, one of the most popular career communities, has published a list with the ten strangest and most ridiculous job interview questions of 2016 in the United States (the listing is also available for other countries).
And here they are, along with the company that asked them:
- Space Exploration Technologies: “When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?”
- Whole Foods Market: “Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?”
- Dropbox: “If you’re the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?”
- Urban Outfitters: “What would the name of your debut album be?”
- W. Business Acquisitions: “How would you sell hot cocoa in Florida?”
- HubSpot: “If I gave you $40,000 to start a business, what would you start?”
- Trader Joe’s: “What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?”
- Boston Consulting Group: “If you were a brand, what would be your motto?”
- Delta Air Lines: “How many basketballs would fit in this room?”
- Uniqlo: “If you had $2,000, how would you double it in 24 hours?”
I am sure you are desperately asking yourself how you should answer these questions. Some of them are quite awkward indeed.
However, the first thing that you should consider here is why they are doing it. It is evident that they understand that some of them are almost impossible to be answered, so why? Actually, what they want is to give you an opportunity to:
Show how you think
It is more than just saying what you think that matters here. If they are giving to you a question that you can’t answer for sure, it is because the answer doesn’t matter at all. What matter is how you think, how you process a problem.
Show how you behave under pressure
Another thing that company wants to know is how you behave under pressure.
Did you freak out when you heard the question? Did you look desperate? Alternatively, did you remain calm while still surprised? Depending on the job, it can make all the difference.
Show that you can think creatively (even under pressure)
An oddball question might be asking for an out-of-the-box answer. So consider that what the company is looking for is to check how creatively you can think. And not only that. They also want to know if you still can do it under pressure.
Show that you can think fast
Even if you have no answer, you will have to say something. Anything. Meaning that they will be able to find out how fast you can think, and which kind of response you will give in a situation like this. They will also be checking your body language and tone of voice.
Show your personality
Ultimately, the company wants to know if your personality fits their work environment. They want to know more about you without having to say “tell me more about yourself”. And, above all, they want to know if they can count on you if trouble comes.
How to prepare to answer strange questions on a job interview
Now that you understand why it could happen to you, it is time to get prepared.
And here is what you should be practicing for when the time arrives:
1 – Take a deep breath
No matter how much you prepare yourself, you know you won’t be able to predict what they are going to ask you. So it is perfectly fine if you take a deep breath and calm yourself down before opening your mouth. Don’t worry; the company wants to hire a person, not a robot.
2 – Ask for a moment to think
Now that you are ready to open your mouth, you still shouldn’t feel obliged to give an answer straight away. So feel free to ask for a moment to think about the question.
3 – Consider why the company is asking you that
While you are thinking about the best answer, also consider why the company is asking you that type of question. You should determine if there is a way to respond that will reflect the skills that are essential for the job.
4 – Ask questions
If you feel like you need any clarification, you should be able to ask your interviewer for it. It will show that you are considering the problem carefully and that you are not afraid to look for the resources that you need.
5 – Demonstrate how you think
Here comes the most important part. You must make the most to show your recruiter how you process information, and how you deal with problems. So go ahead and say out loud how you are making considerations, step by step.
6 – Answer it as calm as possible (or ask to answer it later)
If it happens that you have a good answer to the question, then say it now. If you don’t, be honest, but proactive. Tell your interviewer that it is a very good question and that you will think about it. You can even ask for a contact so you can send your answer later – but if so, make sure that you do answer it later.
The bottom line
There you got all that you need to know so that you can be prepared to answer the strangest and most ridiculous interview questions.
As you noticed, it is all about remaining confident and showing off your critical thinking skills. This way, you will manage the situation well, and get ready to sign that contract.