Nail the Interview

10 Strange Job Interview Questions and Answers

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Have you ever been to an interview and suffered from a “deer in the headlights” scenario when caught completely off guard by the question your interviewer asked you? If you’re reading this, I’m going to go ahead with an educated guess and say yes. More and more companies are asking unusual questions to candidates in the hope of digging a little deeper into your personality while assessing your ability to handle unexpected situations.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to remain calm and think through the question logically and truthfully. So when your interviewer asks something outrageous like “If you were a musical instrument, what would you be and why?” You know you’re being tested; they’re trying to push the boundaries and note how you respond.

Here are a few strange interview questions to help you prepare for the unexpected moment:

1. Have you ever stolen a pen from work?

Are you trustworthy (what else will you steal)? This is a difficult question to answer and saying zero (even if true) is probably not the right answer.

2. Which kind of animal do you think best describes your personality?

Are you lazy like a sloth, fiery like a tiger, or as quiet as a mouse? Think very carefully about the kind of personality you want to portray and be sure this comes across in a positive manner.

3. If you could invite 3 people from anywhere in the world or history to dine with you, who would they be?

What kinds of people do you like to associate yourself with? Someone who wants to dine with Einstein or the President of a country gives a very different impression than someone who wants to dine with a famous criminal or dictator. You get the idea.

4. If you were driving your seriously injured mother to the hospital, would you run a red light to get there faster?

Will you disregard the rules of the law in favor of human emotion? Consider whether you want to be portrayed as someone who follows the rules, or someone with compassion (a difficult choice to say the least).

5. If you won the lottery, would you still work full-time or live a life of luxury?

How strong is your work ethic and passion to succeed in life? This is quite an unusual question but one that is relatively easy to answer. Quite simply – make sure that you show your passion and ambition to succeed in life, and more importantly, the commitment you would show to their company.

6. If you were given $1m to spend on a business idea, what would you do?

How creative and entrepreneurial are you? Make sure you state a viable business idea and how you would go about making it a success. Have some information to back up your idea.

7. How would you teach an alien to ride a bike?

What kind of logic and methods would you use to ensure that person is successful at the task in hand? They are assessing your ability to translate instructions clearly and lead someone through unfamiliar processes.  Of course an answer something like “The last time I taught an alien, this is what I did” would not be the best approach (even if true).

8. Who is your favorite superhero?

This is a subjective question, but what they are really looking for is an answer that indicates how you like to work. As an example, if you pick a hero from the Fantastic Four, it shows you like teamwork.

9. Tell me something unusual about yourself.

This is not the time to tell them about your bug collection or your soap carving hobby. Try to pick something that is unusual but “okay”, such as wanting to visit 100 countries by the time you are 50.

10. If there was a front-page newspaper article about you, what would it say?

Another strange question for a job interview. Basically, the hiring manager is hoping to learn something about you by asking this question. Your answer serves two purposes – shows them how you think on your feet and tells them a little about you.  Of course, if you decide your headline is “Serial Killer is Caught”, I don’t think you will get the job. Hiring managers can gain insight into your outlook on life as well as your self-esteem. Ultimately, potential employers can learn more about the job candidate than they might otherwise learn from standard interview questions that they’ve had time to think about.

Most interviews include the usual run-of-the-mill questions, but occasionally there are strange and unexpected questions your interviewer may ask. While you can’t prepare for all strange questions, you can have some idea as to what to expect when you’re faced with one in an interview. The most important thing that you can do is to keep your composure and think about the question before you blurt out an answer.

Above all, be yourself, be confident and answer the questions openly and honestly.  If they don’t like the answers, it’s not the company for you.

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