A lot of job interview questions are pretty standard, but every now and then an interviewer will throw a curveball at you. And by curveball, I mean really, really weird question.
Here are some odd interview questions that people really got asked, along with some advice on how to handle them if it happens to you. For all of these questions, it’s key not to panic. The interviewer is trying to spook you by asking questions you didn’t expect and therefore didn’t prepare for. You don’t need to come up with a perfect answer, just something coherent.
1. If you were an animal/cereal/crayon, what would you be?
2. What song best describes your work ethic?
How to handle it: Designed to make you think on your feet, don’t feel the need to shoehorn a “perfectionism is my biggest weakness”-type answer in. Instead, be honest. This is a chance to show some creativity. Questions like these show the interviewer a bit of your personality and are useful for assessing culture fit, something that is very important to recruiters.
3. What is your biggest regret in life?
How to handle it: Again, this is designed to go beyond your comfort zone and find out what kind of person you are. Remember you don’t need to spill out your heart and soul but it’s important to be honest, too. Don’t just answer with a regret, but show what you learned from that experience.
4. What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
How to handle it: Don’t get bogged down in a meandering description of the thousand tiny things that actually cross your mind in the car. Instead, come up with a topic that has interested you recently and explain it briefly.
5. Describe how to make a tuna sandwich.
6. If you were organising a spice rack for a blind person, how would you go about it?
How to handle it: While questions like this seem weird and irrelevant on the surface, they are a simple way for interviewers to see how you think under pressure. There is no *right* way. Instead, focus on giving an answer which follows a logical thought process.
7. Name three Nobel prize winners.
How to handle it: Unlike most of the others on the list, this is a purely fact-based question. All you can do is bone up on past winners. Here’s a list. Three winners you might remember are Barack Obama, Marie Curie and Martin Luther King, Jr. Be prepared for follow-up questions, though. The name alone might not be enough.
8. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
How to handle it: This question is often used in interviews at Google. The most popular answer is to lie down under the blades, but apparently this doesn’t satisfy Google. Another answer? Just jump out.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. It’s actually relatively sensible within the confines of the scenario. The key is the word ‘density’. It gives you the clue that physics can be used to resolve the predicament. If your height was reduced to 10% of what it is now, your strength would only be 1% of what is currently is, but your weight would be only 0.01%. Small creatures are stronger (relatively speaking). This is what accounts for the astounding leaps made by fleas and other insects.
9. A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
How to handle it: Possibly the weirdest of the lot, this is an actual question from an interview at a construction company. Be creative and show some personality. Recruiters want to know who they’ll be working with. Bonus points for accurate penguin impressions.
While none of these questions seem to have any obvious relation to work, they all offer the interviewer insight into your personality and how you think – things that are very important to know about a new hire. Because of that, they (and others like them) could come up in any job interview. So it’s worth giving them some thought during your interview prep and figuring out how you will answer any weird interview questions like these.
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