Weird interview questions can be tough and somewhat of a “fad” to today’s recruiters and HR managers.
It’s tough having successful interviews since the questions keep changing.
Beyond The Common Interview Questions
You’re already preparing for the most common interview questions, like these, right:
- Tell Me About Yourself.
- How Would Your Subordinates Describe Your Management Style?
- Why Were You Fired?
- What is Your Greatest Weakness?
- Why Should We Hire You?
Hiring Managers have been asking these typical questions for years. There’s a whole list of interview questions that are go-to’s for many interviewers.
[Related Article: Interview Questions for 40+ Career Fields]
The best approach is to arrange mock interviews to prepare for the job in question. Boosting your interview skills (e.g., leveraging the STAR method) is critical, and leveraging something as simple as an interview script (or template), can help.
The new challenge however has been the onset of “what if,” “would you rather,” “example of a time when,” and “what would you do if” situational interview questions that can stump the most prepared job seeker. And, most job seekers won’t know what questions will be asked until the interview process begins.
Coaches oftentimes call these behavioral interview questions as they identify how you would handle stressful situations. And, how you would approach certain problems.
Answering weird interview questions like the examples listed below can be intimidating and problematic — and might be asked by small to large employers alike.
Will these atypical questions go away anytime soon?
The employers asking these questions hold a significant rank in business and set precedence and establish business standards.
For example, look no further than Facebook.
When companies grow to the size of Facebook (took in $55.8B in revenue in 2018, only 11 years after start-up), they almost have carte blanche with their hiring practices as long as they comply with Employment Laws.
Why? What’s The Purpose of These Situational Questions?
There’s speculation on why these interviewing strategies are finding their way into today’s job interviews.
For example, hiring managers may ask these odd interview questions to gain insight into the thought process and reasoning skills of candidates.
People have different perspectives, opinions, and behaviors. This means that you could ask 10 job seekers the same question and potentially get 10 different answers.
Questions like these may also be asked merely for curiosity.
When candidates are challenged to come up with answers to scenario and problem-solving questions, this can be very insightful, and, at times, comical to hiring managers.
Yet, employers need pragmatic and creative-thinking new employees running their businesses, so they continue competing in this ever-changing employment landscape.
Have you ever worked with an interview coach? We recommend that you use an interview coach to provide advice on how to answer these and other unusual interview questions.
A coach can also provide you with “the time savers and the money makers.”
- The best interview answers that secure second job interviews
- Best techniques for securing an optimal salary/compensation package
Here Are 6 Popular, Yet Odd, Interview Questions Asked By Hiring Employers
Here are some of the recent weird interview questions that have been floating around out there, as submitted by a variety of candidates on company review sites and forums.
You might be wondering why I don’t provide you with example answers. The truth is that there are questions that job seekers should answer on their own. These 5 questions are those:
#1 – If you were a car, what model and make would you be, and why? (Quora)
This interview question has had many variations over the years, but it’s essentially the same at its core.
What a recruiter wants to find out is how you see yourself as a candidate and how creatively you can sell yourself.
For example, if you think you are a red corvette, you could be someone who is fast-paced, bold, and likes to see life in the Fastlane.
Want to be someone who is perceived to be steady and reliable?
Go with a more conservative classic car, like a Buick or Chevy.
#2 – Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? (Whole Foods Market)
One of the most imaginative, but arguably weird interview questions, this one has strategy written all over it.
It’s also pretty funny to think about, right?
Try not to laugh out loud, but have a sense of humor with this one.
Consider what you would do when faced with a huge duck, or 100 pint-sized horses.
How would you attempt to defend yourself?
The way you strategize this can be an indicator of how well you break down projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
#3 – How would you sell hot cocoa in Florida? (J.W. Business Acquisitions)
Like many employers, J.W. Business Acquisitions also puts their own spin on the tricky interview questions they ask.
Can you sell something that people most likely won’t want?
If you can produce a good answer this tactful, you could be on your way to a bright future as a sales leader.
Hint: The answer involves adding ice.
#4 – What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer? (Trader Joe’s)
Here’s another super odd interview question that demands out-of-the-box thinking.
Do you open the freezer and let the penguin out and risk him dying, or do you leave him alone and bring him his favorite fish treats?
The answer has a lot to do with how well you manage people and resources. Think in those terms with a creative answer.
#5 – On your very best day at work – the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world – what did you do that day? (Facebook)
This classic never gets old.
A solid answer expresses the values that you have about work, your ideal work situation, environment, and perks.
Miranda Kalinowski, the global head of recruiting for Facebook, revealed that the correct answer reflects the mission of the company to, “give people powerful sharing opportunities so that everyone stays connected.”
New interview questions continue to surface as hiring companies attempt to further segment candidates between duds and studs.
An interview question suggested by Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at HubSpot and Blogger at OnStartups.com for entrepreneurs is at first glance a unique question to ask and certainly puts the interview candidate on guard with another seemingly negative interview question that could potentially stump even the most poised candidate.
“What concerns do you have about our company?”
This interview question enables the hiring company to learn a few added tidbits about the candidate. For example…
How much does the candidate know about the company?
What the candidate believes are potential issues going in.
What the candidate view as challenges with your company.
Hiring managers need to be prepared because transparency with interview candidates can generate a multitude of different answers — responses that may be welcomed, and unexpected.
So, as a candidate how do you answer such a potentially damaging interview question?
Start with outlining what you learned about the company during your discovery phase.
What specific challenges do you know about them? Upcoming merger? Recent product quality issues? Issues with customers?
Ideally, outlining what concerns you have with the company is expected, but be sure to provide specifics as to how you plan to overcome and help resolve those issues as well. Remember, there are “push and pulls” with every business challenge.
So, don’t overlook the importance of how one issue affects the company — and its internal departments and teams.
Think about how concerns affect the big picture of the company, yet don’t overlook how those same concerns affect individual employees as well.
Think about …
- Employee Retention
- Cost Controls
- Internal Team Relations
- Customer Service/Management
- Management/Support Staff Relationships
- Sales & Marketing Efforts
- New Product Development
- Warehousing/JIT Delivery Systems
- … and everything else that is within your scope of expertise.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
One concern or issue trickles throughout the entire company — so you need to identify what areas are negatively affected and address those areas accordingly. Identify the obvious; but, use your “superpowers” to think about what the company may not have identified or considered yet.
Watch out for your opponents!
A word to the wise here.
You may be asked to describe your current employer or worse yet, another one of the candidates.
While you want to remain positive, you know to never say anything rude about another person.
You also don’t want to boast about the abilities of your competitors.
These kinds of interview questions are not fair at all because they don’t really reveal your true loyalty or work ethics.
Here’s my advice (borrowed from an earlier post of mine):
Think about answering kindly and professionally (and keep a slight smile on your face) with:
“Well, I didn’t show up here to market my competitors, no more than I will sell your competitor’s products while under your employment. When I believe in a product, I stick with it. In this case, I am the product. Would you like me to go into detail on why these other candidates believe I should have the job?”
The next time you’re put in a position to answer an unusual interview question, and you don’t want to experience a bad interview, don’t be afraid to have fun with the process.
Crack a joke.
Or, be playful with your response.
Remember, jobs don’t always go to the most qualified person.
Simply put, jobs get offered to the job seeker who interviewed the best.