Great read, good tips. And the idea that out of the box questions can differentiate similar candidates makes perfect sense to me. When interviewing potential staff I want to see if they will also fit in with the team dynamic as well as be able to do the job required. Thanks Marc. Cheers, Penelope
- “If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?” – Asked at Forrester Research, Research Associate candidate.
- “How many cows are in Canada?” – Asked at Google, Local Data Quality Evaluator candidate.
- “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?” – Asked at JetBlue, Pricing/Revenue Management Analyst candidate.
- “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?” – Asked at Clark Construction Group, Office Engineer candidate.
- “What songs best describes your work ethic?” – Asked at Dell, Consumer Sales candidate.
- “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?” – Asked at Amazon, Product Development candidate.
- “What do you think about when you are alone in your car?” – Asked at Gallup, Associate Analyst candidate.
- “How would you rate your memory?” – Asked at Marriott, Front Desk Associate candidate.
- “Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners.” – Asked at BenefitsCONNECT, Office Manager candidate.
- “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?” – Asked at MasterCard, Call Centre candidate.
- “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?” – Asked at Trader Joe’s, Crew candidate.
- “How would people communicate in a perfect world?” – Asked at Novell, Software Engineer candidate.
- “How do you make a tuna sandwich?” – Asked at Astron Consulting, Office Manager candidate.
- “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?” – Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Advisory Associate candidate.
- “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?” – Asked at Accenture, Business Analyst candidate.
- “Estimate how many windows are in New York.” – Asked at Bain & Company, Associate Consultant candidate.
- “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.” – Asked at LivingSocial, Adventures City Manager candidate.
- “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.” – Asked at Bank of America, Software Developer candidate.
- “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?” – Asked at Jiffy Software, Software Architect candidate.
- “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.” – Asked at Urban Outfitters, Sales Associate candidate.
- “What kitchen utensil would you be?” – Asked at Bandwidth.com, Marketer candidate.
- “If you had turned your cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?” – Asked at Kimberly-Clark, Biomedical Engineer candidate.
- “On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.” – Asked at Kraft Foods, General Laborer candidate.
- “If you could be anyone else, who would it be?” – Asked at Salesforce.com, Sales Representative candidate.
- “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?” – Asked at PETCO, Analyst candidate.
First, yes these are very weird interview questions without a doubt!!! So, what is happening here in 2013? Essentially, HR professionals are becoming psychologists without a psychology degree. Now, is that a bad thing? Well it depends on your opinion. In the comments section of that article, one person commented, “At the interview stage you are up against some dozen other select candidates whom so closely match you, as if all were cut from the same mold. How do you differentiate? How do you trip up a well rehearsed, confident interviewee? You ask one of these questions. Yes, as idiotic as it sounds, it all factors in. It’s not so much the answer, but how you react. Even if the question is meant to disarm or break the ice, again the way you respond will matter.” This is very true. However, there are about 50 of these type of comments, “I would say and when you have a question that actually relates to the job, my qualifications for it, and my strengths and weaknesses as an employee, I will be happy to answer.” OR “I really hate these type of moronic job interview questions. Why are you wasting my time?”
Again, depending how you look at it will shape your opinion. Lets dive into it.
If you give the latter answer of, this is moronic or stop wasting my time; what do you think the interviewer will do or say? Chances are that type of response will not bode well them.
Here’s the secret to answering most interview questions.
It’s not always about your answer and having the perfect answer to every interview question. Instead, interviewers want to see your reaction to the question. Do you stumble, look away, ramble on, lie, deceive, make something up, roll your eyes… the list goes on.
One question I commonly asked in every single interview was, “What is one common misconception about you?” Honestly, I did not care what the answer was because it wasn’t important to qualifying you for the job, however, what I was looking for is how you answer an offbeat question and what would response be. These kind of things happen all the time when you are meeting with high level executives. They ask you questions you weren’t prepared for. What will be your response?
Questions like these tell an interviewer what you will do in a high pressure situation!
While I’m not advocating for more of these weird questions in interviewing, I do believe that they have their place in typical interview questions.
So how do you answer these questions
Below are two answers I copied from the comments section… Can you figure out which of the two is the better answer?
7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car?” My answer would be “When I’m in my car alone I think about interviewers who ask stupid questions that have absolutely nothing to do with my ability to perform the job.”
Answer to number 3: You need exactly 4 quarters. Nobody specified coins, so I have to assume fractions of the whole.
Honestly – which one do you think ANY interviewer would want to hear? While on the surface, all these questions seem “stupid” or “moronic”, they will throw off even the most prepared candidate. The interviewer wants to see how you will act on the job and in ANY job, curve balls are always thrown at you. How will you react when a curve ball is thrown?
There are a few ways you can approach an answer to any type of bogus interview question.
- Get creative and have fun.
- This is your chance to break the interview mold and have some fun. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer to any of these interview questions; it’s all about your reaction, which we discussed above.
- Keep your responses positive and stay away from anything negative.
- As we already shown you above in the examples, while it is okay to think, “what a stupid question”, do not say it! Refer to the above approach. Have fun with it and tell a joke maybe.
- Don’t shrug your shoulders.
- Next to the negative response, saying “I don’t know”, is just as bad. This is interviewing 101. Never say, “I don’t know” to any question ever!
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