A Community of Professionals Ages 21-45 Brought Together By Events
Have you ever gotten one of those oddball interview questions that seems to come out of nowhere? One of those questions you didn’t prepare for and are not sure how to deal with? You might be asked: If you had a super power, what super power would you have? What kind of animal would you be and why? Or maybe: Why are pothole covers round?
Most of these questions, even including the last one, don’t have a clear answer and seem to be pretty far out in left field. And WHAT do they have to do with you getting the job of marketing manager, teacher, financial analyst or sales person?
From my perspective as a career counselor, here’s what these strange interview questions are really asking and how to handle them.
1. Stay cool; don’t let it shake you. One reason job interviewers sometimes ask these types of questions is to see how you handle yourself under pressure or in unexpected situations. Your best reaction to this is to keep your cool and give an answer.
2. Ask for a moment’s pause. Once you’ve taken the interview question in stride without panicking, it’s reasonable to ask for a moment to think by saying something along the lines of, “That’s an interesting question. Let me think of a good answer.”
3. There’s no right or wrong answer to this interview question. Don’t worry about knowing you chose the absolute right answer; just pick something and explain yourself. Even if you realize later that if you could be any animal you’d be a cheetah, the fact that you chose kangaroo isn’t likely to hurt your chance of getting the job as long as you gave a good reason for your answer.
4. Think out loud. It depends on the question, but if you’re explaining, for example, how you might figure out how many people it would take to fill a football field holding hands, it’s unlikely the correct figure is the interviewer’s goal (unless you’re a stadium architect or something?). What’s more important is that you show your logical thought process as you work on the problem.
5. Be enthusiastic and have fun! Ultimately, part of what an interviewer looks for in a job candidate is someone who’s going to be a good cultural fit at their company. So be excited and have fun with these odd questions. Show them you’re not afraid to solve a novel problem and that you don’t have to take your job too seriously.