It’s becoming more common for interviewers to ask some off the wall questions. If you interview frequently you’re bound to run into one yourself. Here are a few I picked up this morning from this article on AOL Jobs (yes, I’m just as surprised as you that anything from AOL is relevant):
“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
“How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?” - JetBlue
“How would you rate your memory?” - Marriott
“Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners.” - BenefitsCONNECT
“My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?” - PricewaterhouseCoopers
So, the big question: why are companies asking these types of questions? More importantly, how can you be prepared to answer them? I can think of three reasons:
- To see how you respond to stress. Stress is a normal part of any work environment, and these types of questions immediately throw you into a stressful situation. Do you clam up? Do you get angry? The solution here is to be calm. Collect your thoughts. Remember, pausing to think is fine. Most importantly, relax as you give a response. There probably isn’t a right or wrong answer, so deliver yours with confidence.
- To see how creative you are. Businesses need people who can find creative solutions to problems. The obvious answers are gone, so they need something extraordinary. These types of questions are a great opportunity for you to show off your creativity. Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
- To see if you can think. Companies want thinkers. There aren’t many jobs anymore with clear cut instructions. They need you to not only do the work, but to figure out how to get it done. Some of these questions require you to use some logic to make an estimate, so explain your logic as you go. Even if you arrive at the “wrong” answer, the interviewer will see that you can actually think through a problem.
The key to handling these types of questions is to see them as an opportunity to showcase your specific skills and talents. The surprising thing is your answer isn’t as important as your thought process and how you deliver it.
Question: What do you think? How would you handle one of the questions above or from the video? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!