Quirky Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

January 3rd, 2014

Why would an interviewer ask you “If you were a cereal, what kind would you be?” If you were asked whether you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek, would you wonder if you’d walked into the wrong interview? “Fun” interview questions are often used to test for certain attributes: your ability to think on your feet, your creativity, your ability to remain calm under strange circumstances and how you react to the unexpected.

There’s really no way to prepare for this type of question, except to know how to handle them:

  • Acknowledge funny interview questions with a smile and pause to collect your thoughts before answering.
  • Decide whether the question is illegal or unethical.  If so, feel free to stand up and walk out.
  • Try to evaluate whether there is a right or wrong answer
  • Be ready to defend your answer – you may be asked why you didn’t choose the other options or answer differently

What really matters is that you are able to answer the question and articulate your reasons.

Zappos.com and Google are two companies that are famous for asking odd questions and difficult brainteasers during interviews. But other companies have been known to throw a few curveballs. What would you answer to the following questions, which have actually been asked during interviews?

  • “What color is your brain?”
  • “If you were a professional wrestler, what would your stage name be?”
  • “How many airplanes are in the skies over the US right now?”
  • “How would you open a locked and sealed window in your hotel room?”
  • “Who won the Super Bowl last year?”.
  • “If we asked you to wear a bumblebee costume, walk around and hand out candy to employees, would you do it?”

And by the way, here are examples of questions that are illegal, unethical or both:

  • “You don’t have kids, do you?”
  • “Have you ever used state assistance?”
  • “What church do you attend?”
  • “What is a secret about you that no one knows?”

You can’t only prepare for the standard interview questions anymore. So when you’re practicing your handshake and ironing your clothes the night before the interview, think about how you would answer an unexpected question like these.

Or, if you prefer not to have any unpleasant surprises at your next interview, come and work for Synerfac! We work with prescreened clients whose needs we know, and we help prepare all candidates for interviews.

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