Quirky Questions in a Professional Job Interview? How to Prepare Your Answers

June 20th, 2014

If you’ve ever interviewed before, you’ve heard some of the most common questions, probably more than once:

  • “Tell me about yourself.”
  • “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • “Describe a situation in which you made a mistake, how you dealt with it, and what you learned.”

These days, though, more interviewers are taking a page from the Zappos, Apple and Dell handbooks and asking some pretty offbeat questions:

  • “If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?”
  • “How would you guide an alien through making a peanut butter sandwich?”
  • “If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?”

Why? Employers want to see how your mind works. They want to see if you can think creatively, whether you’ll be a good fit for the company, and how well you can react to spur-of-the-moment scenarios.

Obviously, it’s harder to prepare for these types of questions since they don’t tend to be repeated frequently. But there is a method to the madness. Here’s how to strategize:

1. If you’re presented with a bizarre scenario.

One unfortunate soul was once asked in an interview, “Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?” On the plus side, most of the time there is no right or wrong answer for a question like this. The employer wants to test your creativity, your personality, and your ability to think on your feet.

2. If you’re asked to “guess how many…”

What if you’re asked “How many gas stations would you say there are in the United States?” In this case, you may want to share your thought process out loud. The interviewer wants totest your critical thinking ability. Again, don’t worry about being right. Just come up with a logical way of arriving at an answer.

3. If you’re asked to describe yourself with a song, a movie, a book or a fictional character.

Most of us could tell an interviewer which Star Wars character we would be, but a song? Take a moment or two to think about your response. Figure out a song that represents your work ethic—so don’t use “9 to 5” or “Like a Boss!” Try to be clever but concise.

Worried about interviewing? Work with the professionals at Synerfac, where we’ll help prepare you for whatever comes up. We partner with candidates and match them to great job opportunities in New Jersey and beyond. Contact us today to learn more!

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