1.A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?" 2.“If you won R10 million in the lotto, what would you do with it?” 3.Or maybe, “If your life were a movie, what would the trailer be like?”
Fun questions, right? Su-u-ure… if you’re at a dinner party, bantering over a glass of red with some intellectual friends. But flippin’ awkwardif you’re in the middle of a job interview.
It turns out that it isn’t that unusual to encounter these kinds of interview questions anymore.
If job interviews weren’t already stressful enough, they ask these openly interpretable questions designed to shake you up. I mean, “What do you want from me?” (Forbeseven considers these kinds of questions for interns!)
Apart from offering a good laugh at your expense, this type of questioning can, in many ways, offer an interviewer some insight into your on-the-spot problem-solving abilities and whether they align with companyculture and requirements.
So, you’d better hope you’ve got some!Or,you know, you could fake it and…
Prepare for the worst
Life as you know it is about to end.
You’re taking the leap. Putting yourself out there. Opening yourself up to…inspection. You’ve practiced a million times in the mirror – the insightful facial expression, the ‘unrehearsed’answers,and the straight-backed, “I’m-serious-about-my-work” stance.
Much like the rest of your more ordinary interview questions, you’ll need to prepare for the strange ones too – and this means research. What sort of challenges are you expected to face on the job? What’s the company culture like? And most important of all – what strange questionscan you expect?
Think before you speak
You’re allowed to think. You should think – impulsive people are not always well-received in a company where your decisions will have a lasting impact.
Stop to consider what they’re really asking and answer in a way that shows off your thinking process. It will be important to look like a good fit for the company.
For example:When answering the movie trailer question, suggest that it would offer a series of (listed) brilliant achievements and happy moments with loved ones.
Or, if you’re applying for a finance position and are thrown the lotto question, think about sounding “financially responsible”,not suggesting it be blown on fast cars and women.
Have a sense of humour
“Tennis balls are fuzzy in order to help your walker slide gently across the floor.”
These questions are designed to throw you off, but they don’t have to take away your personality. Recognise the light-heartedness of the situation and don’t be afraid to laugh!
You can also be imaginative with your answers – especially when interviewing for a creative position.Justremember to try to keep in line with what (you think) the company’s looking for.
Turn the tables on them
It’s often easy for an interview to be guided by the interviewer – a formula thatcan keep you in reaction mode. So, if you’re confident enough, break the rules and ask them some tricky questions, like “Why did you choose this company?”
Not only will this demonstrate your aptitude for forward-thinking, but it’s also likely to strengthen your confidence for when they do decide to ask you the tricky questions.
At this point, you will have already established yourself as something of a smarty-pants – answering the weirdoes will just be confirmation.
Practice makes perfect
It is possible to train yourself to respond well to this wacky interrogation style. There are lists and lists of these types of questions available on the net – all you need is a little initiative to hunt them down and some timeto role-playwith an obliging friend ormirror.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
•Start with some of the most common interview questions to cover the basics. •Have a look at Glassdoor’s “25 oddball interview questions for 2014” and others. •Research Glassdoor’s “How to answer 4 types of weird interview questions”. •And of course, make sure you check out some killer questions to ask interviewers.