Weird and Wacky Job Interview Questions and Answers
Off-The-Wall Interview Questions
At your last employment interview, how did you really feel as a job candidate and as a person? Did you feel as if you were being dissected by a mad scientist? Did you wonder if there were aliens in the inner office feeding questions to your interviewer telepathically?
Interview questions are becoming stranger every year. In an attempt to catch the interviewee off guard, HR representatives are devising increasingly bizarre questions to ask potential employees.
Some job candidates feel that this trend has gone too far; these sentiments may increase since credit background checks are being ruled unlawful in many US states and employers will need to find other, more creative ways to delve into a potential employee's past.
But have no fear: Read on to prepare good answers to these horrible interview questions.
Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits? Where Are These Interview Questions Coming From?
In the last ten to fifteen years, some strange and different interview questions have come into use among job interviewers around the United States. In fact, interviewers are inventing new brain-stimulating questions every five years or more often. Job candidates may find it hard to keep up with the new types of questions!
Some of these questions have the feel of those pop psychology quizzes from magazines, some sound like psychiatric examinations, some seem like logic puzzles, and some don't make much sense at all.
These off-the-wall questions are designed to make you think creatively and quickly, tap into your inner resources, and reveal your true personality.
Unusual questions are often asked by an interviewer in order to find out more about your inner self and how your mind works. It is a way to get to know you better without asking questions that are overly personal (and possibly illegal).
Your answer to such questions will tell the interviewer whether you will be a good fit for the company, as well as revealing how creative you are and how well you can think in spur-of-the-moment scenarios.
Before answering a question you feel is odd, take a deep breath and think for a moment or two, then answer candidly. Remember to think about the company's motivation is for asking that question, then find an answer that is both true and professionally savvy.
Wild Card Interview Questions
The following questions have been used recently in job interviews around the country. Some of the questions offer tips to help you understand what the job interviewer is looking for.
Q: If you were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree (animal) would you be?
For either one, pick something strong and/or intelligent like a tiger or lion (no snakes and nothing fluffy or cuddly) and try to relate the animal to the skills needed on the job. For trees, pick an oak (strong and long-lived) and not a weeping willow.
Q: If you were a Star Trek® or Star Wars® character, which one would it be?
This is easy. There are a lot of fun pop quizzes based on sci-fi personalities. Pick a character that is a leader and a bit of a risk-taker: Captain Kirk, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Spock, Sarek, etc.
Q: What is your favorite color?
There are some personality and work-style quizzes based on colors.
Q: You are invited to a large cocktail party at a country club. When you arrive, the room where the party is being held is already over half full of people. How do they react to you when you enter the room?
This question tests for self-confidence.
Q: Why are manhole covers round?
This question is looking for a creative or logical answer. For instance, a square manhole cover requires precision to replace, but a round cover doesn't.
Q: What is your favorite drink?
Personality may be a little like a drink, but an answer to this question also may tell your employer whether you drink alcohol or not. In order to keep health insurance costs low, the company may try to hire non-drinkers or those who don't immediately think of alcohol when they hear the word "drink."
Q: What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
This will reveal your planning and personality traits.
Q: What is the last book you read?
Employers like employees who read the newspaper and magazines related to their industry.
Q: If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Your answer shows your interests and creativity and could give them a clue about what your ideal self looks like and what you're aiming to be.
Q: What was the last movie you went to see/favorite movie/favorite song?
Your answer will reveal your interests.
Q: How would you explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew?
This one shows creativity, depth of knowledge, and your ability to summarize a topic.
Q: How many gas stations would you say there are in the United States?
This one displays how you go about solving a large problem. It's about estimations vs. actual calculations and sometimes you can do both.
Q: If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
Your answer reveals your creativity and your professional goals. It's also a bit of a trick question: will you latch onto the idea that you can have anything you desire or focus on what job you could imagine performing on another planet?
Q: If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Your answer reveals your interests and personality.
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role?
Your answer shows self-confidence, personality, and how you see yourself.
Q: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Reveals creativity and personality.
Q: If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Your answer shows creativity, personality, and offers a summary of your accomplishments.
Q: If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
An opportunity to express your goals and your planning style.
Q: If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
Goes to personality. May also let the company know if you are likely to enjoy unhealthy food and raise their insurance rates!
Q: If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Your response shows creativity, goals, planning, generosity, responsibility, and desire to work.
Q: If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
Your answer reveals personality.
Q: If you were a car, what kind would you be?
Your response reveals personality.
Q: If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
The answer reveals creativity, personality, and accomplishments.
Q: Who do you like best, your mom or dad?
I'd be careful of this one and say I liked them both. Don't indicate family problems or gender preferences or preferential treatment in an interview. Say something about what each parent taught that has helped you become a success in life.
Q: What kind of people do you dislike?
Another question to be careful with, because if you name any group (minority class, political party, or make any other sweeping generalization) you will be affiliating yourself with a hate group or branded a bigot. Say that there are no particular people you dislike, although you find some behaviors annoying, such as not completing work assignments on time, wasting the company's time gossiping, etc.
Q: What makes you angry?
Be leery about admitting to losing your temper. Indicate that you handle problems as they arise so that they don't build up to the anger point.
Q: How many close friends do you have?
Most people do not have a lot of close friends, so don't say you do if you don't. Saying you have a lot of really close friends may make you seem like a liar or a shallow person. Most people have a handful of really close friends and many more casual friends.
In a small room, you have a refrigerator. If you left the door of the fridge open, would the temperature in the room fall, or would the temperature in the fridge rise? Why?
For a question like this, if you don't know the answer, it might be a good idea to show your logic by musing aloud about possible contributing factors. For example, if my refrigerator stops running if the door is left open for longer than a specific time (a few minutes), so the refrigerator temperature rises, beginning at the shutoff time. The room temperature may rise by an insignificant amount at first, but the temperature reaches equilibrium between room and refrigerator in an hour or two.
Q: At a Subway Sandwich interview: What's the most important part of the sandwich?
Correct answer: the smile.
A Question of Intelligence: Interview Questions Designed to Test Your Brain
Q: If I assembled three of your former supervisors in a room and asked them about you, what would they say about you that is not true?
It would be good to say that they would all over-praise you; that you worked hard for all your supervisors but you're a humble individual.
Q: What are the first three things you'd do on your first day at work here?
Include one about getting to know the staff and daily activities and two organizational items.
What were the causes of the Civil War?
You may also be asked this about the Revolutionary War or the War in Iraq. Employers want you to know how to prevent big problems, and learning from the past should help us know what to do (and not to do) in the future.
Can you describe an atom?
Say it is like a tiny solar system. Name the major components (protons, neutrons, electrons) and subatomic particles, if applicable.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you?
You might say you are an 8 or 9, but would be a 10 if you could work for their company. However, that might seem too simpering and coy. Much below an 8, though, and the interviewer(s) will assume depression and worry about the high cost of employee health insurance and absenteeism.
Q: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Use solid words like resourceful, intelligent, quick, dependable, energetic, honest, sincere, determined, goal-directed, competitive, innovative, etc.
Q: How would you design a spice rack for a blind person?
Any creative answer would be great–braille labels, "talking" containers, etc. Your answer will reveal your ability to innovate and empathize.
Q: What is the temperature when it's twice as cold as zero degrees?
Convert from Fahrenheit to Centigrade and then double the resulting number. The answer is that 0° F equals -17.8° C and when doubled, that equals -35.6° Centigrade. -35.6° C is the answer.
A: Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.
Do not complain about former bosses. You might state that some may not have taught you as much as others did, and then point out a few good qualities of a favorite past boss.
The following is a quote that can be remembered in answering several types of odd interview questions. It comes from a famous architect (architects often scoring high on certain intelligence tests):
"Less is more only when more is too much."–Frank Lloyd Wright
How long have you been looking for a job?
How do you feel about weird and wacky interview questions?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS