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Weird and Wacky Job Interview Questions and Answers

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Thinking That Busts Right out of the Box

Thinking That Busts Right out of the Box

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.

The Interviewer-From-Another-Planet

The Interviewer-From-Another-Planet

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 reveal 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 for asking that question, then find an answer that is both true and professionally savvy.

The Mad Scientist Interviewer Mixing Truth Serum

The Mad Scientist Interviewer Mixing Truth Serum

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, who 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 and 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 you that has helped you become a success in life.

Q: What kind of people do you dislike?

Another question to be careful with. 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.

Q:  What kind of banana are you? A:  An extremely hard-working and responsible banana.

Q: What kind of banana are you? A: An extremely hard-working and responsible banana.

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 eight or nine, 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 score high on certain intelligence tests):

Less is more only when more is too much.

— Frank Lloyd Wright

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

Experiences and Suggestions

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 10, 2014:

They may have some of their own to add!

HomeBizNews from USA on February 10, 2014:

Great Hub. I' going to share with my friends at work!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 13, 2013:

These are all from my own experiences and some of my clients have also heard these questions, ayanbuaya. In the 2010s, an even odder bunch of questions is being asked and I;ll need to make another list!

ayanbuaya on October 12, 2013:

Such a wonderful post.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 15, 2013:

@carrie Lee Night - One of the biggest space mining companies asks soe even more creative questions that are probably better than any on the list in this Hub. I have been asked every one of the questions above and find some pretty odd.

Planetary Resources asks engineer applicants fun questions like:

--What name would you give a crash test dummy, and why?

--Are your soldering skills best described as Cro-Magnon, Offensive, Survivable, Clean and Functional, Mil-spec compliant, or Angelic (cue choir sounds)?

The company is invested by Google leadership, James Cameron and other well known people. They are a lot of fun. I sent them a donation to help buy time-sharing on space telescopes for students and teachers to use. They raised enough in just 2 days through crowdsourcing to purchase/build 100 new space telescopes.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on September 15, 2013:

WOW!!! Very interesting. I have not personally ran into any questions like these in an interview, however it is always possible. I would like being asked these questions at an interview better than taking one of those one size fits all personality tests that have mutiple choices. But I'm asking myself how far is too deep with some of these questions? If you really want to analyze my personality observe me outside the box :) Thank you for writing these types of hubs, they are well appreciated and valued :) Have a wonderful week.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 08, 2013:

Hey, Spongy! Looks like the first company looked at your qualifications, etc. beforehand and pretty much made up their mind before asking one question. I wish all interviews were that type.

Jake Ed from Canada on February 08, 2013:

This summer I was asked only one question for one of my job interviews: "Why would you be good for this job?"

I found out later I was the top candidate had I not ended up accepting a superior position somewhere else which was oddly offered to me without an interview after I sent in my application a day late :/

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 17, 2012:

At this time, you will likely be hearing some stranger new questions, Please feel free to share any that you find strange here in this thread. Best of success to you in your interviews!

hon2 on April 17, 2012:

its really a big help for me.. I've been looking for interview questions that i might answer for me to be prepared.. so thankful that you created this list of questions..

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 30, 2011:

Ask open-ended questions about everyday life events. Examples:

What would you do if your favorite TV show were suddenly cancelled? Why is it yiour favorite?

Ask similar questions about music groups.

Many reoriters are asking people if they like Lady Gaga or President Obama and why or why not.

Think of things you like to talk about and ask questions about those topics. This sometimes works.

James on August 30, 2011:

This is great, but I'm in a high school debate class, and I'm going to be interviewing someone the making a speech about them, I need more questions that would get a normally shy person to talk more about them self

Carol on August 26, 2011:

Above there is a sub way interview question asking: what is the most important part of the sandwich? according to the answer its the smile. I completely disagree. The correct answer is THE BREAD, reason for this: without the bread the filling would fall apart, therefore no sandwich and definitely no smile. This reflects that the interviewee has a firm belief in team work, without team work there's nothing. the smile should be the second most important thing.

don't know who I am on August 18, 2011:

Great stuff!!!!!!

Ophelia Madden from Pacific Northwest on July 27, 2011:

Great hub!

justmesuzanne from Texas on July 07, 2011:

Yes, and working on odd questions like this and adding humor can take a lot of the pressure and stress out of ESL practice.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 07, 2011:

Oh, that's wonderful, justmesuzanne! English is complex enough without strange interview questions.

justmesuzanne from Texas on July 06, 2011:

Great HUB! Voted up and funny and shared with my ESL blog! :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 06, 2011:

Yes, three different times.

Parimala on July 06, 2011:

Hey Patty,

Love your list of questions and these questions were mind blowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.LOL. Anyways Patty,did u got a job by answering any one of these difficult(!!) questions? Eagerly awaiting for your reply.

Even I got a job by answering to the first question in this hub in the HR round???



didierdrogba445 on June 08, 2011:


I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

Pls try to keep posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Art teacher interview questions

Best regards


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 20, 2011:

someonewhoknows - good idea!

me -- We need to start another list of 100! If one thinks people do annoying things, is it good becuase they know they need to cope, or bad because one thinks people annoying? HArd to get a job these days, is it not!?

me on May 20, 2011:

My personal favorite job application questions

Walmart/Sams Club

"Many things I see at work tend to cause more problems than they solve" agree or disagree

"I know the answers to many questions" agree or disagree


"People do a lot of annoying things" agree or disagree"

SALVAONEGIANNAOLCOM from south and west of canada,north of ohio on May 18, 2011:

I would like questions like these to be answered by politicians during debates so I could record their answers and play them backwards in order to see what they are really thinking.If,nothing else it would be entertaining to say the least.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 18, 2011:

Yes, that's true, unless the manhole cover is too small in diameter! That has happened.

Al Allerton III on May 18, 2011:

[It was written on this page]:

"Why are manhole covers round?

This question is looking for a creative answer."

This might have been likely answered already...(?)...

But there really is a reason for manholes being round.

Because if they were any other shape except round, they could fit/fall thru the hole they cover. No other shape has that property (square, rectangle, triangle, oval, hexagon, octogon, etc. would fit thru sideways). But not a true circle.


-Al Allerton III-

BlissfulWriter on March 10, 2011:

I got some logic questions before. Once I was ask, "How many gas stations do you estimate is in the city?" Of course, I'm supposed to talk through my thinking process.

PeggyW on February 24, 2011:

thx this is awesome

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 22, 2011:

Chris - Best wishes for that interview! Hope it goes well.

ChrisLincoln from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on February 22, 2011:


Great questions - my answers gave me some clues as to what I find important. I'm interviewing for a teaching job after being the interviewer for the past twenty years - I needed to stop over thinking the questions, damn psychology degree!


rakoo from Midwest on February 03, 2011:

Nice to have that list. Helps to prepare

GetFitRight from Clark County, WA on January 08, 2011:

I would think that a horse would be a good choice for the animal question because they are elegant creatures that can be used for farming and transportation and all sorts of work.

Good job on getting all of this info together on here.

Dulsara on January 08, 2011:

this is a awsome set of questions. i no my friends will be fed up answering this set of million questions. anyway they will be amazed to ans. im in grade 6b livin in saudi and i am a sri lankan.hahahahahahaha

quuenieproac from Malaysia on November 13, 2010:

Good compilation, funny yes, but pity the interviewee especially the first timers. Once we (my boss and I) interviewed a guy and decided to test him on his selling techniques by giving him difficult customer situations. The interviewee suddenly stood up, said "I do not want this job anymore", he was nervous and left the room!!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 17, 2010:

Christine - He should not have said "personal" and was likley hoping for some info he was not entitled to have. However, sometimes an interviewer wants to see how a candidate overcomes a big disappointment. If the disappointment is work-related, they may see you as dedicted more to work than family and they moght like that. It's hard to generalize.

Thor - Lots of games here with some companies, for sure. Thanks for the sympathy.

Thor on September 17, 2010:

You said at the beginning of the article [quote] ... strange and different interview questions . . . around the United States [/quote]

That is a madness syndrome and thank God limited in the US only. I pity for you my US friends.

Every time in EU we know that a CEO or other personnel comes in our EU HQ bet start to roll. We call it the "Northern Madness Bet".


Christine on September 16, 2010:

I had an interview just yesterday and was asked "This can relate to your personal or professional life, but was is the biggest disapointment in your life?" I replied "I wasn't able to save my marriage" and left it at that. probably not the best answer, but it was the first thing that sprang to mind. My question is "What were they REALLY asking???

jaymelee23 from United States on July 12, 2010:

I really hate interviews lol glad I haven't had to go to one in a long time.. they are so nerve racking.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 01, 2010:

WRONG! I was asked the manhole-cover question in an interview.

privateye2500 from Canada, USA, London on June 30, 2010:

manhole covers are round because ... square ones would cut tires...?

THESE are not interview questions - these are obviously made up for one of those email jokes.

Jennifer Bates from West Palm Beach on June 25, 2010:

Great hub. I have yet to come across any of those questions on an interview, there are some weird ones in there.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 20, 2010:

LeanMan! - I am most sorry that this happened to you. A relative's work behavior should not affect a job candidate' s chances,shouls it; but interviewers fear the worst. What a shock to you!

On a lesser note, after high school I lost out on a job when job applications still requested medical history of extended family. A distant aunt had had cancer, so I was out. Not as bad a case as your shock, though.

I'll be reading your Hubs!

Tony from At the Gemba on June 20, 2010:

Here is a true question that I was asked at a very short interview... I should give some background first, I had some inkling that my father who I had not seen for 20 years had worked at the firm, but had no idea what he did, I was applying for a senior post and I was being interviewed by the owner of the firm...

The pleasantries were quite brief and the owner asked if I had any relatives at the firm to which I replied that I believed that my father had worked there but had no idea what he did..

The owner of the firm, looked me in the eye and explained that my father was his chief designer, had designed the last range of equipment which was experiencing major recall problems which was on the verge of bankrupting the company and he had recently run away with the female sales representative of their main competitor taking all of the company designs and information with him.... As he explained this he became more and more agitated and redder in the face until he asked me...

"do you think I am mad?" looking at me to actually answer..

So I said "no"...

"good then, because I would have to be mad to employ you.." at which point he left the room and I was swiftly marched out without even having had a sip of the tea that I had been given at the start of the interview..

adorababy from Syracuse, NY on May 31, 2010:

There is no wrong or right answer to these interview questions but if you are well prepared for random questions like these, you will come across as a confident and resourceful candidate.

Skyler on May 04, 2010:

OMG those are some pretty good questions... I had fun answering them.

Training Contract Interview on April 21, 2010:

What a great Hub! Love the question about if you were a Star Wars character which would you be. As for what are your weaknesses, a friend of mine once said "chocolate" and it lightened the mood and she ended up getting the job!

Paula on April 17, 2010:

How about " In the book of your life, what are the first three chapters:"

Kathleen on March 29, 2010:

Here is an interesting question - if you could build an edible house, what would it be made out of?

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on March 12, 2010:

I think the only one I know is the one about the round manhole cover. (It's the only shape that can't fall down into the hole it covers.)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 12, 2010:

Hi Liz - In a training class, we were asked to instruct an extraterrestrial about how to open a pack of cigarettes, light and smoke one and it was hilarious. A man told the "alien" to put the cig in his mouth and the alien put the whole thing in. lol Makes you think, huh?

What did they want for lemon? - an ovoid edible carbon-based citrus plant part that grows from a small blossom on a tree in spring and summer. When mature, it is the color of the sun and has an acidic flavor. Except, the color should probably be expressed as a wavelength on the color sprectrum to avoid the use of the word "color." This is fun if there is no pressure, but in an interview? That's pressure. They want someone with ability to think in an instant and to have some substantial knowledge right at hand. I hope it was a good-paying job.

Kim! - You could have said both, maybe, and gotten a laugh as well! :) Perhaps they were after what your major contribution to the company's bottom line would be. A person that said "She watched all the episodes of General Hospital" would not fare as well, perhaps, except for her determination, which would also be good. Interviews are curiouser and curiouser. Thanks for telling us about his one.

Kim on March 11, 2010:

During an interview last week, I was asked, if I died, what would I like written on my headstone. I wanted to answer "My Name, silly". However I chose "She made a difference." Not sure what they were looking for on that one.

Liz on February 15, 2010:

a friend of mine was asked to describe a lemon without using the words fruit, sour, yellow etc :)

Liz on February 15, 2010:

my personal favorite is “Why do you want to work for us?” It is mandatory to determine one’s wishes and expectations and thus choose a company. But asking why we applied to the offer is simply stupid!

“Why did I apply? Because you need a worker while I have the needed qualifications and need the money. End of story.”

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 28, 2009:

The list of brain-twisters keeps growing.

Rory1111 on July 28, 2009:

How would you weigh a plane without scales

How many times do a clock's hands overlap in a day

Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than writing

Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball

helenathegreat on June 12, 2009:

I have been very fortunate so far in that my interviews have had fairly normal questions (knock on wood)! But now that I've lost my job to the economy, I'm getting ready for a whole new round of interviewing, so this type of hub is very helpful.

Also, that video about "what is your greatest weakness" is VERY interesting. I, too, have always heard to say a strength and describe it as a weakness, but everyone else knows that trick, too. Giving an actual weakness that you are working to fix seems much more interesting and genuine. I feel like if I were an interviewer, I would hire that person on the spot!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 02, 2009:

Holy PhD-Needed-to-Work, Jocelyn!

In one research project, staff a leading insurance carrier told me that yearly budgets included a line item for "employee theft."  The rationale was that 1) employees take home pens & paperclips or a few rubberbands from the workday in a pocket without even thinking about it 2) some employees steal a small amount of office supplies and 3) allowing small dollar amts in theft provided a kind of satisfaction to employees and was cheaper than providing larger pay raises. Other employers allow workers to have that one horus a day on the Internet, citing that it increases productivity.

The county interviewers have received new professional development training in workshops, conferences,  college classes, etc. (in fact, I've attended some). Management Training Classes have also become a big business for the private companies that provide them -- It's sometimes like the psychologist I knew that gave to, and charged every patient for, EVERY new test that he was trained for in workshops, whether it was appropriate or not. 

Anyway, thanks for sharing this question and it's accepted answers. Workforce Development and Management as disciplines are becoming more compex, analytical, and their potential best practices more in need of peer review and accreditated training every year.

IMO - companies should provide the training involved in the world of such questions to the current employees that shows potential for placement into the related jobs; and to groom them for promotion. They can at least suggest courses to take if they, as employers, cannot offer professional development. That's what effective Ongoing Professional Development comprises. Blindsiding a naïve employee is only a smug "Gotcha" imo.  

I hope your sister wins that job and excels.

Jocelyn Ette Sheppard on May 01, 2009:

Sqwerly My Sis was interviewing for a County position (involving contact with public and grant money) and the panel asked one very unusual question you might like to hear. It has many connotations, some of which, we have since learned the answers to, but the origin is still a mystery...

Q-1): Do you think the average employee steals more from the company than the employer steals from him/her in a given week?

A-1): <!??!> There are four parts to this answer, the first of which is identifying the three assumptions lurking within...

a) assumes the employee steals from the company

b) assumes the employer steals from the employee

c) assumes the employee views the employer as some

kind of sneaky, subversive enemy plotting your ruin

A-1 Part2: recent stats show employees waste one hour per day of company time via e-mail, innappropriate (personal) use equipment, gossip leaks, petty write-ups,etc... so multiply the hourly wage by hrs/day, then days/week. Less than this and you sound 'Pollyanna', they're looking for a realist (mgt material); more than this and you sound 'Office Space' boss (soc/emo imbalanced = hi^insurance).

A-1 Part3: Must emphasize that you will not intentionally steal, and respect the company's work policies, but are susceptible to human falibility on rare occasions (be real, but be smart). Try to include ability to tactfully restrain others' inconsiderate manipulation of the system for bonus points...(Sis' ex-coworker used company car to go grocery shopping when attending conferences, and added lunch tab to company's expenses because of the 38 cent gas rebate! It caused the policy to be dropped for everyone.)

A-1 Part4: Phrase company time, tools, programs, and equipment as valuable resources, which you make efficient use of-- include experiential examples (Sis worked at Section 8, so she updated the clientele/waiting list daily by scrolling the Police Blotter's list through the program daily, as felons are ineligible for services; consequently, she saved an average of two full vouchers and five waitlist slots per month, which translates into a beter bottom line).

Her four years' longevity in another department of the same county, 92% on the written, and 87.5% on the psyche eval did not help her get this job when she bombed this question, Pollyanna-style. Two months after another applicant was given the job, Sis and the Supervisor of the job descript, who was a key panel interviewer coincidentally met at a function of mutual interest. They worked together on a charity project for several weeks, before the Supervisor divulged the above answers, saying Sis was better qualified for the position and they are thinking of dismissing the current employee at the end of the 12-month probation period.

Rana on April 20, 2009:

To Singh: be honest with you, I have no idea. Probably, "Do you talk much or do you prefer to listen more?" But that's not really weird in the context of the article.

ontheway on April 02, 2009:

Off The Wall

very good, I support you, come on , welcome to my hub!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 25, 2009:

Issues - Thanks for reading. These questions have driven me mad in the past. :)

Interview Doctor - Thanks, because I had NO idea about this strategy. Working is not straightforward, is it?

Is this what capitalism and it's competitiveness have come to - tricks and tax cheating and such?

issues veritas on March 01, 2009:


Thanks for the sanity check

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 01, 2009:

No, I don't think it's just you, issues. Perhaps some others in IT will chime in with us and tell us their horror stories as well.

I will say that I have seen some people that know nothing about IT, try to write resumes for IT professionals, with very bad results.

issues veritas on March 01, 2009:


Glad, that I could make you smile.

Being in the computer technical field has made me critical of HR. The trend in the last decade for HR has been to employ independent contractors to handle the filling of jobs for the company. These outsiders have a specialized skill and experience in filling job requirements. But many of these contractors and the headhunter agencies are not in general staffed with technical people. This puts them at a disadvantage when searching for applicants to fill these technical positions. This has been the rule in my experience, from all perspective of the job.

Many of them are even unfamiliar with the technical terminology, so they are at a disadvantage in determing the skills of an applicant. They then send many more resumes to the hiring manager than the hiring manager has time to go through.

This is not a condemnation of the entire HR community, it is just a reflection of my experiences and their conclusions.

I have also found that the human trait of personality in most cases trumps job qualifications. I have hired several candidates that interviewed well and had an impressive resume, only to wind up with an employee that transformed themselves into the opposite of what they portrayed in the interview. They bacame a liability to me, the rest of my group and the company. But, once in the company, it became difficult for upper upper management to remdy the situation.

It might just be the computer industry software designers and the other industries don't have these problems.

Do you think it might just me? Nah that couldn't be.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 01, 2009:

issues - How droll, but also applicable, so your post made me smile twice.

I know about Kelvin, but others may not, so thanks for that. Seems to me that many of these "different' questions are purposely ambiguous and aim to uncover throught processes, creativity, poise, problem solving, logic, determination, basic high school core course knowledge, and perhaps honesty as well. A lot of training and certification goes into the HR business nowadays and I don't think I could qualify! :)

HR people, if not trained appropriately, may well not be able to interpret these answers - as you say - any better than they could the Rorschach, HTP, Sentence Blank, or other projective testing.

Mighty Mom - Your idea of using the appropriate frame of reference (Law and Order) is a tremendous asset. It would indicate a good cultural sensitivity and cultural competency in some jobs.

I wonder if interview questions will become more straightforeward or less, with the progression of the National Recovery Act? Some employers might ask one question only - How much money can you make for me (us)?

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on February 28, 2009:

If I could think that well on my feet I wouldn't be a writer! The whole point of writing is that you get to take your time researching and compiling and crafting each sentence to your liking. Gosh, some of these really threw me! Others (like what animal/tree) are questions I routinely use with clients to help understand their business better so I can create brand messages for them.

Wonder what would happen if (like me) you are not a fan of either Start Trek or Star Wars? Perhaps I would volunteer which of the many Law & Order characters I most resemble:-).

Very cool hub and especially useful in these economic times. I bet you are getting lots of traffic from job hunters. Best, MM

issues veritas on February 28, 2009:


Another great hub.

I have some comments on a couple of the questions


What is the temperature when it's twice as cold as zero degrees?

Convert from Fahrenheit to Centigrade and then double that number. The answer is that 0 F doubled would be -17.8 C doubled, equals -35.6 Centigrade!

Ny Comment: The question is ambiguous because it doesn't mention Fahrenheit or Centigrade or Kelvin. I believe that to answer the question properly the temperature scale has to be mentioned. Otherwise, you would have to provide a conversion answer for all temparture scales. 0 degrees Centigrade would have an answer of 17.7777777...... degress Centigrade.

--------- reference

Scientists use a third scale for unique measurements, called the absolute or Kelvin scale. This scale was invented by William Thomson, also know as Lord Kelvin, a British scientist who made important discoveries about heat in the 1800's. Scientists have determined that the coldest it can get, in theory, is minus 273.15 degrees Celsius. This temperature has never actually been reached, though scientists have come close. The value, minus 273.15 degrees Celsius, is called absolute zero. At this temperature scientists believe that molecular motion would stop. You can't get any colder than that. The Kelvin scale uses this number as zero. To get other temperatures in the Kelvin scale, you add 273 degrees to the Celsius temperature. Conversion is very straight forward, though, strangely enough, the word degree is not used with the Kelvin scale. A now somewhat obsolete scale is used in specific calculations and measurements. It was created by R A F de R?aumur (1683-1757) a French scientist. He knew nothing of Fahrenheit's work and did not use mercury, but did produce a good working thermometer. He used the freezing point of water as his zero mark, and put the boiling point at 80 degrees. This scale was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in France, in scientific communities. He has a greater claim to fame for much of the other scientific work he did. W J M Rankine (1820-1872), a Scottish engineer, created his scale, which was merely the Kelvin scale using the Fahrenheit degree instead of the Celsius. It has also had some wide use in scientific communities but is of no practical use in other areas of measurement.

Kelvin, Réaumur, and Rankine

----- end reference

Can you double a temperature of zero degress Kelvin. Isn't that something like multiplying by zero?


Why are manhole covers round?

My answer: The circular shape sitting on the base lip of the hole will not let it fall through the hole as would other shape. That is an attribute of circles, the circle has only one width. Unless that width (circumference is smaller than that of the hole, it is not going through the hole.

Too picky?


In a small room you have a refridgerator, if you left the door of the 'fridge open would the temp in the room fall or would the temp in the 'fridge rise? Why?

Heat moves into less-heated areas because heated electrons move faster than cold ones, so the fridg temp would rise.

My Comment: This question is also ambiguous because we don't know the actual conditions in the scenario. It is also possible tht the temperature of the room is lower than that of the refridgerator. In which case the answer would be different. In an answer to this question, I believe that you would have to provide the data that you are using to come to your conclusion.

In addition, is the question asking for a generalization ro something more specific. For example, there would be no temperature difference from opening the fridge door if the temperatures were the same inside the fridge and in the room. If thee was a initial difference of a fraction of a degree, an oridnary thermometer wouldn't be able to detect a difference.


If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?

My Commet: I wouldn't be hear interviewing with you that is for certain.


What were the causes of the Civil War?

My Answer: People couldn't resolve their dfferences and neither side wanted to give in to the other side. Then War was the answer as in the spoils of war.


Ok, I will stop...

My pet peeve question is

"Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answer: Having your job.


My personal experience, from hiring people in the technicla field and interviewing for a technical management position as well as many obseration leads me to believe that most of the people asking these questions are not qualified to interpret them. Again, my empirical base opinion.

Other people may have different experiences.

Good hub, once again.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 29, 2008:

Amber90 - Thanks very much for your insights and possible answers - all very good, by the way. Glad you enjoyed the Hub.

ThePioneer21 - Interviewing seems to change about every 10 years or so, so look for more changes soon! I have been asked every single one of the questions in this Hub and was quite startled by some of them at first. This is a good way to advise others about what's out there. :) Thanks for reading!

ThePioneer21 from Liverpool on December 29, 2008:

I've never been asked an unusual question like this in an interview, and it would really unsettle me if I did! Great hub, its made me realise that interviews are changing and different interviewing techniques are becoming more popular

Amber90 on December 29, 2008:

What an excellent list of questions - I have already thought of my answers just in case (not that I will be asked these exactly) Very Thoughtprovoking whether you are preparing for interviews of simply looking for an interesting read.

I have been asked the manhole cover question before along with many of my friends. All of the positions were computer related - so if you are going to interview for one of those anytime soon I would read up on this list. It became popular from Microsoft when they used it in their interview questioning.

Some answers to the manhole one:

- A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover may fall in if it were inserted diagonally in the aperture - Round tubes are the strongest and most material-efficient shape against the compression of the earth around them, and so it is natural that the cover of a round tube assume a circular shape.- The bearing surfaces of manhole frames and covers are machined to assure flatness and prevent them from becoming dislodged by traffic. - Circular covers do not need to be rotated to align them when covering a circular manhole.- Human beings have a roughly circular cross-section.- A round manhole cover can be more easily moved by being rolled.- If an automobile rolls over a dislodged manhole of another shape, the sharp corners could puncture the automobile's tire, whereas a circle doesn't have corners.- It's easier to dig a circular hole.- Tradition- Aesthetics

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 18, 2008:

It was work with a high-functioning MR/DD population and their case workers in transitioning the clients to group homes and independent apartment living. It was a successful program.

nursarahlam from Malaysia on November 18, 2008:

That is really one weird question. What kind of part time job was that?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 18, 2008:

It can be very difficult. When I was still in college, I applied for a part-time job and the interviewer's first question was, "What's wrong with you that you want this job?" I replied that there was nothing wroing with me and there should not need to be anything wrong with me to work hard an do a good job in this position. The rest of the interview was usual, so I don't know what the question was driving at, really.

nursarahlam from Malaysia on November 18, 2008:

I didn't know it would be so tough to go through such an interview.. At least I have never been in such a weird session before.. great hub..

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 21, 2008:

mentor82 - A Game Show! Thanks, I never thought of that, but that is exactly what it has sometimes felt like to me. I've only had a total 5 weird questions in any single interview, though. Any more than that and I'd think it was a fake interview or a corporate culture I just can't handle. Thanks for the comment.

mentor82 from Miami, FL on September 19, 2008:

Great hub Patty. I was surprised to see that there are so many weird questions interviewers ask on a job interview. Sounds more like the person being interviewed is on a game show.

You are awesome. I aspire to be a great writer and captivator as yourself. Hope to see many more creative and thought provoking articles from you in the future.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 14, 2008:

anime-nanet -- Great stuff, huh? :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 14, 2008:

"Slumstrup" - Do not come here in an attempt to display what you think you know. Providing people an incorrect, or a correct, answer to memorize without understanding is not the way toward a successful interview or career.

anime_nanet from Portugal on September 13, 2008:

Monty Phyton movie was AWESOME!

ah ding ding ding ding

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 10, 2008:

Oh, yeah - That could be fun, too. Interviewer and candidate both laughing and connecting.

broalexdotinfo from EU on September 10, 2008:

On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you?

Say you are an 8 or 9, but would be a 10 if you could work for their company.

Loved this one. It`s like gaming their minds. People are usually naïve and some might swallow that instantly.

Great stuff here Patty.

Alex M.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 30, 2008:

Read over the questions a few a day and think about them, then on the night before the intterview, go over the ones that seem most problematic to you - your mind will also work on them while you sleep!

Best success --


KittyDuck on June 30, 2008:

Have my first interview this weekend.

So nervous:(

Thanky ou so much for this page though, at least i can prepare!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 16, 2008:

Interviewing can be quite trying and this page should help!

In The Doghouse from California on June 16, 2008:


As always a very well written Hub with lots of great information regarding interview questions that might be asked. These definitely seem like some strange questions, but your explanations for the reasons they may be asked makes them seem more reasonable. This would be a great reference for any type of interview situation at all. Thanks.

stylezink from Atlanta, GA. on June 07, 2008:

Wow those are some interesting questions. I'll be a little prepared if I ever get asked any of those. LOL! and I thought some of the questions I've been asked were weird those blow them away.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 20, 2008:

Hey compu-smart! - thanks very much. Good references are always appreciated!!

Lucky you to never have had such an interview. :)

Tony Sky from London UK on May 20, 2008:

Holy moly!!

If you need a reference for any job, i and many hubbers here will give you:)

I have never had a job interview in my life but if i do ever get too, which i doubt!! i will be very well prepared thanks to your help;)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 20, 2008:

Thanks compu-smart! I guess I could be ready for any of these questions now. Sometimes interviewers look at me askance when they learn I have worked in workforce development - like I know too much. :) 

I recall my first interview out of college - I went to an employment agency and they asked me what I wanted to do. I explaiuned that I had several options and they gave me an actual  psychological examination - a long personality instrument - which was illegal for them so to do at the time in that state. The supervisor read my resume and found degrees in psychology and literally yelled at a secretary to take the test away from me.  I was so confused at the time - Yhey then said they could only find minimum wage jobs for me and did not interview me at all.  What an experience!

Tony Sky from London UK on May 20, 2008:


Great hub as always and a lot of work and info here!!. If anyones tooled up for job interview its you and im sure you will get the position next week, if you dont its their loss!:)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 15, 2008:

Thanks Bill. I have been asked every one of them.

Bill Gassett on May 15, 2008:

Wow Patty what an interesting piece of work. You have put together quite a list of interesting questions.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 10, 2008:

I do try to contribute works of value to Hub Pages. I am happy that you like this one, ninaredza!

ninaredza from Malaysia on May 09, 2008:

You have made Hubpages a better place to live in! Keep churning up these interesting articles.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 01, 2008:

The current wisdom and best practices of the workforce development community in my locale advise to choose an actual weakness that we have and describe to the Interviewer our plan of action to correct this wqeakness and how much progress we have made and what exactly we have improved so far --

I think bluntly telling the truth 'all the time" could indeed be a weakness and the REAL weakness, because on the job, one needs to known when to keep one's mouth shut completely and when to be truthful without being aggressive. Many people do not yet have those skills.

For other questions in this list, you might have your own best answers that would work for you. If so, please feel free to post them here. All people can beenfit fomr your experience.

The question about the first chapter title in '~Thermodynamics' could be to test to see if you are thorough and attentive at work - do you skip things because you think you all ready know them all?

Plese feel free to post more. You provoke good thought. 

Lex LaCroix from Orlando, Florida on May 01, 2008:

great topic. very interesting. I'll be sure to check it out again next time I am in the process of interviewing.

greathub from Earth on May 01, 2008:

My English teacher at my university told me that they sometimes ask a question: "What is the name of the first chapter of your thermodynamics book?"

Interestingly the first chapter of almost all the engineering books is not read very carefully because it contains basics that have already been learned.

So, if you get stuck on this question your impression on the interviewer is beyond any doubt pathetic.

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on May 01, 2008:

I was once asked what grade I got for O level Chemistry (an exam I'd taken when I was in my late teens). The job was as Chief Accountant - no chemisty required.

Maybe the question was a test of my long term memory?

greathub from Earth on May 01, 2008:

Very interesting article. But here I would like to know about the following questions and answers mentioned in your hub:


If I assembled 3 of your former supervisors in a room and asked them about you, what would they say about you that you would say is not true?

It would likely be good to say that they all probably would over-praise you; that you worked hard for all your supervisors, but are a humble individuals.

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 and try to relate the animal to the skills needed on the job. - no snakes and nothing fluffy and cuddly. For trees, pick an oak (strong and long-lived) and not a weeping willow.


First of all my teacher of "Business Communication and Ethics" teacher advised our class never to be extra-smart in an interview. He gave us an example of an interview. An interviewee was asked: "Tell me your biggest weakness." The interviewee replied: "My biggest weakness is that I speak the truth all the time. People get annoyed with this habit of mine." My teacher said this is not a good answer because interviewee is trying to hide his real weakness and trying to replace it with something that is considered good.

The 'supervisor' and 'tree(animal)' questions' answers look similar to the interviewee's answer mentioned in the anecdote which my teacher told me.

Please clarify your stance.

The second question is regarding this question:


What makes you angry?

Be careful about admitting to having episodes of anger. Indicate that you handle problems as they arise so that they don't build up to the anger point.


I think people who "handle problems as they arise so that they don't build up to the anger point" are very rare. Won't this answer give impression to the interviewer that the interviewee is trying to be very 'cool' and 'smart' and not honest and straightforward?

Eagerly waiting for your reply,

Muhammad Ali

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 30, 2008:

Thanks very much; I'm glad you visited, Sandilyn -- Lucky you that you never need to interview again!