Team Southwest

Unusual interview questions and how best to answer them

Unusual interview questions

Most of us expect the usual questions; ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’, ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’ during an interview. However, some companies are resorting to more unusual questions in order to secure the best calibre candidates for a role.

More often than not, weird interview questions help the interviewer discern some things about you and your personality. Bear in mind that when your interviewer asks you these types of questions, they are not looking for accuracy. ~ Sharon Brandwein @ The Ladders

Here are some examples of the many odd questions that are used by some companies:

  • ‘What song best describes your work ethic?’ (Dell)
  • ‘On a scale of one to 10, rate me as an interviewer’ (Kraft Foods)
  • ‘What do you think about when you are alone in your car?’ (Gallup)
  • ‘How many cows are there in Canada?’ (Google)
  • ‘Pick two celebrities to be your parents’ (Urban Outfitters)
  • ‘My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?’ (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • ‘Would you rather ride a giraffe to work or an elephant? What are the advantages and drawbacks of your preferred method of transportation?’ (this one comes from the Lever team)
  • ‘If I approached you and asked you to mail a bunch of pet Gerbils to our best customers, what would be the first step you’d take to accomplish this?’ (according to the Ladders, this crazy question is a favourite of Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder and President of Quality Logo Products)

These unexpected questions are of course designed to catch you off guard and see how you react without having a pre-prepared answer. Interviewers want to know that you can be calm under pressure. Unusual questions can also help break the ice, so they are more likely to be used at the beginning of an interview, rather than at the end.

For most of these unusual or wacky questions, you are not expected to know the answer. It is more about the way you tackle them and having the confidence to give an original response. When faced with an unusual question, it is worth taking a few moments to think about your response, rather than coming out with the first thing that comes into your head. Repeating the question is a good way of giving yourself a few extra second of thinking time. Always try to answer the question, it shows that you have confidence and are willing to work through a problem.

For more unusual interview questions together with some suggested answers, watch this video:

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