We all know that it when it comes to job interviews we would be foolish not to adequately prepare. So we take the time to update our resumes and include reliable references just to name a few. Yet over the last ten years or so, many large corporations have been throwing a wrench into our time-honored interview preparation techniques making getting that dream job just that little bit more challenging.
Whilst we organize ourselves to answer a multitude of work-related inquiries, such as “what is your biggest strength on the job?” we now must be prepared to answer a variety of other questions that seem random, weird, and perhaps even downright off the wall. Here are the top ten oddball questions that you may be asked in a job interview.
Q: What is your favorite drink?
A: Potential employers may ask this to assess your personality. Your interviewer might be looking for someone who says “beer,” since he or she will then fit into a laid-back work environment. However, as companies may be looking to keep health insurance costs low, they may try to hire non-drinkers. Assess the environment and image of your potential workplace before answering.
Q: Is your college GPA reflective of your potential?
A: It is best to say “no.” A GPA is based on what you have achieved, not what you are capable of achieving in the future. Our potential changes, grows and evolves all the time. If you had a low GPA, give examples of how you adjusted to college life and made the best of a difficult situation. If you had a high GPA, give examples of how your GPA is just a number, and you had other accomplishments in college that you feel are more representative of your true potential.
Q: How would you explain this computer program in 3 sentences to your eight-year-old nephew?
A: Albert Einstein once stated that if you can’t explain something to a six year old, you don’t really understand it yourself. So choose your words carefully and be sure not to go past that 3 sentence limit. The interviewer will be assessing your confidence and the precision of the words you choose. Don’t use industry jargon.
Q: Room, desk, and car: which of these three things would you clean first?
A: This interviewer is trying to assess how you manage your time when you have many responsibilities. Consider which space will first be seen by other people (customers). For example, if friends gather at your desk for lunch, you would clean this first because you want to provide a hygienic place for them to eat. Or if you give your children a ride home from school every day, you would clean your car first in order to keep it sanitary and safe for them. Think about how these spaces affect other people whom you come in contact with, not just yourself.
Q: If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
A: Steer clear of anything that is self deprecating or self inflating. Your potential employer is trying to assess your personality, self image, and accomplishments.
Q: Who do you like best, your mom or your dad?
A: It may be best to veer on the side of caution and simply say “both,” then explain each individual’s best attributes. Try not to indicate any major family problems. Even if you had a tumultuous relationship with one parent, indicate how he or she taught you an important lesson in life that has helped you to become successful.
Q: Can you describe an atom?
A: An atom is like a tiny solar system. The electrons orbit the protons and neutrons the same way that the planets orbit the sun. Most atoms have the same number of electrons as they do protons.
Q: How would you design a spice rack for a blind person?
A: Think about using either touch, smell, or sound. For example, each bottle could be labeled in Braille. Or, each bottle could possess a vented lid so that the user could smell the spice. Your potential employer is asking you this question to assess your creativity and problem solving skills.
Q: Who was the worst boss you have ever had?
A: You should never complain about a former boss in a job interview. State that the “worst” boss you had was simply one that did not teach you as much as the “best” one did. Point out some of the qualities that your best boss had. Try to gear this question in a positive direction as much as possible.
Q: What do you think of garden gnomes?
A: The most important thing here is not to get frustrated at the ridiculousness of the question, because the interviewer is looking to see how you roll with the punches. Consider proposing that garden gnomes could be helpful if they scare plant-eating deer away, or that they could help attract children to your garden with their whimsy.
How you react to an unexpected question says a lot about your personality. The interviewer will be looking to see whether you react calmly, laugh nervously, or even become angry. Your interviewer is interested in seeing how you approach an unexpected situation, and how you solve a certain type of problem. Try to simply respond with something that makes you memorable and you’ll go far!