Interviews are daunting enough without oddball questions thrown into the mix. You’ve prepared what you’re going to wear, how to do your hair, how to answer standard interview questions and suddenly you’re thrown off-guard with a bizarre question like “how many basketballs can you fit into this room?” If you’re applying for a job that has nothing to do with science and mathematics, you will definitely wonder why you’re being asked this crazy question.
There a number of reasons why you’re being asked these questions; the employer gets to see the real you and not a rehearsed answer that they have heard 100 times before. They also want to see how well you work under pressure and how quick you are at problem-solving. David Whitby, UK Country Manager at Glassdoor, on Business Insider says: "Preparing for an interview thoroughly means being ready for anything, even a curveball question not directly related to the job. Remember, it’s not about getting the right answer, more how you cope under pressure."
Here are the top 20 most-used unusual interview questions and answers to blow your interviewers socks off:
1. What Magical Powers Would You Like to Have?
There is no right answer for this diverse question; choose a magic power that would help you with work. Maybe teleporting so your commute would be quicker? Make sure it’s something you actually believe in. Otherwise recruiters will see through your bulls**t.
2. If You Were a Fruit, What Kind Would You Be and Why?
Don’t automatically blurt out your favourite fruit! Think of a fruit that relates to your personality. For example, you could say a pineapple because you have a strong exterior (character) but are also very sweet and compassionate.
3. If You Could Have Dinner With Three Famous People That Are No Longer Living, Who Would You Ask?
This unusual question will allow you to talk about people in your life who you might find inspiring. If you are interviewing for a fashion job you could pick designers that inspired you but are no longer living, like Coco Chanel. Whoever you choose, think of a few examples of their work and how it has influenced you and your career.
4. How Many Hours Would It Take to Clean Ever Single Window in [Insert Major City]?
What?? I don’t even know how many windows there are in London! There really isn’t enough time to sit there and calculate the answer to this odd question. Instead, show the employers how you would go about finding the answer. First, you would research how many buildings there are, then, say that each building has 12 windows, and then multiply the amount of time spent on one window by the rest of the calculations.
5. How Do You Get an Elephant in a Fridge?
Come on; the questions just keep getting weirder… This one is to test your logic. You could answer in a number of ways:
Option 1: How big is the fridge? This shows that you question before you act, and don’t just do things because you’re told to - you are capable of using your initiative.
Option 2: If you’re a zookeeper - you could take the giraffe out first. This way you've considered the size and practical issues, and instead of questioning the action you're finding a response to it.
6. If the Time Is Quarter Past Three. What Is the Angle Measurement on the Clock?
The answer is 7.5 degrees. As the hour hand moves around the clock every 12 hours and there is 360 degrees in 12 hours or 30 degrees per hour. It’s a good idea is just to memorise this answer.
7. If You Had Three Minutes Alone in the Lift With the CEO What Would You Say?
“Ummm nothing… I would be too nervous to speak to him!” is what you may be thinking. But, to properly answer this awkward question, you will need to show your knowledge and interest in the company and ask something that will be memorable. If you are working for a PR firm you could say something like “I loved the recent advertorial with X magazine, are you planning to work with Y magazine in the future? Their audience is perfect for the brand”. Chances are that the project is already in the pipeline and the CEO will like that you are on the same wavelength.
8. What Will You Be Famous For?
Don’t go for the standard beauty pageant answer “solving world peace”. Opt for something you truly believe in and that preferably relates to the job.
9. How Many Nappies per Year Are Purchases in [Insert Country]?
How on earth would you know the answer to this crazy question – you’re not a Pampers rep, and you don’t even have a child to know how many nappies they go through. Take a deep breath and make a rough estimate by approximating the birth rate, and how many a baby would need every day.
10. What Would You Do If You Were the One Survivor in a Plane Crash?
This strange question is to get a glimpse of your personality. Would you look to see if there are any food supplies around, or venture off to see if you can find a town or somewhere to call for help? Your answer will determine if you’re a lone-wolf or if you are happy to merge within a group.
11. If You Woke Up and Had 2,000 Unread Emails and Could Only Answer 300 of them, How Would You Choose Which Ones to Answer?
This is probably one of the weirdest questions but will give a clear insight into how you prioritise (which is an essential skill for any job role). You could filter by sender to keep your important clients happy. Or do a quick scan, look at the subject line and reply to the ones that are most important to you.
12. What's Your Favorite 90s Jam?
This question is just designed to see what your personality and taste in music is like; maybe to see if you can relate with your colleagues or not. Answer this question honestly, but avoid song titles with swear words or provocative language.
13. Who Is Your Favourite Disney Princess?
Like the above question, the hiring manager wants to an insight into your personality. If your favourite Disney Princess is Belle, explain why? Because she didn’t want to settle for anything and stuck with her instinct, looked beyond superficial looks and fell in love with someone’s character.
14. Who Would Win in a Fight Between Spiderman and Batman?
“I don’t know – I’m not into comics!” is what you’re thinking… but don’t say that. Take a moment to think of their abilities; we all know spider-man has super strength and can climb up walls and batman…well, he just uses gadgets and is a good fighter right? So pick one of the two and explain their strengths.
A funny answer found on Glassdoor was:
“It already happened, and Spiderman won. Why else do you think Batman has to wear his underpants on the outside? That was the losing bet...”
15. How Would Your Colleagues Describe You?
This isn’t a chance for you to give an egotistical answer and blow your own trumpet.
Pick qualities that would be admirable in the workplace and use examples from your previous job.
“I think my coworkers would describe me as punctual, hard-working and trustworthy. Punctual because I was always a few minutes early for meetings. Hard-working; because I never missed a deadline and ensured I never left the office until the assignment was finished. Trustworthy because my boss entrusted me to conduct employee reviews and host my own meetings that were all kept confidential.”
16. How Do You Explain the Colour Yellow to Someone Who Cannot See?
Obviously, you can’t describe the actual colour, but you can describe how the colour makes you feel; “the heat of sunlight in springtime streaming through a window and giving you a warm, fuzzy feeling.”
17. Tell Me a Joke…
Are you at the wrong interview? You didn’t sign up to be a comedian… but funny enough, this question does get asked in interviews. The safest bet is to have a clever, short and sweet joke memorised. Surely your dad knows hundreds of them? They want to see if you’re a team-player and are up for a laugh.
18. What Did You Have for Breakfast?
Really?! Employers want to see that you are organized enough to allocate some time to have a proper breakfast before work and not just grab something on the way out. If you really aren’t a breakfast person, you can be honest. You won’t be judged.
19. What Books Are You Reading?
All they’re trying to see here is if you have an interesting personality and whether it matches the company’s profile. For example, if you like reading Victorian literature, this shows the interviewer your interest in culture. If that last book you’ve read is 50 Shades of Gray - don’t be ashamed to say it. Chances are your interviewer has read it too!
20. What Would Be Your Theme Song Every Time You Walk Into a Room?
My mind automatically goes to the Rocky theme-song – too cliché? Choose a song that’s empowering and lifts your spirits up. It could be a track from your work-out playlist.
There are many more oddball questions interviewers are devising to throw you off, the main thing is to smile, take your time, keep good body language, use your sense of humour and try to relate back to the job when possible. Lyn Taylor, a national workplace expert told the Business Insider that “asking these kind of oddball queries help interviewers delve into the raw, uncut you."
Have you ever been asked a strange question in an interview? How did handle the situation? We want to hear from you in the comment section below…