by Larry Alton, UndercoverRecruiter
“If you were a candy bar, what kind would you be?” As useless as this question sounds, don’t be surprised if you get asked something like this during a job interview. Though you have no control over the questions you’ll be asked during the interview, you have complete control over how you answer them.
Some interview questions will be strange simply because the interviewer looked them up on the internet a few minutes before you arrived. Others will be strange, but have a purpose behind them, and if you answer them well, the interviewer will be impressed.
Here are some of the craziest questions you could be asked at a job interview and how to answer them.
“If you were a survivor on a deserted island, what one person would you like to have with you?”
This question is one of the oldest in the book, and it’s asked during “get-to-know-you activities” and “trust building exercises” about as often as in job interviews. It’s generally asked in an attempt to gauge your problem-solving skills. For example, if you say you’d like to have Justin Bieber with you, you’re in for some great entertainment, but will probably be on the island for a while.
However, if you were to say Benjamin Franklin, that would send a different message to your employers. It lets them know that you recognize the value of an independent thinker who isn’t afraid to work his inventive magic to get the job done, despite ridicule. When you’re asked this question at a job interview, be thinking of a true problem-solver you admire and the reasons you admire them.
“Which superhero could defeat any other superhero?”
The value of this question is that it allows the employer an opportunity to assess your personality, which can be an important factor in any work environment. The answer largely depends on where you’re working. If you’re looking for an upbeat, relaxed environment, it’s okay to get a little competitive and say, “Batman, he has the coolest toys so he will win every time.”
If you’re working in a more serious, uptight environment, it’s still okay to show your fun side. However, keep the answer more rooted in logic such as, “According to science, the Hulk would have to win because he is virtually indestructible.”
If you’re not sure, go for a diplomatic approach such as, “I like to think that true superheroes would never go into battle against their own. In the end, they would all end up fighting for the same cause.”
Furthermore, remember that it’s often appropriate to ask questions of clarification before answering a question like this one. Questions might include:
- “Where is the fight taking place?”
- “Is kryptonite fair game?”
- “Do they have special weapons?”
This shows that you are actively considering the question and working through all your options to determine the most probable outcome. It ultimately shows that you have problem-solving aptitude.
“What’s your opinion on rubber ducks?”
You may not believe it, but similar questions have often been asked at job interviews. It’s a random question thrown into the mix to test your sense of humor, even in a serious situation. Companies who often deal with high-end clients need employees who can keep the mood light, even in formal meetings. Be thinking of a clever response that will catch an employer’s attention, and maybe even spark a laugh such as, “I’ve never cared one quack about them.” A ridiculous answer, but effective.
“If you could be any animal, what would you be?”
This question comes with a variety of different objects in place of “animal,” but employers who use any variation of the curious query are all looking for the same thing: logical reasoning. You can pick pretty much any animal, as long as you have a sound reasoning behind it that works with the job you’re considering.
For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, you most likely want to show off both creativity and an ability to meet deadlines. You could say that you would like to be a butterfly because every butterfly has a unique and striking pattern, and they migrate every winter like clockwork.
“How would you title your autobiography?”
Everybody likes a creative, team player, and this question can tell an employer more about those two things than you might think. The titles of autobiographies range from mundane to intriguing, and some are more arrogant than others.
For example, if you say the title should be “How I Made My Millions,” it will make you look a lot more arrogant and unoriginal than if you choose the more humble and creative “Are We There Yet?” which shows a humility and creativity most employers want in their interviewees.
Essentially, the key to mastering the strangest of interview questions is getting to the heart of each question and understanding exactly what the interviewer wants you to say. Each answer should aim to show your strengths, even when it seems ridiculous.