Posted in Career Best Practices
“If you were a half-gallon of ice cream, what flavor would you be, and why?”
“How many golf balls will fit inside a 747?”
“Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses?”
When an interviewer throws a curveball question your way, do you take it in stride – or break into a full-blown flop sweat?
If it’s the latter, today’s post is just for you.
Whether you call them “quirky,” “unusual,” or “oddball,” unexpected questions can quickly cause you to lose your composure in an interview – IF you don’t know how to handle them, that is. Below, our national employment agency shares a few tips for answering curveball questions effectively:
- Expect them.
Just knowing that a quirky question is coming will help you panic less when it’s asked.
- Maintain your composure.
Interviewers intentionally ask this type of question to see how you react under stress. Don’t let the interviewer throw you off your game! Keep your expression neutral, and view the situation as an opportunity to shine (not sweat).
- Determine what type of question it is.
Generally, unusual interview questions fall into one of three categories: testing creative thinking, testing logical thinking and testing how you address “big picture” questions. By determining the type of question you’re asked, you can gauge your response accordingly. For example, the second question at the top of this post is designed to test logical thinking. It’s more about explaining the thought process you use to arrive at an answer (i.e., can you explain the steps you’d go through to find an answer) – not the answer itself.
- Ask for clarification.
If you’re legitimately confused, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer for a bit more information.
- Take your time.
Take a deep breath, smile and resist the temptation to blurt out a hasty response. Start by saying something like, “That’s certainly an unusual question. I’d like to take a moment to gather my thoughts before responding.” This will fill the silence and give you a little time to think through your answer. And if you’re completely stumped, ask to return to it later.
- Take the pressure off yourself.
Most quirky interview questions don’t actually have right or wrong answers, so relax. What matters most is how you handle the situation.
- Tie your skills or experience into the answer.
If possible, find a way to incorporate your transferable job skills or work experience into your response.
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- How to Avoid Appearing Overqualified in an Interview
- Tips for Answering "Why Haven't You Been Working?"
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