6 August, 2020
By Mike Simpson
Many job seekers live in fear of unique interview questions. Google became notorious for being unconventional, asking its candidates to solve brainteasers during the meeting. If the idea of that isn’t anxiety-inducing, you’re in the minority.
But that doesn’t mean you should worry about the possibility of weird interview questions. First, they aren’t as widely used as they once were. In fact, Google eventually banned many of the worst ones, something most candidates probably appreciated.
Second, unique interview questions can be an opportunity to shine. You can show off certain traits that are hard to demonstrate otherwise, like problem-solving capabilities and a calm demeanor under pressure.
That’s awesome, right?
Ideally, you want to make the most of weird questions, ensuring they work in your favor instead of against you. So, come with us as we explore the strange questions you might face during your next interview.
How to Answer Unique Interview Questions
Okay, we know you want some stellar examples. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to talk strategy.
Because, with the right technique, you’ll be better equipped to adapt to the unexpected.
Generally, unique interview questions aren’t going to be straightforward. Instead, they are going to be behavioral interview questions or possible full-blown brainteasers.
For behavioral interview questions, the best way to start is by learning the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method. Together, those techniques help you create powerhouse responses that are relevant and engaging. Perfect, right?
But what about brainteaser interview questions? Well, many of those weird interview questions ask you to handle obscure scenarios. When that happens, you can use the same strategy as you would with behavioral interview questions.
Now, if it’s another kind of brainteaser, like one asking you to complete some impossible calculation, don’t panic. Being able to explain how you would work the problem is what’s important. Discuss how you’d approach finding an answer, using a step-by-step sort of approach. Your answer can be wrong as long as you’re thinking is sound.
For quirky questions, it’s also okay to have to give a humorous response. Funny questions can call for a funny answer, so don’t be overly serious if the question is a bit absurd.
Ultimately, what the hiring manager is trying to gauge how you think and get glimpses into your personality. That makes it easier to assess your traits and culture fit.
Top 3 Unique Interview Questions
If the hiring manager is using weird questions to ask during an interview, they are comfortable coloring outside of the lines. That isn’t necessarily common. It’s more likely that your interview will end up pretty conventional, instead.
This is especially true now that there is evidence that brainteasers aren’t particularly effective at estimating the likelihood of success. That’s why many hiring managers are more direct.
However, some unique interview questions are useful. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top three weird or funny questions you might face during your interview.
1. If you could have any superpower, which one would you want?
No, the hiring manager isn’t trying to gauge your knowledge of comic book culture. Instead, this question can help them learn about your interests, goals, or even your shortcomings.
Many people choose powers that let them overcome a challenge they’ve faced. However, it’s also okay to focus on enjoyment or practicality, too.
“If I could have any superpower, I would want the ability to fly. The ability to visit different countries, skip over traffic jams during a commute, or avoid needing a ladder when I clean my gutters is just too enticing.”
2. What title would you give your autobiography?
This question forces you to be brief. However, you can also explain why you chose a particular title, giving you a bit more space.
“If I had to title my autobiography, I believe I would choose, ‘I Wanted to, So I Did: A Journey in Facing Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles to Head Toward a Dream.” While I love my life, it hasn’t always been easy. But I took the lessons I learned to move forward, ensuring I could persevere and stay on target, even through difficulties.”
3. If your house caught fire, once your family and pets were safe, what three things would you try to save?
This question is all about priorities. The hiring manager wants to learn a bit about what you value, which may help them determine if there’s a culture fit.
“If all of my loved ones were safe, I would want to save my document folder, laptop, and great grandmother’s bracelet. My personal document folder holds critical paperwork, so having it would help me get back on my feet with greater ease.
My laptop has my photos, and is also a versatile device for entertainment, giving me comfort during challenging times. As for my great grandmother’s bracelet, it’s a family heirloom that has been passed down, so it has significant sentimental value.”
27 More Unique Interview Questions
Here are 27 more unique interview questions you might encounter during your interview:
- If you could step into the world of any book, which one would you choose?
- What about life fascinates you?
- If there was going to be a movie made about your life, who should be cast as you?
- Imagine you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all of your basic necessities were handled. What two extra items would you want to have?
- What is the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
- If you could become any animal, what would you choose?
- How many people do you think are logged into social media right now?
- If you were given six months where you didn’t have to worry about money, personal, or professional obligations, how would you spend that time?
- If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would you choose?
- What type of car would you be?
- If you were a piece of productivity software, which one would you be?
- How would you figure out the weight of an elephant without using a scale?
- When you start spring cleaning, would you begin with your car, desk, or kitchen?
- How many lightbulbs are in this building?
- Tell me five different ways you could use a stapler when it runs out of staples.
- What is your favorite food, and why?
- If you got to set the price, how much would you charge to rent out Central Park?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?
- If you had to pick a song to describe your work ethic, which one would you choose?
- If you found a penguin in the office fridge, what would you do?
- Tell me about your best McGuyver moment.
- If you were handed $50,000 to start a business, what kind would you start?
- How many basketballs would fit in my office?
- Which is better, a room that’s a bit too hot or a bit too cold?
- Are you a Coke or Pepsi fan?
- If your last boss had to give your eulogy, what do you think they’d say?
- If you only had one month to live, how would you spend it?
5 Good “Unique” Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview
At the end of your interview, the hiring manager will usually give you a chance to ask a few questions of your own. Since the door is essentially wide open, why not use some weird questions that the hiring manager may not expect.
If you want to take the unconventional route, here are five unique questions to ask and employer at the end of an interview.
- What is the one thing missing from this team that you hope this new employee can bring to the table?
- What do you think is the secret to success in this job?
- If you had to pick a single skill as a priority for choosing a candidate, which one would it be?
- What’s the biggest mistake you see employees in this role make? How I make sure I avoid it?
- When you were offered this job, why did you say “yes”?
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, there’s no reason to fear unique interview questions. Use the tips above to prepare, and you’ll be in good shape.
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