15 unusual job interview questions & how to answer them?

Interviews are a key element of the hiring process. But even for the most confident and qualified candidates, facing interview questions can be a stressful experience. This stress can multiply manifold if you are facing some tricky or unusual interview questions, which you may have not expected and prepared for. Here are 20 unusual job interview questions that you may be asked in your next interview:

  1. What was the last gift you gave someone?
  2. It’s Wednesday, we’re staffing you on a project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?
  3. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
  4. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
  5. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
  6. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
  7. You're a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
  8. If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  9. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
  10. How honest are you?
  11. If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
  12. Can you instruct someone how to make an origami 'cootie catcher' with just words?
  13. If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?
  14. Which is your favourite cereal brand and why?
  15. Do you believe in reincarnation?
  16. How lucky are you and why?
  17. Do you believe in luck or hard work?
  18. How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the U.S?
  19. Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?
  20. If you could have a superpower, what would you have?

The above questions may seem highly unusual and there is probably no way you would have prepared for any of them in advance. Wondering why a recruiter or hiring manager asks this type of question? It is to learn more about you as a person. Questions such as these can provide a window to your personality, behaviour, motivational factors etc., which is essential information for managers. As a job seeker, every interview question is an opportunity to tell more about yourself and why you are the perfect candidate. When you are asked an interview question that seems bizarre, don’t panic. One good thing about such questions is that there is no right or wrong answer to them. Here are some tips on how to handle unusual interview questions:

Prepare: It is almost impossible to anticipate what behavioural questions you may be asked in an interview, especially if the interviewer decides to ask one of the tricky, unusual questions like above. The best way to be prepared is to practise narrating your experiences, thoughts etc., in a mirror. This practice will help you get better at thinking spontaneously and organizing your thoughts efficiently.

Take a moment to respond: It is natural to get nervous if you are faced with a rather tricky behavioural question at an interview. If you are asked a question that stumps you, take a deep breath and calm your nerves. Then politely ask for a moment to think and form an answer in your mind. If you are not sure that you understand the question, probe with additional questions and clarify it with the interviewer, before thinking about the answer.

Why this question: One good news about tricky behavioural questions such as above is that there is no right or wrong answer. In most cases, an interviewer is looking to dig deep into your personality and is looking for behavioural traits that may be important for your role. When answering tricky questions try to think why a particular question was asked and what is it that the interviewer is trying to know about you. Having this knowledge can help you form a good answer and nudge the interviewer to think of you as an eligible candidate for a role.

Personal interviews are a great way for employers and jobseekers to learn more about each other’s style of working, culture, future plans etc. This style of interviewing is lately getting a lot common as employers wish to see beyond the skills and qualifications outlined in your resume to find the best fit for a role.