How to Deal with Oddball Interview Questions

How to Deal with Oddball Interview Questions
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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There has been a lot of chatter on the internet this week about interview questions, particularly, the weird and crazy ones. I think it stems from a new report that was released by Glassdoor. You can read it here.

It is pretty easy to get worked up before an interview and worrying about off the wall questions won’t help.

Here’s a bit of a perspective:

Hiring managers are interested in what you have done and how that will solve their problems. They need to ask the kinds of questions that will reveal that information. While they are listening to your responses, they are considering your communication style and how that will fit in with their group/team/customers.

They may have a list of expected responses or a matrix to score what they hear from you. This stuff is pretty straightforward. If you are being interviewed for an HR role and you are in construction, it will be tricky but if you are in HR now, it should be pretty smooth.

Forward thinking companies may also be considering what you could do and how you could contribute after you have mastered the tasks you are hired for. Sometimes this can lead too slightly more hypothetical “what would you do if….” type questions.

These are typically more open ended. There is no real way to prepare for these except to make sure that the stress of the situation does not cause your brain to freeze up and your mouth to run on.

In these questions, make sure you listen to the whole question and then pause for a moment to gather your thoughts. This should prevent you from running off on a half assed tangent.

If you find your words trickling off and you can’t remember the point you were making, the only recovery is to say “Was there anything else you wanted to know?” I don’t think there is any other way out of that.

Tips:

  • Research the company and its products and services
  • Check sites like glassdoor for additional info
  • Practice talking about what you do using full sentences.

So, it’s okay for Google and Apple to ask off the wall questions because if they have selected you to interview, you probably think like that too.

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