Most of us will be familiar with traditional interview questions but from time to time employers will test applicants with unusual questions in an interview. Usually asked by big brands, as obviously, they want the best of the best. Candidates who can think on their feet under pressure.
If you are interviewing with a big brand, expect to be tested, but don’t expect to have the answers at your fingertips. The key is to pause, thinking about the question, respond calmly and logically. Your willingness to embrace an unusual question and your efforts to give a logical answer will be looked upon favourably by an employer, whatever answer you eventually arrive at.
Here are some strange questions which have been previously asked in interviews:
- What biscuit would you be and why?
- Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?
- How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?
- If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?
- How would you cure world hunger?
- Pepsi or Coke?
- If you wanted to bring your dog to work but one of your team members was allergic to dogs, what would you do?
- Design an evacuation plan for the building
- Name a prank you would pull on x manager if you were hired.
- If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
- Tell me a joke
- What’s your favourite song? Perform it for us now.”
- You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer
…Now, let’s review how to answer the strange interview questions.
What biscuit would you be and why?
This question is trying to decipher your kind of personality, or possibly the interviewer wants to know if you’ll eat all the digestives on a tea break. Either way, the first biscuit which comes into my head are my favourite biscuits, Chocolate cookies. A common choice I’m sure, but everyone loves a chocolate cookie.
Room, Desk and Car – Which do you clean first?
Whichever order you decide, the interviewer is most likely interested in your reasoning. What logical approach are you taking to an unknown situation?
How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?
This sounds like a joke question, but try to arrive at a logical answer.
- Is it a baby elephant, if so a chest refrigerator may be adequate?
- If it’s a full elephant, I guess we would need a custom-made refrigerator
- Bring the elephant to a sub-zero climate such as Antarctica- essentially a giant refrigerator
If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?
Take a consensus of the average person’s height in each country in the world and compare it to German’s average height.
How would you cure world hunger?
This question is massive. These are only some suggestions:
- Focus more on globalisation in poorer countries
- Provide facilities/training for locals to produce more food
Pepsi or Coke?
This could just be a personal choice, but Coke has always seemed to be slightly superior to Pepsi. Most likely due to its marketing advantages from previous campaigns such as initiating a red Santa Claus and developing ‘bring a coke home’ Christmas Campaign.
If you wanted to bring your dog to work but one of your team members was allergic to dogs, what would you do?
This is a question analysing your caring side, you can’t cause problems in the office with team members, but you also can’t harm the dog by leaving it in the car all day. What are your options?
- Bring the dog on a day your team member is off
- Don’t bring your dog to work
Design an evacuation plan for the building.
This is analysing your attention to detail. Have you looked at the building when you came in, are you aware of the layout of this floor?
I guess the rule here is to, pay attention to the building on arrival.
Name a prank you would pull on x manager if you were hired.
This is another analysis of your personality, it’s a great measurement to see how you would fit into the team. In addition, to assessing what you think is funny and acceptable in a work environment.
If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?
This last sentence will provide insight into what you most care about in life or what means to you the most. This can be a judge of your character and interests, are you going to be a good team fit? What do you care about?
Tell me a joke
If you’re caught off guard this can be difficult to think of on the spot. Do you resort to how did the chicken cross the road? This is blatantly boring and not very creative. On the other hand, you don’t want to offend anyone with “three men walk into a bar..” kind of joke. I suggest dad jokes are probably the best, they are so embarrassing they are funny.
What’s your favourite song? Perform it for us now.
This question assesses your confidence, can you perform a song in front of strangers? I guess you’re confident enough to do anything. Especially if you can’t sing.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
This is a chance to be creative, make up a colour? Go beyond the usual RGB, if the job seeks a creative individual this is your time to shine.
On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer
Is this a question asking you to suck up to the interviewer or is it a test to see if you can critically analyse? Can you give constructive criticism? This is the real test to decipher what the interviewer wants from you. If you’re applying for a manager role or senior position, then yes provide genuine advice. Try not to show fear in high pressured situations, even if this job depends on it.
Please note that any answers I have provided are out of context. The best way to approach these types of strange questions is to understand what the interviewer is asking you and how your answer could be relevant to the job.
If you’re interested in a career move and would like to speak to one of our friendly recruiters in confidence, please get in touch on 028 9091 8529 or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.