Interviewing for a job is something almost everyone must do at some point in life. Most people know what to expect in an interview but it can still be a stressful situation. Interestingly, although most of us are experienced when it comes to interviewing, the interviewer has often had no training or coaching on how to conduct it. Although not necessarily great for the interviewee, this can result in hilarious and/or awkward scenarios and questions being asked.
Good hiring managers have been trained on how to put someone at ease and ask insightful questions or utilize things like competency based interviewing. Others have their stock standard questions that are easy to prepare for such as strengths & weaknesses, career aspirations etc. Then there is another type of interviewer that is impossible to prepare for, these interviewers ask questions that are so left field that it is hard to come up with answers. Sometimes these questions are wholly inappropriate, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes just strange.
Over the years, I have prepared thousands of candidates for Interviews and coached many clients on how to conduct Interviews. However, it doesn’t matter how well you prepare someone, when you are asked the following questions or given scenarios what do you do? I could list so many examples but these are some of my favourites:
#1 This has to be the object question – If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be? Substitute Tree for pretty much anything you want, I have heard, Tool, Animal (including Spirit Animal), Bicycle part. Sometimes it’s a person – Star Wars character, Cartoon character, movie star etc.
#2 What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
#3 Tell me something that no one else knows about you.
#4 Sell me this pen (or other inanimate object). A classic (and irritating) question asked in sales related interviews. I was once asked to sell my watch in one of my first city recruitment interviews back in the day and I still hear of this happening now.
#5 If an alien landed in your yard and offered you a job on their planet in exchange for whatever you want, what would it be?
Sometimes an unusual question can really help the interview process, it can bring in a bit of humour and allow the interviewee to be creative and show their intelligence.
However, other times you really have to question what century they are living in! I have politely told Interviewers I do not want their job after being asked ridiculous questions, but when I was junior and desperate for a job I actually agreed to take the phone off them and make sales calls to real clients without knowing a single thing about what I was selling!
I am keen to hear your stories of bizarre questions asked or ridiculous situations you have found yourself in……..