In general, job interviews are pretty predictable affairs. Employers tend to ask quite similar questions and candidates tend to respond with quite similar replies. Of course there are always the exceptions – the employers who like to throw the proverbial spanner in the works. Some employers deliberately ask interview questions which are a little bit off the wall to say the least. Whilst we cannot of course predict what such questions are likely to be, we can help you out with a few suggestions on how to react and respond – here are our Top Tips for Handling Unusual Interview Questions.
Take your time
When you are asked a question that is a tad unusual, you should take a little time before you respond. It is perfectly acceptable to say to the interviewer that you’d like a minute or two to think of your response. It’s much better to do that and calmly work out your answer rather than rushing into a response for the sake of it. You could also try playing for a little time by asking the interviewer to repeat the question. While they do that, you could be figuring out how you can respond.
Think of the underlying logic
Generally, even the most unusual or absurd questions have some underlying logic and rationale for being asked. It might be to see how quickly you can think on your feet, or it might be to ascertain if you have particular skills that are relevant to the job in hand. You won’t of course have much time to ascertain what the underlying logic may be exactly, however you should be able to assess in general terms why such a question is being asked. The key is simply to answer and thereby convey how you can handle whatever is thrown at you.
Ask for clarification
If you’re so surprised when asked a particular question that you can’t seem to think of a response, you could always ask for a little clarification. Reiterate or repeat that what you’ve just heard is what the interviewer has asked. They may say yes or may even ask the same question in a more understandable way. Either way, by asking the interviewer to clarify things, you are not only giving yourself a little more time to work out your response, you are also re-confirming that what you have heard is correct, before you respond in perhaps an entirely inappropriate manner
Keep your cool
An unusual question can very often be asked simply to help the interviewer assess your reaction. If you get agitated or seem flustered, that won’t convey the right impression to the interviewer. It’s fine to express surprise or even laugh at being asked an unusual question, but the key is to carry on regardless. Showing that you can handle unusual questions and conveying a cool exterior even if you feel anything but in reality, will go a long way towards showing an interviewer that you can face things thrown at you and that you have an ability to think on your feet.
We hope that these tips on Unusual Interview Questions help you if an employer tries to throw a bit of a curve ball at your next interview.