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Career Advice

How to Handle Unusual Interview Questions

question-mark (1)As we all know, job interviews generally follow a fairly standard format. There are the usual questions about your experience to date, your strengths and weaknesses and of course what you can bring to the role that another candidate cannot. Sometimes however interviewers like to mix things up a little by asking questions that are a little less predictable. If you find yourself faced with an interviewer who is doing just that, these tips on how to handle unusual interview questions should hopefully help.

Don’t rush things

If you get asked a question that is a little off the wall shall we say, then it’s best to take your time and do a little deliberation before answering. Don’t make the mistake of rushing your response – take a moment or two to consider your answer. An employer won’t penalise you for delaying your answer while you think – in fact they probably would expect it. If you prefer of course you could simply ask the interviewer to repeat the question – a well known delaying tactic that can buy you another bit of time before you answer.

Consider the rationale

Even though you may feel a question is unusual, strange or downright weird, an interviewer may have a genuine reason for asking. It could be simply to assess how you react to such a curve ball or to see how quickly you can think on your feet. Alternatively it may be to determine if you can demonstrate if you have particular skills that are relevant for the job at hand. You of course will not have a lot of time to fully determine the rationale behind their questioning but you should be able to have a rough idea. Answer confidently regardless and thereby prove that you can handle anything.

Get things clarified

If an interview question particularly stumps you because it is so unusual, you are completely within your rights to ask the interviewer for a little clarification. Repeat the question just to make sure that you heard it correctly. An interviewer may simply confirm that you have or they may instead word the question in a slightly different way. This can not only give you a little more time while considering your reply but can also help you determine if you were right in what you thought you heard. That way you at least can ensure that you answer appropriately!

Don’t get flustered

No matter what the question is, don’t let the interviewer see that it is getting to you. Try not to appear flustered or agitated by what they have asked. You can of course display how you are shocked or bemused – express surprise or even laugh, but don’t let such a question throw you completely. Being able to handle unusual questions can convey a lot to an interviewer about how you could cope in a real work situation if something unexpected or untoward was to occur.

We hope that by highlighting how to handle unusual interview questions, we have helped some of you who are prepping for interviews at the moment. If you are – best of luck!


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