How To Answer Oddball Interview Questions
“Which kitchen utensil would you be?”
Job interviews are tough no matter what questions the interviewer asks, but interview questions like these can certainly throw job seekers for a loop.
In this case, these wacky questions are just a few coming from Glassdoor’s annual Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions list. On this year’s list are a slew of different companies representing a variety of industries, including big name employers like Google, Dell, and Urban Outfitters.
Oddball questions may seem to have nothing to do with an open job position, but companies are increasingly asking these types of brainteaser questions to determine a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, think critically, problem solve, and effectively talk through a response. Keep in mind, there aren’t always right or wrong answers to these questions, but they can still be tricky. Here are a few tips to help you respond to four oddball interview questions:
1. “How many cows are in Canada?” This question is asked at Google. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have advanced agricultural knowledge or start pounding out math equations. Simply think of a creative way to respond without crossing the line into a lack of professionalism. One job seeker said she’d answer this question with, “Enough to make sure we have enough cheese and milk!” Just remember, if you’re stumped on any interview question, the last thing you want to say is “I don’t know.”
2. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?” This one’s asked at JetBlue. Remember–don’t say “I don’t know!” You don’t need to answer with a number, just a response that’s interesting and shows your ability to think on your feet. This question may be asked to test your problem solving abilities, but more likely, these types of odd questions help interviewers to determine cultural fit. So whatever you do, don’t start sweating it – just let your personality show.
3. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?” This one’s asked at Clark Construction Group. Amanda Lachapelle, director of HR and talent acquisition for Glassdoor, says, “My penguin is going to come in the door and say, ‘You should hire Amanda — she’s organized and she has her stuff together. You want her to lead your team.’” And the sombrero? “He had a margarita before he came in!” These questions determine if you fit company culture -so don’t be afraid to be funny!
4. “What songs best describes your work ethic?” Asked at Dell, this question allows tons of room for creativity. Remember, if you’re thrown off, take a second to collect your thoughts before answering. It’s better to give a clever and creative response than to brush it off, stammer, or otherwise show that you’re nervous. Some creative responses to this question? “‘I’m a Rolling Stone,’ because I take it as it comes!” one man said in this video. Another woman chose “She Works Hard for the Money!” Get creative.
Remember, if an interviewer asks you a wacky question, try not to get knocked off your feet. The point of such questions is to see if you can keep it cool under pressure, so don’t be afraid to answer in a creative way. You want to make the interviewer remember you -and these types of oddball questions offer a great opportunity to do so. Good luck!
Originally posted on Glassdoor.com.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.