3 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Eccentric Interviews

Many job seekers may have noticed that interviews can get remarkably weird. While it’s common to imagine the hiring process at places like Google to include brain-teasers and other atypical questions, it’s possible to encounter a wacky interviewer wherever you go. With that in mind, it’s important to understand that the answers you’ve practiced in the mirror since your high school guidance counselor gave you a list of common interview questions probably won’t cut it anymore. Here are some tips to consider as you’re combing the free job postings to look for your next job:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Respond in Kind

Some interviewers may simply want to see whether you have a sense of humor. If you’re confronted with an extremely weird question, like whether you’ve ever stabbed anyone in the eye with a screwdriver – as a Quora user reported being asked in a job interview – it may be the best strategy to be as odd as the question is. While you should probably not say you’ve committed acts of gruesome violence, you have the option to evade humorously or turn the question around on the interviewer if it seems appropriate to you at the time.

If the strange questions you receive aren’t about crimes, all the better. In this case, you can showcase your ability to think outside of the box and, frankly, get along with difficult people. Questions about your favorite breakfast, what your parents wear to work or whether you are able to explain essential business processes to Martians invite light-hearted answers. You shouldn’t feel bad about giving them.

2. There May Be No Right Answer

Especially with brain-teaser questions, there may be no right answer available. The kinds of questions Google was once famous for using – those of the “how many ping-pong balls fit on Air Force One” variety – are often meant to test how a candidate will go about solving a problem that seems insurmountable. Give it your best effort and see where it takes you; often, an interviewer just wants to see that you won’t choke up at the first sign of difficulty and that you will make a serious effort to get the answers even to something fairly silly.

Some weird questions are trying to measure your personality, in their own way. Asking about your favorite or least favorite movies, or what you’d do if you were forced to choose between your arms and legs, can give an interviewer some kind of idea of who you are as a person. It’s best to be honest with these, though a little bit of wit is unlikely to hurt in a job interview where it’s already been established that the eccentric is acceptable.

3. Think Logic, Not Hard Math

In the case that you are applying to a free job posting for a more technical position, get ready for questions that will test your analytical skills. It’s often a good bet that these questions won’t be based in hard math but in logic. It’s assumed that if you’re qualified enough for an interview for a technical job, you’re likely to be up on your math skills. What an employer is more likely to want to know is whether you can use your logic and your common sense. With that in mind, try not to treat an interview like a standardized test. Approach it from an angle of a riddle or a logic puzzle and you may be quite successful. Also keep in mind the advice above about how there may be little point to the question beyond evaluating how you think.

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