There are more than enough articles named something like “What should you wear for your job interview” or “How to make a good impression on your interviewer”. This article isn’t like those. We’re going to show you some of the weirdest questions that a job interviewer could ask you, so you’re not surprised by them.
Why do they ask these questions?
On most interviews, they will really only care about your past experiences and your qualifications. Some jobs will maybe even want to see not only your final college/university degree, but even your marks from other years. But they also want to know some other things about you, which you cannot learn and can’t really put on your CV.
That’s why they ask the questions we’re about to talk about. They may not ask them the precise way we say, but their meaning is still the same – to figure out how you do in unexpected circumstances. Some people might have an excellent speech prepared, or they spend hours sparkling up their CV, but even they can absolutely crash when you ask them a simple, but unorthodox question.
These questions also serve as a way to learn about your other personality traits to see if you would make a good team member. Some may test your empathy and creativity, whilst others serve as a test of critical thinking and teamwork. These questions usually don’t have a single answer, so we won’t give you a script for you to memorize. This article only serves as a preparation tool, so you don’t embarrass yourself.
anyway, without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
1. What’s your opinion on garden gnomes?
Starting of strong, this is a very common question type. “What’s your opinion on….” is technically very simplistic, but your answer may reveal a lot more about you than you may think. If you get this type of question, they probably want to make you relax, rather than stress you out. As for your answer, you should try to be as creative as possible. You can also be funny, maybe even throw some sarcasm in there. Don’t try to answer this jokey question in a dead-serious manner. The only exception to this rule is if you are applying to a position of a garden-decorations seller.
2. If you were a tree, which one would you be?
Again, this question doesn’t have a singular right answer – there are thousand different species of trees in USA alone. The main thing is to explain your answer. Are you an oak, because you are so tall and mighty? Or are you more of a Cherry tree, because you want to bring people happiness? Either way, you should, again, try to be creative – maybe you could shine your random “useless” trivia you learned so many years ago.
3. Would you rather have the power of invisibility, or the power of flight?
This is another one of those sneaky questions, that are supposed to determine what kind of personality you have. When you choose the power of flying, you’re showing that you are an extrovert, who likes to always be free and wants to show off to others. The people who choose invisibility are usually introverts, who like to keep to themselves and stay in the background.
Interestingly, did you know that most people actually choose flight? But don’t worry, either answer is correct, because a good team needs both free-thinking flyers, as well as the quiet, feet-on-the-ground thinkers, who mostly hide in plain sight.
4. Why are manhole covers round?
This question is a little more obvious with its meaning. I think everyone has seen a manhole cover at least once in their life, but not many of us have really thought about there shape, have we? There are, again, multiple answers: “They’re round so they don’t fall into the hole.” “They’re easier to move.” “They can’t be bent as easily.”
Whatever your answer may be, it shows that you possess at least some amount of logical thinking.
5. How would you describe an opera to a deaf person?
Here we have a question to test your empathy. It could seem impossible at first to describe a giant musical creation to someone who doesn’t even know what “music” is. The most important thing is to think your answer through, but not get stuck on it. Your answer to this question will greatly determine your communication skills, which might make or break your whole interview, depending on the job you’re applying to.
6. If you could ask god one question, what would it be?
Now this question goes slightly into the sketchy territory. It is generally frowned upon to ask about religion in your job interview. Whatever you answer, you will reveal, at least in part, your religion, which could lead to some biases. Because of that, even the american federal law doesn’t look warmly on asking deliberate questions about, among other things religion. So, if you get asked this question, be careful with your answer, because you might be revealing something you don’t want to.
7. Sell me this…
We all know the, now infamous task of “sell me this pen”. You probably even prepared a short script for it. But it doesn’t always have to be about pens. What if your interviewer asks you to sell them an orange, or even something bigger, like a house? Of course, you don’t need to actually sell them something on the fly. Most salesmen already have a whole speech prepared, and expecting the same amount of quality from someone at the spot would be kind of stupid.
The point of this question is to see how well you do with unexpected situations and how good your improvisation and salesmanship is.
8. What would be your last meal and why?
This one is a bit strange. Why would they need to know what your last meal would be? Are they already preparing for when you’re on the death row? Most likely, that won’t be the case. Similar to the tree question from before, they’re testing how well you do with weird hypothetical questions. The thing you have to do is to not only say a meal, but to also explain the “why” part. If you just say “McDonald’s” and nothing else, they’re probably not going to be lovin’ it.
9. Name me 10 ways to use this pen.
Again, this isn’t always about pens, but they make a great example. Everybody knows at least one way in which you can use a pen, but naming 10? You will have to get creative with this one. If you are an idea person, you’re probably not going to have any problems with this one. The important thing is to name all 10 (or how many they ask from you) ways, and not get stuck after the first half.
10. How many windows are in New York?
This is technically the only question on this list that has only one correct answer. But really, how many people do you know that can even estimate this answer from the top of their heads. Again, this one isn’t about being right or wrong, but about explaining your answer and thought process. Remember, windows are not only on houses/properties, but also on cars, and (if you want to be really creative) technically even on computers.
Also, if you’re interested, this article puts the number on around 33 million.
Bonus: Do you want to ask anything?
Unlike anything we’ve talked about in this article, this question is really common. Most interviewers will want you to ask about almost anything, so that they can sell you on the position you’re currently applying to. Also, this question is usually asked around the end of the interview, so it’s possible they want to make you relax after all the stress they put you through, asking about garden gnomes and manhole covers.
Here are some of the more common questions that you should ask to see if the job you’re trying to get is really the one for you.
- What do you personally like most about working for this organization?
- What do you find most challenging about working for this organization?
- How would you describe the culture of your organization?
- Can you tell me more about your company’s values and how they are put into practice?
- What does a typical day look like in this role?
- What type of employee tends to succeed here and what qualities are most important for success here?
- How do you help your employees grow professionally?
- How do you respond to employee conflicts?
- What do you expect to accomplish after 6 or 12 months in this role?
- Is this a new position? If not, why did the previous person leave?
In the end, the most important thing in a job interview is to remain calm and keep a cool head. Even if you don’t know what tree you are or what your last meal would be, you should still know a thing or to about the job and that’s the most important. All of these questions are only meant to tell the interviewer about one or two of your qualities. But however complex you garden gnome opinion is, it’s not going to do much if you’re looking for job at a tech company and don’t how to work in excel.