The Top 10 Strangest Interview Questions, and How to Handle Them
Have you ever been in an interview where the interviewer asked a question that didn’t directly relate to the job that you were applying for and was very unusual? While you may have been tempted to question the interviewer’s sanity, these seemingly crazy and irrelevant questions are asked purposefully. They serve as an intentional way of finding out how you problem solve, your creativity and how well you are able to describe your thought process.
Every year, Glassdoor sifts through their strangest interview question submissions and compiles a list of the “Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions”. Here is their 2016 list of the top 10 strangest interview questions and some possible reasons behind these headscratchers.
- When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?
This interview question is quite possibly the strangest that I have ever heard, and although I am sure that there is a very logical explanation as to why a hotdog splits vertically, I am not sure how many people know the answer (without a little help from Google). Unless directly related to your field, have fun with these questions and explain to the interviewer an instance when you witnessed a hot dog splitting and why you think it split that way.
- Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
After giving the interviewer a quizzical look, consider the meaning behind the question. What they are really asking is would you rather tackle a big problem or a lot of smaller problems. So consider if you would rather work through a large issue at work or if you would rather spend your time working through several smaller issues. Make sure to explain why and even give an example of how you have tackled a large task or many small tasks successfully to accompany your response.
- If you’re the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?
Your answer to this question represents what you believe is necessary to have a successful business, and reflects what areas of the industry you are passionate about. While the time of year and the current needs of the company should be taken into consideration, in most industries you would want to be acutely aware of employee productivity and safety, customer satisfaction, and the company’s finances.
- What would the name of your debut album be?
Through asking this question, the interviewer is hoping to find out a little more about your personality in a creative way. One option is to pick a name that reflects your personality and interests while giving off an energetic and positive vibe. If you can, bring your response back to the job you are applying for using a little humor. For example, if you are applying for a job as an administrative assistant at an accounting firm, your debut album could be “Balance Sheet Blues” by ____ and the Bookkeepers.
- How would you sell hot coco in Florida?
While selling hot coco in Florida may be difficult (especially in the summer months), this question is the perfect opportunity to showcase your ability to think outside of the box. Ask them questions about where in Florida you would be selling hot coco and what time of year, and respond accordingly. Show them that you are not only creative but that you are able to take a difficult situation and make a plan for success.
- If I gave you $40,000 to start a business, what would you start?
This question is the ideal opportunity to express your interest in the industry you are applying for. While you are describing the business that you would start, don’t forget to include the education and skills that you have that would lend themselves to your imaginary start up.
- What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?
This question is a humorous way for the interviewer to gauge your ability to problem solve on the spot. Obviously you would want to discuss how you would contain the penguin, how you would contact animal control, and the steps you would take to find out how the penguin came to be in the freezer.
- If you were a brand, what would be your motto?
Use some creativity with questions like this, and show them who you are and what you value. This question is geared towards finding out if you will fit in with the culture of the company and unique answers are often encouraged; however, if you are stuck, you can always use some well-known slogans like “Just Do It”.
- How many basketballs would fit in this room?
The interviewer isn’t looking for you to get out your pencil and paper, draw diagrams, and use mathematical formulas to find an answer. What they are looking for is your thought process. First, do some investigating and find out if the balls are deflated or round, if there are objects in the room, and if they know the dimensions of the room. Then consider how to find the room’s volume (usually width X length X height) and determine approximately how many balls could fit in that area. Even if your math is off, you can impress the interviewer with your ability to work through a question step by step.
- If you had $2,000, how would you double it in 24 hours?
This question can be used to gauge the level of risk that the candidate is willing to take for a high return. There are many inventive ways to answer this question, but it is also acceptable to explain why you prefer a calculated investment over time rather than gambling your money. If you are ever asked this question in an interview, a perfect response would be to donate the money to a charity and find a company that matches donations.
After breaking down these questions, hopefully you have a better understanding of why interviewers may throw you a curveball in the form of an odd question during your interview. It is important that no matter what they ask you, that you keep your composure and remember that these types of questions are open ended and don’t have a right or a wrong answer so relax and have fun coming up with responses!