Some companies like to throw out unusual questions during interviews to assess the creativity and problem solving abilities of potential hires. Prepare yourself to give the answers they’re looking for by practicing with these real-life interview questions.
Why are manholes round?
This question appeared in interviews at St. Jude Medical, but the trick to answering it isn’t to know the real reason behind manhole shapes. Even if you know the answer, don’t simply offer straight facts. Take the opportunity to show how you might rethink and improve upon a process or model that has remained the same for years. Interviewers will not only be looking for creativity with a question like this but also at whether or not you’re the type to take the initiative and exhibit leadership skills when faced with everyday challenges.
If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?
Asked of individuals interviewing for positions at Goldman Sachs, this bizarre question is meant to see how well you operate under pressure. Being a tiny person trapped in a blender can be seen as a metaphor for being stuck in a seemingly impossible situation. Interviewers are looking to gauge your reaction to unexpected complications. This question can also be seen as a chance to demonstrate your ability to create and execute a workable plan when time is of the essence.
What do you think you will hate about this job?
If an interviewer asks you this question, which was directed at candidates for Medtronic, he or she isn’t looking for reasons not to hire you. Your answer shows that you’re aware of areas where you need improvement and are willing to be honest about it. Expressing these “weaknesses” can actually increase your chances of getting hired because it displays transparency and shows that you’ve given a lot of thought to what unique challenges you may face if you’re hired to work at the company.
How many children are born every day?
Another question that has little to do with factual knowledge, this inquiry posed by Apple can be approached in one of two ways. You can show your willingness to research important factors that may have an impact on business operations, or you can look at it from a marketing standpoint to show interviewers how you’ll use statistical information to further the growth of the company. Employers want to know that you’re able to analyze and apply the types of data that come in every day as the nature of the market changes.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.
It’s no surprise that Capital One, with their off-the-wall “What’s in your wallet?” campaign, was the one to ask this question in interviews. It’s a way to see what distinctive characteristics potential employees possess that could be an asset to the company. Seeing yourself as “weird” means knowing what sets you apart from other candidates. Be upbeat and even a little silly when answering this type of question to show that you have a sense of humor and are able to use it to power your creativity.
Not every interview will contain these questions, but it never hurts to be prepared to answer them. Consider “oddball” inquiries in the greater context of the position you’re interviewing for and the company as a whole. This makes the purpose clearer and helps you to reply with the confidence and clarity that interviewers like to see from prospective employees.
Additional resource: Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs 2015