As a general rule, ‘quirky’ interview questions may seem odd, unfair and even annoying, but there’s a thought behind most of them. They’re designed to gauge a specific aspect of your personality. Even if that explanation doesn’t seem good enough, many top companies (Apple, Goldman Sachs, AT&T, Google) ask candidates strange questions at interviews. What is important to remember is that weird interview questions are stressful because they’re supposed to be stressful. They’re supposed to evaluate how you react in situations of pressure. So treat them like fun puzzles that you want to solve out of curiosity and not because you want the internship/job, and you should be fine. The eight types of weird interview questions you may want to be ready for are:
1. Calling for creativity:
This type of question is an invitation to let your imagination run free. Cook up the most interesting story you can and make it fun. Don’t try to think about what the interviewers are trying to assess, just concentrate on making it entertaining for everyone. Another over-quoted example of this is, “What do you think of garden gnomes?”
2. Asking for an opinion:
To put it simply, give your opinion! No need to worry about what the interviewers want to hear. State what you think and why you think so. Do pay attention to the “why you think so” part, though. If you say poetry should be difficult to understand, and if they ask you why, you want a reason ready. Other examples are asking for your opinion on movies, books etc.
3. “What are you like really?”
Don’t go with the first name that pops in your mind when you say “superhero.” Think about what your best quality is. If no superhero matches your criteria or if you have no idea about superheroes, invent one! Other questions that fit this category are “What fruit would you be?” and “What animal would you be?”
4. Assessing honesty:
Be honest! People at an interview at Apple can usually catch it when you’re lying if you say “Steve Jobs’s biography”. But in the case of, say, an MBA internship interview, saying you read a Management book could swing either way. Some people might appreciate it, some might think you have no life outside your subjects of interest.
5. Testing your decision-making abilities:
What things are important to you? How efficiently can you prioritize? How fast can you decide which is the best option among a variety of options? Another example is “What would you carry to a deserted island?”
6. Testing your Math skills, or your willingness to take up challenges:
If your internship or course of study has the slightest relation with Mathematics, this one is meant to test your comfort with the subject. If you’re from, say, a Law background, or a Psychology graduate, this may simply be meant to test how well you respond to unexpected challenges. Stay calm, ask them to repeat the question and for pen and paper if necessary, and try! An example is, “You have 100 numbered light bulbs, that are all turned on in the first pass. Then you switch every other light bulb, then every third light bulb. After 100 passes, how many light bulbs are on?”
7. Testing your spontaneity:
This is probably for an internship or a job that requires you to be fun, outgoing and good with people. So do what you’re best at! If you’re good at mimicking people, do that. Tell a story. Or sing. Or dance. Hey, they asked for it! If you’re not much of a performer, you could always revert to talking about your favourite book. Treat it like a non-inappropriate version of a Roadies interview.
8. Super-cliched question
Walk out! No seriously, it is certain that the interviewers Googled “weird interview questions” if they’re asking this.
Apart from the last question, the important thing to remember is to stay calm, ignore the stress and have fun; answer considering these things and no weird interview question will stump you ever again.