Interviews are high pressure enough without the odd question thrown into the mix. You’ve prepared what you’re going to wear, rehearsed how to answer tough interview questions and before you know it, you are suddenly thrown off-guard with a bizarre question like “what would the name of your debut album be?”.
Employers sometimes ask strange questions to prospective candidates to get to know the real person behind the neatly manicured persona, and other times to see how they’d react in an uncomfortable situation. It’s an opportunity for interviewers to see how a job seeker thinks about a problem, and demonstrate their thought process. Don’t let it throw you off - here’s how you could respond to strange interview questions:
Stay CalmRemember that for most of these odd questions, quite often there is no “right” answer. The point is for the interviewer to observe the way you react to the question, handle the unexpected and think on your feet. Do your best with it, but don’t overthink it. You want to appear calm and confident, even if you don’t feel that way.
Buy some time if neededIf you are asked a question that stumps you, know that it is fine to take a little pause before responding. You can also buy some time so you can formulate a thoughtful answer with a comment such as, “that's a very intriguing question, I've never been asked that before.” Take your time to think about it, but don’t end up staring into space for too long.
Respond with humourIf you are asked a strange question and have no idea how to respond to it, try turning it around with a creative and humorous reply. It’s a great way to showcase your ability to think outside the box and manage difficult situations or even clients. It’s like that if you’ve been asked an unusual question, you are probably dealing with a non-traditional interviewer who is looking for what makes you stand out from the crowd. Just remember to steer clear of controversial topics such as politics, religion, or too much information about your personal life.
Highlight your personalityWhen considering your response, you can use it as an opportunity to highlight your strengths and career goals such as your vision, goals and experience. Many questions are often asked with the intention of learning more about your personality -- and if you are the right cultural fit for a company.
Redirect the questionAs oddball questions may be a way to assess how you think on your feet, you could respond by having a conversation about it. Once you’ve given your answer, you can throw it back to the interviewer by asking how they would have answered it or what’s the best answer they’ve heard to the question. It’s a great way to show your interest in the company’s culture and dynamics.