5 Unconventional Interview Questions and What Interviewers are Looking for in Your Response
In this increasingly competitive job market, where every job posting can spawn a multitude of applicants for any given position, interviewers are increasingly turning to unconventional questions in order to find a candidate that truly fits the job. According to MBA Online, today’s entrepreneur has a specific set of personality traits which not only gives them the ability to start their own business but drive revenues for existing businesses.
Traditional questions, such as, “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” often say nothing about a potential employee, because responses are generally practiced and cliche. By asking unconventional questions, an interviewer can get insight into how well prospective employees think on their feet, determine their level of creativity and evaluate how their mind works.
Here are 5 unconventional questions that may arise in your next job interview, as well as what kind of responses the interviewer is looking for.
1. What are the last three books you read?
A person who likes to read is a person who likes to learn. A candidate who has just read a nonfiction treatise on the history of the universe, a spy thriller and a how-to book about woodworking will come across as well-rounded, well-read and eager to learn new skills and information–a valuable asset in any employee.
2. What are your weaknesses and one of your biggest failures?
This is a spin on the common strengths and weaknesses question to which interviewees usually have a stock answer that involves touting weaknesses that are actually strengths in disguise, such as “I’m obsessed with being on time, which can be stressful.” But having to detail a failure gives a prospective employee information about how you handle failure and how you learn from it to prevent a recurrence. Discussing your weaknesses in a job interview can be harrowing. The best thing to do is to have some ideas ahead of time about how you will answer this question, be honest and highlight the positive.
3. What is your favorite movie?
This question and others like it give the interviewer a glimpse into your personality and allow the interviewer to connect with you on a personal level. Similar to a first-date line of questioning, the conversations that arise from questions like this provide you with a chance to find common ground, talk about your passions and interact with the employer on a personal level, out of interview mode. Your favorite movie or type of movies can also clue your interviewer in on aspects of your personality, such as what kinds of characters and scenarios you relate to on a personal level.
4. If you won a huge sum of money in the lottery, what would you do with your time?
In other words, how driven are you to make a difference in your world?
If your answer is to sit on a beach and sip exotic drinks all day, you probably won’t be perceived as a go-getter with boundless energy who will infuse the company with creative ideas. Use this kind of question to show your employer that you’re passionate about something meaningful, and that you’re not just taking up space on Planet Earth.
5. How are a frog and an egg sandwich alike?
Nonsensical questions like this show an interviewer how quickly you think on your feet, your level of creativity and how you handle being put on the spot. The only wrong answers to these types of questions are “I don’t know” and any variation on “What kind of ridiculous question is this?” This is an opportunity to go with the flow, show your humor, and be open-minded.
Remember that it’s okay to take a moment to formulate your thoughts before answering any interview question; taking a little time gives you a chance to gather your thoughts and also shows the potential employer that you choose your words carefully and think before acting. The best thing you can do when you get an unconventional question is keep your cool. Take a deep breath, keep your mind flexible and open, and don’t be afraid to be a little creative when answering creative questions.