The best interview questions provide insight into a potential hire’s thought process, critical thinking skills and overall personality, instead of just a rehearsed list of achievements accomplished and lessons learned.
Rate-your-company startup Glassdoor recently compiled a list of the top 25 oddball questions that businesses like Yahoo, Airbnb and UrbanOutfitters routinely ask interviewees.
“It’s helpful for both job seekers and employers to familiarize themselves with the downright weird interview questions that are being used to identify great candidates,” says Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s community expert.
From the employer’s side, Dobroski says, unexpected questions are a good tactic for forcing job candidates to think on their feet.
And for potential hires? It’s a chance to think outside the box because a bad response is often the expected response. One of Dobroski’s favorite questions on the list this year comes from the American Heart Association, which asks interviewees: What is the color of money?
“The worst answer you can give is either,’ I don’t know,’ or ‘Green,’” he says. “It’s OK to answer a question with a question, or ask for a clarification.” For example, “‘Are you talking about the color of money in the UK? India? In Bitcoins?’ In this case, there’s obviously not one correct reply.”
Here are 25 oddball questions that companies are asking to freshen up the interview process.
1. “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” – The Zappos Family, Customer Loyalty Team Member interview.
2. “How lucky are you and why?” – Airbnb, Content Manager interview.
3. “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” – Apple, Specialist interview.
4. “If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?” – Red Frog Events, Event Coordinator interview.
5. “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?” – Dell, Account Manager interview.
6. “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?” –Yahoo, Search Quality Analyst interview.
7. “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Bed Bath & Beyond, Sales Associate interview.
8. “Do you believe in Bigfoot?” – Norwegian Cruise Line, Casino Marketing Coordinator interview.
9.”Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” – Xerox, Client Manager interview.
10.”What is your least favorite thing about humanity?” – ZocDoc, Operations Associate interview.
11. “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the U.S.?” — Factual, Software Engineer interview.
12. “How honest are you?” — Allied Telesis, Executive Assistant interview.
13. “How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?” — Goldman Sachs, Programmer Analyst interview.
14. “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami ‘cootie catcher’ with just words?” – LivingSocial, Consumer Advocate interview.
15.”If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?” – McKinsey & Company, Associate interview.
16. “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?” — Urban Outfitters Sales Associate interview.
17. “How does the internet work?” – Akamai, Director interview.
18. “If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?” –SinglePlatform, Inside Sales Consultant interview.
19. “What’s the color of money?” – American Heart Association, Project Manager interview.
20. “What was the last gift you gave someone?” – Gallup, Data Analyst interview.
21. “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” – Applebee’s, Bartender/Neighborhood Expert Server interview.
22. “How many snow shovels sold in the U.S. last year?” – TASER, Leadership Development Program interview.
23. “It’s Thursday; we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?” – ThoughtWorks, Junior Consultant interview.
24. “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.” – Active Network, Client Applications Specialist interview.
25. “Have you ever been on a boat?” – Applied Systems, Graphic Designer interview.
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