You’re probably used to hearing about the typical interview questions that get asked and know exactly how to prepare for them. You could answer “Why do you want this job?” and “Explain a problem you’ve dealt with and how you handled it” in your sleep.
Still, employers today are asking some crazy questions you’ve almost definitely never heard before. Here are 32 quirky interview questions that employers have actually asked – and how to answer them!
While these might seem pointless to you, to an interviewer, these questions show if the person they’re interviewing can think quickly and come up with a quality answer when they’re under pressure. They don’t want something that’s one word — they want it to be insightful and honest.
It’s also a way for them to get a glimpse of the interviewee’s personality and to see if they’ll be a good fit for the company. The real, three-dimensional you that’s behind the resume is revealed in your answer.
- Asked by Urban Outfitters: “What would the name of your debut album be?”
- Asked by Boston Consulting Group: “If you were a brand, what would be your motto?”
- Asked by ZocDoc: “What’s your least favorite thing about humanity?”
- Asked by Urban Outfitters: “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?”
- Asked by Living Social: “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.”
- Asked by Airbnb: “What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?”
- Asked by SinglePlatform: “If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?”
- Asked by Bed, Bath and Beyond: “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?”
For this type of question, just be honest. Make sure you craft a thoughtful response that’s true to who you are. They want to know the type of person that’s going to be working for their company, so let them see that.
If you’re asked something similar to the “favorite song” question, they’re looking for someone with the confidence to stand up and belt it out. Confidence is a key attribute that employers are looking for, and it shows that you’re willing to take risks and are motivated, among other things.
These questions are asked a lot if you’re interviewing for a position in the tech field. The interviewer isn’t really looking for the correct answer. What they want to see is how you think through the problem and your reactions throughout the process. If someone gets stressed or flustered instantly at a challenge, that’s probably not something the interviewer wants in a candidate.
- Asked by Bain & Company: “Estimate how many windows are in New York.”
- Asked by Bose: “If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?”
- Asked by Space Exploration Technologies: “When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?”
- Asked by Delta Air Lines: “How many basketballs would fit in this room?”
- Asked by Google: “Why are manhole covers round?”
- Asked by Facebook: “25 racehorses, no stopwatch. Five tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.”
- Asked by Uniqlo: “If you had $2,000, how would you double it in 24 hours?”
- Asked by Xerox: “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?”
The most important thing to do if you’re asked one of these is to remain calm. Take a deep breath and make sure you’re relaxed before you answer. The interviewer is going to look for any signs of stress to see how you’re able to manage it.
Talk through your answer out loud. The answer isn’t the most important part. It’s all about your process and why you’re choosing the steps that you are.
These kinds of questions give employers an idea of how you’ll handle a workplace scenario and get the job done. However, they aren’t the typical scenario questions that are normally asked.
They’re a combination of brainteaser questions and personal ones. They want to get a sense of your character in the answer and also look at your problem-solving process. These questions can also help reveal what’s important to you when it comes to a job and shows how you deal with a completely unexpected situation.
- Asked by HubSpot: “If I gave you $40,000 to start a business, what would you start?”
- Asked by Dropbox: “If you’re the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?”
- Asked by ThoughtWorks: “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?”
- Asked by Dropbox: “If you woke up and had two thousand unread emails and could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?”
- Asked by Amazon: “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?”
- Asked by Accenture: “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?”
- Asked by J.W. Business Acquisitions: “How would you sell hot cocoa in Florida?”
- Asked by Spirit Airlines: “How would you describe the color yellow to someone who’s blind?”
As with the brainteasers, it’s best to take a deep breath and relax yourself before you answer. These are also questions that require a lot of thought. Explain your process out loud and always explain why you made the choices you did. There’s no “right” answer, so just do your best to give a thoughtful, well-rounded response that shows off the qualities that you think makes you right for this position.
These questions seem like they’re easy enough. They’re disguised as closed-ended questions, but employers want to see you craft your answer into a creative and open-ended response. They want to see you take the responses to these questions to the next level, because most people’s instant reaction is to give the typical few-word answer.
- Asked by Gallup: “What was the last gift you gave someone?”
- Asked by American Heart Association: “What’s the color of money?”
- Asked by Applied Systems: “Have you ever been on a boat?”
- Asked by Norwegian Cruise Line: “Do you believe in Bigfoot?”
- Asked by Stanford University: “Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?”
- Asked by Banana Republic: “What did you have for breakfast?”
- Asked by Coldstone Creamery: “What’s your favorite Disney princess?”
- Asked by Squarespace: “What’s your favorite 90s jam?”
As with most of the other types of questions, you should take your time before you respond. You don’t want to lead with your gut reaction, because that’s usually just the one-word answer they’re expecting. Think things through so you can get to the reason behind what you chose. This will give them the most insight.
If you have a favorite Disney princess or 90s jam, there has to be a reason why you love it so much. If you think Batman is going to win the epic battle against Spiderman, you have to back up why you believe that.
Stay honest but also think about what they could be looking for in an answer to make that connection. If it’s an international business, you’re going to want to have a better answer than “green” for the color of money. If your favorite princess really is Belle and the job involves a lot of reading, include your love for books in your answer.
Why Ask These Types Of Questions?
Employers ask oddball questions because they want to catch you off guard with something you haven’t heard before. They want you to have to think on your feet and watch you process and come up with an answer.
The best way to prepare is just to be ready for whatever they throw at you. Go into the interview ready to do some critical thinking and to answer any crazy question that comes your way. Any answer is better than saying, “I don’t know.” These questions also reveal whether you can keep the conversation going, and responding with “I don’t know” brings that convo to a halt.
Have you been asked any crazy questions in a job interview? Comment with them below! And be sure to share this post for anyone out there prepping for interviews!
While you’re here, be sure to subscribe to the PC newsletter for even more interviewing tips!
*Questions are sourced from various Glassdoor resources. For more oddball questions, check out their list of the top crazy questions for 2016.