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Why Does an Interviewer Ask Strange Questions When You’re Applying for a Job?

So, you’ve done the work to put together your resume and network and you’ve finally landed a job interview. Great job! Now it’s time to prepare for anything that might be thrown at you during the interview itself. We all know the typical questions you might receive like, “Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge,” but what are some strange questions you might encounter? Here are a few you can be ready for.


Why Does an Interviewer Ask Strange Questions When You’re Applying for a Job?

Weird hypothetical setups.


An interviewer might attempt to throw you off by setting up a situation and asking how you would handle it. When you get a question like this, an employer is likely looking for how creative your answer will be. According to a recruiter who spoke with Monster.com, when asking these questions, they were trying to discover your, “creativity, depth of response, and knowledge of history.” Seems a little daunting and hard to prepare for, and it is. So just know that if faced with this kind of question, think outside the box and show off your depth of knowledge.


Stating your preference.


Another interview tactic some hiring managers will use involves giving you two options and asking you to choose your preference. Or they may ask your opinion on something that seems trivial. For example, you may be asked which you like better, dogs or cats. Or, you may be asked something simple like what’s your favorite restaurant and why. These types of questions really have no correct answer, so you can’t prepare yourself to say the right thing. Take this opportunity to entertain with a story and appear engaging, rather than get tripped up on the oddity of the question or the perfection of your answer.


Testing your ethics.


For legal reasons, an interviewer isn’t allowed to ask you questions about things like your religion, but they can feel out your character by asking certain kinds of questions. In this category, you might encounter a strange question like, “What is one offense you would commit if you could get away with it.” Imagine how uncomfortable that question may make you during a job interview of all things. However, this is again a perfect time to show you think quickly on your feet and to turn the question around to your advantage. For example, you could answer with addressing common atrocities like hurting someone who abuses children or stealing and giving to the poor.


And that’s really the point behind strange interview questions—to test you in some way. Interviewers either want to see your level of creativity or personal values. Forcing you outside of your comfort zone shows a hiring manager your thought processes and how quickly you can react. Think about how important that would be to them in positions that involve emergency procedures.


It’s always good to be prepared for anything, so think about these categories and what strange questions you may encounter during your next interview.


 

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