What’s your spirit animal? If you were the size of a dime, how would you get out of a blender? Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Hiring managers can ask some pretty crazy interview questions, and, whether you like it or not, you need to answer them if you want the job. Answering them is a little more involved than saying the first thing you can think of. For the most part, hiring managers are trying to break through the polished answers you’ve prepared, to learn more about how you think on your feet.
While a number of these questions have seemingly “correct” answers, most of the time it’s the thought process that goes into them that hiring managers are actually evaluating. Here are a few strategies to implement when a hiring manager asks you whether or not you believe in bigfoot:
First things first, take a deep breath, and collect your thoughts. Remember, hiring managers are trying to throw you off… don’t let them. As you consider your answer, don’t fidget or stare blankly. Try to keep your composure, and look your interviewer in the eyes, as you begin your answer.
Keeping your cool is one thing, but being genuinely enthusiastic about answering crazy questions is even more impressive. Use the opportunity to show the hiring manager how enthusiastically you attack challenges in your life. Instead of shying away from the question, meet it head-on, and be confident about about your response.
While you’re thinking about your answer, try to determine why the hiring manager is asking that particular question. Are they trying to see how you think through problems? Are they trying to figure out if you’ll be a good fit for their organization? If you can determine why the question is being asked, then highlight the skills, characteristics or work experience they are looking for in your answer.
Whether you figure out the true reasoning behind the question or not, it’s good practice to frame your answer in a way that highlights your best characteristics.
For example, if the hiring manager asks what “Modern Family” character you consider yourself, don’t cut your answer short by picking your favorite. Instead, talk about some of the personal characteristics that make that character who he or she is, and tie them back into your life. If they ask you if if you consider yourself to be more of a hunter or gatherer, show your critical thinking skills by discussing the pros and cons of both groups and how you fit into one or the other.
Remember, hiring managers aren’t just evaluating your answers, they’re evaluating how you answer and what your answers say about the value you could bring to their company.
You won’t always be able to determine why the question is being asked or what the best answer is, and that’s OK. The most important thing is that you be open and honest with the hiring manager. Whatever you do, don’t try to tell the hiring manager what you think they want to hear. Hiring managers interview people every day, and they can tell when potential hires are not being sincere.
If you don’t know an answer, but it’s something you could easily find, don’t make one up. Instead, let the hiring manager know that you know where to find the answer and what resources you would consult to solve the problem. Sometimes, having all the answers right away is not as important as knowing when to take your time to work through a problem and when to do some research.
The next time a hiring manager asks you how you would fit a square peg into a round hole, take a breath, consider why they are asking you the question, and give them a confident answer that highlights the value you can add to their organization.
What crazy interview questions have you been asked? How did you handle the answers? Share your experiences in the comments below!