If you have a job interview coming up, chances are you’ve been busy memorizing your resume and getting ready to sell your qualifications. What you may be less prepared for are the whimsical questions that seem completely unrelated to your career. While you certainly can’t control what you’re going to be asked, you can prepare to “expect the unexpected.” If you’re new to the interview process, you may be surprised to learn that many hiring managers are increasingly moving away from typical interview questions and taking a slightly different approach.
As you prepare for your next interview, here are a few crazy questions you may be asked during interviews – and how to handle them:
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
Essentially, the hiring manager wants to see how well you can think on your feet. While this is never a pleasant experience, it’s best to make light of it and know there’s no really no wrong answer as long as you express yourself honestly and openly. What you can do, however, is respond in a way that sheds some light on your personality. For example, you may say, “I’d probably be a chimpanzee because of my strong people skills and ability to interact well with others!” The key to these types of questions is to take them in stride and not become frazzled. In fact, think of these questions as a gift – you can respond freely while having some fun!
Are you planning on having children?
While this may seem like a harmless question on the surface, it’s in an illegal interview question! Any questions directly concerning your personal life – such as your family status, gender, nationality, religion and age, are off-limits when it comes to a professional interview. Regardless of the reason why the interviewer is asking this type of question, it’s not your responsibility to answer it. Instead, respond in a neutral way and keep your answer short and simple. For example, you may say, “I enjoy spending time with my family; they’re very supportive of my career and excited about the possibility of me working with your company.” Or, you may choose to redirect a question to the interviewer, such as “I’m very interested in growth opportunities at the company. Can you tell me more about this?” For more information on illegal interview questions, visit one of our recent blog posts about this topic here.
What do you like to do for fun?
You may be wondering how this question is at all relevant to the job itself. However, it’s important to understand that employers are looking for candidates with more to offer besides their qualifications on paper. They want to invest in people who have interests and hobbies outside of work, as this will give them a sense of how well you’d fit within their culture. In this instance, it’s OK to give a glimpse into your personal life while still controlling the situation. For example, do you enjoy winemaking? Go ahead and talk about it! Getting drunk every Saturday? This is something you want to avoid! The key is to shed some light on your personality and lifestyle while using some discretion. You want this environment to be a good match for you too!
Knowing how to approach these types of questions is half the battle for achieving a top-notch interview performance. With practice, answering challenging interview questions will become a breeze!
Ready to interview for your next position?