How to Handle Strange Interview Questions

You're sitting in your interview, it's going well, you're feeling confident... and then the hiring manager asks you, "How many light bulbs are in this building," or "If you were a kitchen utensil, which would you be?"

It's one of the most bizarre things to experience in an interview - the weird question. Some recruiters or hiring managers claim that it gives additional insight into the candidates, their analytical skills, logic or personality. Some view it as a way to get to know you better without asking personal questions.

As if preparing interviews weren't stressful enough, now you have to prepare for questions like, "How many cows are in Canada?"  Your best defense against weird questions? Preparation and confidence.

Don't judge the value of the question
No matter how curious you are, avoid asking what the question has to do with the job. For whatever reason, the hiring manager thought it was important or relevant, so treat the question as you would any normal interview question. Answer it simply, succinctly, and move on.

Take your time
These questions are meant to throw you for a loop. Take a deep breath, and allow yourself to process before answering. A well thought-out answer will give the interviewer some insight into your thought process and problem-solving abilities. On the other hand, a rushed, fumbling answer will leave a less than favorable impression.

Keep smiling
You've heard the saying, "Fake it until you make it," right? This situation is a perfect example. Act as if you were expecting the question, as if you want to answer this question. You may be unsure of yourself, but don't let the interviewer see that. Go right ahead and answer the question as professionally as you can.

The reality is that other than giving a bit of insight into your personality or thought process, these questions don't give anyone much information. They certainly don't speak to your skills, experience or accomplishments. Sometimes interviewers rely on these types of questions because they themselves are uncomfortable in the interview. No matter what happens, if you're confident and prepared, you'll be ready for whatever type of question comes your way.

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