Interviewing for a new job is stressful enough on its own, and when you add unusual questions meant to destabilize you in the mix, you can lose control a little too fast.
Many big companies are known for asking crazy questions during the interview process. Whether it’s Google, Amazon, or Stanford University, here are some of the most unusual questions asked during an interview, and how we think you should answer them.
If you were a superhero, which one would you be?
You have 2 options here: to create your own superhero, or pick your favorite Avenger (or DC character, no judgment here) and relate it to your future job. Captain Punctual could be your always-on-time alter ego. Iron Man, on the other hand, is smart, resourceful and handy.
The question is almost too easy: a superhero is usually presented with a variety of strengths and skills. No matter which one you pick, it’s hard to go wrong. As long as you don’t go with The Joker or Thanos, you should be just fine.
If you were a marine animal, which one would you be?
This kind of question is meant to gauge your personality and see what you could bring to the team. Let yourself go a little crazy! There is no wrong answer, and this is the time to show your sense of humour.
My favourite answer: a clownfish has the ability to switch genders (yes, really!) and can therefore be a great example of your ability to adapt to different situations. It’s original, unusual, and less aggressive than saying “Well I’d be a shark ‘cause they eat other fish!”.
Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?
Yes, I know, the answer is obvious… Spiderman would win by a long shot (this answer is not open for debate). But even if we all know this is the true answer, it might not be the right answer to give in an interview.
Think about it: Batman uses the tools at his disposition to defend himself. He works hard and puts more efforts into his fights, right? These qualities are more relevant in an interview than “he got bit by a radioactive spider”. The strategy to keep in mind: always try to sell yourself. Each question is an opportunity to do so.
If you were a pizza delivery person, how would you benefit from a pair of scissors?
Alright, so. This question requires a bit more thinking. The best way to approach it is simple: quantity over quality (yes, for once, this is the path to go with. Trust me).
You could use the scissors to make origami with the pizza box, or cut napkins in half if you ever ran out, or cut a thread hanging from your uniform, or trim your beard…
You could even go with a simple “I’d cut my delivery time in half”! Personally, that’s my favourite answer.
The important thing is to show your ability to find multiple uses for an otherwise simple, somewhat unusual object, and show a little creativity. Just a little, I promise - I know you’re (probably) not Picasso.
If you got shrunk down to the size of a pencil and dropped into a mixer, how would you get out?
Yes, this is a real one, and now it’s getting complicated. There are many possibilities here. The first thing to remember is: ask questions. Show them that you’re actually thinking about this question. For real.
In the mixer, once you get shrunk down, do you keep your clothes? Yes? Then you can rip them up and use them to make a rope.
Is the mixer running? No? Okay, phew!
Are you the size of a fresh out-of-the-box pencil, or have you been sharpened hundreds of times before? A new pencil could easily reach up to three quarters of the mixer’s height. All you have to do then is raise your arms, grip the edge, and haul yourself up.
You’re too short? What’s the mixer’s diameter? Can you stretch out your arms and legs and use the walls to prop yourself up? Spy style?
The important thing isn’t that you make it out of the mixer, but to show your ability to think and show interest in a problem, no matter how ridiculous it is. It shows your future employer that you take things seriously and that you consider all your options before making a decision.
This obviously applies to each of those questions. Be yourself, take some time to think the questions over, and humour your interviewer. A laugh can go a long way in an interview!