We have all heard about off-the-wall interview questions, like ” Yellow is over here. Blue is over there. Where are you?”, but why do interviewers ask this sort of question?
“Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful…”
This question allows you to demonstrate innovation and that you’re not afraid of trying new things. The employer doesn’t want to hear about a time when you failed, and how this ruined your life or that you gave up on something. Talk about a time that you were unsuccessful, but then tell them about how you would do it differently in the future. What have you learnt from the experience? What would you change? What would you keep the same?
“I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum cleaner before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure.”
– James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner
“There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labelled such that no label identifies the actual contents. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?”
The key to this one to listen to the instructions carefully and then think of what the interviewer didn’t say. All of the boxes are labelled incorrectly, and you can’t look into the box you open, but no one said you couldn’t feel around to determine that all of the fruit in the box is the same kind. Once you have the fruit in hand, look for the label that matches that fruit (or mix of fruits) and put it on the box you opened. Then swap the other two labels.
– Asked at an interview for a job at Apple, taken from Yahoo! Shine
Take your time. Don’t rush in with the first answer that pops into your head.
“If you were a song, which song would you be?”
Don’t say Barbie Girl (Aqua)! The interviewer isn’t looking for you to be funny, but to demonstrate that you have the right skills for the job. How about Stronger (Christina Aguilera) because you’ve learnt from experience, or Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd) because you like to keep things straightforward and simple?
Don’t ask what the question has to do with the job you’re applying for. The interview is looking for you to make that link.
“If you were to invite us to dinner, what would you cook?”
If you’re in an interview for a food manufacturer, this is the time to impress them with your knowledge of their products. Tell them that you’d choose the freshest local asparagus as it’s in season, alongside the company’s speciality Chicken in White Wine Sauce, accompanied by their top frozen potato product. The interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate knowledge of the company, their values and product or sector knowledge.