Answering The Tough Interview Questions
Let’s face it. When you’re unemployed, looking for a job, facing interview questions is stressful enough. Even if you already have a job and are just looking for something better, or you are unexpected questions can really throw you off. And there goes the opportunity as you stumble through an answer.
We all learned long ago that preparation is critical. Over-prepare, some experts even say. Even so, what do you do when you’ve made it to third base in the interview, and the interviewer throws a curve ball? Preparation is still key, but being able to quickly adapt your rehearsed responses is what makes the difference. We’ve assembled these resources of the best tips, tricks, and responses to help you ace the interview. Here they are:
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
What’s the worst they can throw at you? Apparently, there is no limit, and nothing is out of bounds. Part of the reason that you might hear really bizarre interview questions is that they want to see how well and how quickly you can handle unexpected situations. That said, here are some actual recent questions thrown at applicants:
“Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?”
“When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?”
“What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?”
Yes, believe it or not, those questions were really asked. GlassDoor lists them and several others along with who the offending company was. How to handle them? A Better Interview says:
- “Get creative and have fun.
- This is your chance to break the interview mold and have some fun. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer to any of these interview questions; it’s all about your reaction, which we discussed above.
- Keep your responses positive and stay away from anything negative.
- As we already shown you above in the examples, while it is okay to think, “what a stupid question”, do not say it! Refer to the above approach. Have fun with it and tell a joke maybe.
- Don’t shrug your shoulders.
- Next to the negative response, saying “I don’t know”, is just as bad. This is interviewing 101. Never say, “I don’t know” to any question ever!”
Check out even more oddball questions and coaching on answers at A Better Interview.
Exam Prep 101
Let’s step back a minute. Sometimes, it helps to re-frame what’s going on. We’ve all prepared for some pretty tough exams in our lives. The SAT, ACT, and LSAT were not exactly the casual Friday pop quiz. But we did well because we prepared.
The internet is full of lists of the top ten, twenty, or twenty-five interview questions. Prepare with those, and you’ll likely get a passing grade. Which, in today’s competitive job world, isn’t good enough. So why approach the job interview with any less fervor than you did the college entrance exams? If you’ve found the job you really want, study and rehearse all the questions until you can give an oscar-worthy answer.
The most extensive list I’ve found is Winning Answers to 500 Interview Questions, which was published in 2014. It’s a couple years old so the latest in the interviewers arsenal may not be there. Just published (May 2016) is 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed. He breaks possible interview questions down into classic, career goal, character, and competency categories. More importantly, though, he gets into the nuts and bolts of the interview. What makes the interviewer tick and what his or her motivations are. Even though he presents fewer questions, the thoughtful insights are extremely valuable in preparing for virtually any interview and any set of interview questions. It’s a must-read.
Ace the Test: Anticipate the Interview Questions
Think about how much time the average person puts into interview preparation compared to prep for a college exam. It’s crazy when you consider that college is four years . . . and your professional life spans decades. Why not put in the time and effort to be at the top of the applicant heap and finally land that job you’ve dreamed of?
Oh, and if you already landed that dream job, and now you are in charge of media relations, it’s just as important to be prepared!
Penguin Popofatticus Interview Room Bill Strain