The anticipation is what kills me the most before a job interview. I’m generally okay when I arrive at the location, but the build up is almost enough to make me consider self-medicating. No matter how prepared I am, I still fear the unknown.
As it turns out, that fear of mine is sometimes quite justified. Some job interviews end up being strange encounters. Prepared answers to questions about your skills, successes and experiences can be moot when you’re asked some of the bizarre, left-field questions that certain interviewers like to throw at you.
- I once met a ‘one-question interviewer’. He just asked me the same question over and over again: “What would this reference say about you?” for each of my references. I finally answered: “They would clearly say that I’m brilliant and a pleasure to work with, but I’ve listed their contact information so that you could hear it from them directly.”
I may have sounded snappish. I didn’t end up getting that particular job.
- A friend of mine recently interviewed in an office that appeared to be flooding. Pots and bowls were collecting water from the dripping ceiling, computers were covered in plastic tarps, and in the middle of the interview the power went out. They were sitting there in the pitch black. Without skipping a beat the interviewer asked: “So, why did you leave your last job?”
My friend replied, “You really want to keep interviewing me?”
She said, “Sure, this happens all the time.”
So the interview carried on in the dark, and my friend got the job. Sometimes it’s not the answer to a question that the interviewer is really looking for; they are more interested in seeing your thought process. They want to know that you can handle the unexpected, that you can think on your feet.
So, in appreciation of ‘Job Interviews Gone Wild’ we asked our Facebook fans and friends to share the bizarre interview questions that they’ve encountered.
Here are your eight strangest interview questions:
- Someone once asked me what my astrological sign was! – Amy W.
- A recruiter once asked me what my favourite colour was. (I told her that I was offended by her racist question.) – Kaylee
- Someone asked me how I would peel an orange – Brad
- What part of a car would you say that you were? – Peter
- What role would you play in the House of Commons – Debbie
- I was asked what kind of fruit I was – Andy
- If you were an animal, what would you be? – Amy D.
- I was once asked what colour my wife was??? (I’m black by the way.) - Franklin White
What have we learned? Be prepared, be very prepared, but also be candid, be yourself, and learn to roll with the punches. How you react can be at least as important as what specifically you say. And remember an interview is a two-way street. As much as they’re evaluating you for the role, you have to decide if it’s in a place you’d actually like to work.
Best of luck with all of your interviews, and if you come across some strange questions or bizarre encounters, let us know. We’d love to share them with our readers.
Jenna Charlton is a Toronto writer and blogger and a regular Workopolis contributor