How to answer weird interview questionsNovember 12, 2007 by sarah ennenga
Reprinted courtesy of TheCareerNews.com
NEW YORK, NY — Career experts advise job applicants to rehearse answers to common questions ahead of the interview. But what’s a job seeker to do when asked an oddball query like: “What is your perception of the painting in the lobby?” That question — along with “Can you tell a joke?” and “What would you do with a million dollars?” — were among some of the most bizarre questions posed by interviewers in the past year, according to a survey of 3,725 job hunters by Development Dimensions International (DDI) Inc. and Monster Worldwide Inc.
Cathy Goodwin, a career consultant in Seattle, says some interviewers ask strange questions because it’s company policy. “They don’t know how to interpret them any more than you do,” she says. The purpose is often to see how well job seekers think on their feet, so when posed an off-kilter question, it’s best to not get rattled, she adds. No matter how bizarre the question, offer a response, says Tom Gimbel, chief executive officer of The LaSalle Network, a recruiting firm based in Chicago. “Not answering doesn’t accomplish anything,” he says.
Beyond the goofy questions are the inappropriate ones. The DDI/Monster survey indicates that hiring managers also pose queries about personal matters. You may be able to avoid giving a direct answer to an intrusive question by guessing the interviewer’s motivation, says Scott Erker, a senior vice president at DDI, an executive-search consulting firm in Pittsburgh, Pa. For example, if an interviewer asks how many children you have, assume he or she wants to know if you’ll be able to balance work and family, he explains. Answer by describing your ability to get the job done, says Mr. Erker.
Article abridged from Career Journal, and reprinted from TheCareerNews.com. Get the latest breaking News, Tips and Tools for your job search, Free!
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