If You were a Superhero Who Would You be and Other Unusual Interview Questions

Louise Langridge
August 6, 20143 mins read

It is believed that 80% of all interviews are decided within the first five minutes and indeed Richard Branson once declared: “I tend to make up my mind about people within thirty seconds of meeting them.”

What these statements re-iterate to us, once again, is the importance of being well prepared for interviews and the necessity of creating positive lasting impressions.  My colleague Sara Coakley blogged on this (a while ago) but the key points still hold true.

It is easy to find references on how to address standard experience and behavioural based questions, but what happens when you’re asked ‘out of the box” questions which involve you having to think on your feet?  As ever, the trick is to be prepared and to take your time to think things through before answering.  Here are some of the more unusual  “usual”  interview questions which people ask and how to answer them:

“How many planes are there in the sky at any one time?”

Obviously the interviewer is not really asking for a definitive answer here.  The purpose of the question is to see how your mind works and the approach you would take solving problems.  It is fine to ask for further clarification of information as you talk through how to work it out.

“How would your mother describe you?”

This is a question to do with perception and how you see yourself.  It also tests your ability to be objective.

“If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would you choose and why?”

This type of question is asked to reveal your personality traits and your interests.  Answer as honestly as you can with reasons for why these people interest you.

How would you describe “x” to your five year old daughter, in less than 3 sentences.

X could be anything relating to your field of expertise.  What this question is asking is your depth of understanding and your ability to summarise.  It can also be helpful in demonstrating to a perspective employer your ability to explain your subject matter expertise to others.

“How do you define success?”

As long as you can align this to the companies long term strategic goals you will have successfully answered this question.

“Pepsi or Coke”

Aside from if you are interviewing for one of the companies names above there is no right or wrong answer to this.    It is an interviewer throwing you a curve ball – they may be looking for a personality trait which aligns to one of the brands.  In this case I think it is perfectly acceptable to just state one or the other due to the taste.

What is the most unusual interview question you have ever been asked?  Do you have any preferred interviewing technique?

Louise Langridge's picture
APAC Regional Managing Director
llangridge@morganmckinley.com.au

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