Sometimes you’ll face an interviewer who doesn’t want to ask the run-of-the mill questions that you’ve prepared for. The trick for handling these unique questions is to follow the six tips below:
1. Don’t Panic: “What three items would you use to defend your spaceship from interplanetary warriors?” Uh—help please! Your first reaction to a seemingly random, irrelevant question may be sheer panic and that’s fine, as long as you don’t let it show. Keep your body language confident and engaged. Even if this weird question is throwing you off your internal interview game, it’s best not to let it make you sweat.
2. Let Your Personality Shine: Weird questions are often ways of getting to know who you really are, so let your personality shine! When you’re responding to a question the interviewer knows you haven’t prepared for, they’re more likely to get a better sense of your personality traits and how you’d fit in with their company culture. It’s okay to let them see who you are as this will help you find the right company culture fit too!
3. Make it Relevant-ish: When an interviewer asks you what kind of animal you are you don’t have to say “I’m a lion because of my great leadership skills”. They may be asking the question to get an insight on the skills and personality traits you bring to the table but that doesn’t mean you have to be so on-the-nose when you answer. If you really feel you’d be more akin to a dove or a orangutan, say it! They’ll interpret your answers for the underlying meaning if that’s what they’re looking for or they’ll simply get a little reflection on who you are as a person, which may be all they need to want you on their team.
4. Steer the Question Towards Your Experience: One too many of these weird questions and you may be wondering, where is this interview going? If you feel like things have gotten off track and into strange tangents your interviewer can’t seem to escape from, try to steer the questions towards your experience with the answers you give. For example, if you’re asked “What three things would you bring to a deserted island?” one of those items could be your computer because your love for technology knows no bounds or a complex puzzle book because you’re addicted to solving problems. These answers can lead into questions about your experience using those skills on the job or they could simply hint at your working style, depending on where the interviewer goes next.
5. Pause if Needed: Let’s face it, you like to be prepared for your interviews and when they start asking questions like “Would you rather live in a tree house surrounded by boa constrictors or an arboretum infested with fire ants”, you’re not sure what to think of it. If you need a second to think of your answer, don’t be afraid to take a pause! Pauses can actually help so much in keeping the pace of your interview conversational.
6. Say What You Need to Say: This won’t happen often but, sometimes, you’ll come across an interviewer who can’t seem to focus or stay on track. They get so wrapped up in the fun questions they forget to ask about the important things. It’s up to you to say what you need to say about your experience. If it’s simply a personality interview, let the fun questions flow! If you know this is your chance to talk about your skillset and experience, make sure you say what you need to say before the interview is over.
Sometimes your interview will be filled with generic questions that you anticipated and other times they’ll throw a few odd balls your way. Instead of letting these questions turn your great interview into a sour experience, fight back with these six tips! You can have a great interview even if it’s not exactly what you expected.