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Are Oddball Interviews Becoming the Norm?
In today’s job market, recruiters are resorting to some bizarre interviewing techniques to tap into the personalities and work ethics of candidates. The use of weird interview questions and activities is becoming the norm, especially among companies that have above average competition from job seekers. From out-of-the-ordinary interview questions that border on invasive practices to group interview challenges that bring out the competition in candidates, interviews are transformed into a do-or-die scenario.
Let’s take a look at some of the oddball interview questions to watch out for!
When Job Interviews Go Weird
Unless you’ve heard the stories of strange interview questions coming from some of the well-known companies like Google, Apple and Amazon; you may freak out a little when a weird interview question is thrown at you. For example, in our Quora poll, one respondent indicated that he was handed a box by the hiring manager and told “not to open it”. Then the interviewer promptly left the room, locking the door behind him. Then a note was passed under the door, stating “use the box to find your way out.” This interviewing method was used to pick out the candidates who showed “bold leadership skills”.
Other weird interview questions include, “Would you like to run my company?” and “Why should I hire you if you will be working for my competitor in five years?” Obviously, by using weird interviewing questions and tactics, recruiters are challenging candidates to think outside the box and come up with creative responses. The more creative and resourceful the response, the better chances candidates have.
The Wackier, the Better
Recruiters tend to have a sense of humor these days, and it’s not surprising given they work with people all day. Therefore, the use of wacky interview questions and activities is popular. Some interesting interview questions came in during the Quora poll, from those who had experienced the weirdest. Interview questions such as, “If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?” and “Does your father wear a suit to work?”, as well as, “How will you feel if I don’t offer you this job?” were definitely pushing the envelope in terms of interviewing questions.
Hiring managers may choose to use weird interviewing questions like the above for a couple of valid reasons. First, they are trying to break the ice with a humorous interview question that gets the candidate smiling and thinking on their feet. Second, weird interview questions often illicit an emotional response, which gives recruiters a sneak peek into how a candidate may react under pressure. When encountering a weird interview question, take a deep breath, smile, and use your sense of humor to come up with an equally great answer.
Walking on the Wild Side
There are also times when interviews become a little tool wild, even for the seasoned job seeker. Interviews that ranked high on the wild-o-meter included, “Do you like red, white, or beer first thing in the morning?” and “Have you ever stabbed anyone in the eye with a screwdriver?” were submitted by users on Quora. We’ve also heard of hiring managers who brought their subject into the interviewing room to meet with a recruiter, only to have the recruiter sit there silently across from the table with hands crossed and not asking one question. These are among the wildest and least common of all the possible oddball interviews that candidates have encountered.
When faced with an interview that’s a bit too wild for your taste as a candidate, you have two choices: Grin and bear it, answering the interview question or discussing your career achievements as well as you can muster. Or, walk out. Consider if you want to work at this company bad enough to put up with future weirdness and a corporate culture that allows this kind of interviewing.
Wrong and Illegal Interviews
Sometimes, job interviews cross over the line between being weird and being discriminatory in nature. Some of the respondents to our poll indicated that they had been asked questions during interviews about their marital or parental status (if they were or planned to get married or have children in the near future), what their ethnicity was, when they graduated from college or high school (age), or if they could explain certain religious beliefs. Some interviewers were even bold (or foolish) enough to ask straight out how old a candidate was, if they had children, or if they had health problems.
It’s important to note that certain interview questions are illegal under current federal employment laws. Remember, you have the right to refuse to answer ANY interview question that makes you uncomfortable or is too invasive into your private life. The interview process is not an interrogation, it’s an opportunity to find out if you are suitable for a specific assignment and the corporate culture. Use caution and listen carefully when facing any weirdness in an interview. By thinking on your toes and using smart answers, you may just get the job. Or you may just realize that the job is not for you.
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