For lots of job candidates, the interview is a make-or-break event. You should always be ready to answer standard questions like “What is your greatest accomplishment?” and the dreaded “What is your greatest weakness?” But there’s also the possibility that the interviewer will hit you with a random question from out of left field, like asking why manhole covers are round, a question supposedly used at Google and Microsoft.
Another example is a question asked by AT&T: “If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?” And Google has been known to ask, “How many basketballs can you fit in this room?” Goldman Sachs, perhaps revealing a bit about its corporate culture, asks, “If you were shrunk to the size of pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?”
But questions like these can be useful, at least from an employer’s perspective. The way candidates answer them can reveal aspects of their personality, how they handle stress, and how sharp their critical thinking is. Questions like the superhero one may be designed to gauge your personality. And the basketball and the pencil-in-the-blender scenarios test critical thinking.
And see the links below for more help getting ready to play 20 questions at your next interview . . .
- Why Are Manholes Round? The 10 Toughest Interview Questions [Forbes]
- 4 ½ Ways to Respond to Oddball Interview Questions [Glassdoor]
- The Sneakiest — and Most Effective — Interview Question [BNET]
- What You Should Never Say in a Job Interview [US News]
- Microsoft’s interview process [Sells Brothers]
- 10 surefire ways to fail an interview [The Grindstone]
- When is it OK to walk out on an interview? [Boston Globe]
- How researching a company can help you land that job [The Hired Guns]
[Photo: Julian Fong/Flickr]