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Oddball Interview Questions

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren as Steve is traveling.

Recently I was reading an article on Glassdoornbsp;titled Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions. Just from the title you can probably guess, but a small sample of the questions includes:

  • If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
  • How many snow shovels sold in the US last year?

I look at the questions and I wonder, do these really help determine aptitude and fit? I believe a great hire means matching on skills and how they fit into the culture and understanding what they want to accomplish. Aside from some small talk to check people skills, every question I ask takes my time and their time, so I only ask questions that help me assess quickly. Do these questions do that? It doesn’t seem that way (and so maybe they wouldn’t hire me!).

Note: If you have a couple minutes, read the answers posted by various readers to the list above. Some of them are reallllly funny.

Interviews are hard. Hard for the interviewer and hard for the interviewee. It’s a test (and a first date). Imagine you’re sitting there trying so hard to listen and give answers that are correct and that you believe in, then you get one of these - what do you do? I imagine the tendency is to fight through, try to give some answer while you’re trying to decipher the hidden meaning. Do they want funny? Serious? Some knowledge you don’t have? Is it just a stressor or is it an cultural test?

Thinking back, I’ve never been asked anything like these in an interview. That makes me wonder if they aren’t just about marketing, a way to build mystique and signal the kind of culture they have (or think they have), though it could just as easily be that I interviewed at plain vanilla companies!

So I’m curious. Have you had to answer oddball interview questions and if so, how did it turn out? If you haven’t ever had this come up, what’s your thought - would you try to answer or would you walk away or something else? Let’s chat in the forums.

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