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Useful Interview Questions

Who would ask that kind of question…..a selection of unusual interview questions?
Chances are you’ve never given much thought to how you might fit an elephant into a fridge or why manhole covers are round instead of square. However, it’s because of their obscure nature that weird questions like this are becoming more common in job interviews. In fact, a recent survey found that two out of five candidates had been asked a ‘weird’ question in their interview.

Such questions may seem entirely unrelated to a role but they can reveal a lot about a candidate’s ability and personality so it’s worth being prepared for them. This is particularly true in challenging marketing economic market conditions when employers want to add some interesting twists and turns to the interview and selection process. So how can you best respond to this line of questioning in a cool and composed way?

The key is to take your time to think about the question and why they might be asking it. How can it relate to the company or the role? Is it a chance to show off your mathematical ability, lateral thinking, or engineering know-how? Or is it just there to test your personality and creativity? Apply a reasonable rationale to your answer and your efforts will be recognised.

Here are some examples of questions you could face and how you might answer them:

How many people are using Linked In in Bristol at 2.30 pm on a Friday?

This question must have a factual answer, but the journey to working that out is complex. Think what it might mean to you in your role. If it’s a digital marketing role, they may be testing your awareness of key audiences and how and when they use social networks. Alternatively, they could simply be trying to get an understanding of how important you think social networks are in working life. Think about all the factors that could influence the answer and talk them through step-by-step.

What do you think about garden gnomes?

Not all questions are serious. You might be asked a question like this to show your sense of humor in an otherwise formal situation. It’s still worth thinking about the question though and how it might relate to your role. For example, you could say that you admire their reliability as they often stay rooted to the same spot. If you were going for an engineering or construction role you could question whether they have the right tools for the job and so on.

Who is your favorite movie character?

Your friends may have endearingly nicknamed you ‘Bridget’, but is this the kind of workplace personality you want to project? Think of characters that have qualities employers are looking for, whether it’s someone who is heroic (Superman), a champion (Rocky), a screen goddess (Grace Kelly) and so on. Avoid picking the villain and don’t pick an obscure film that no one knows.,

If you were a Microsoft Office programme which would you be?

While based on a common office tool, this question can reflect a lot about you, your personality, and how you like to work. Access might suggest meticulous organization, Outlook that you are a communicator and enjoy interacting with colleagues and customers, and PowerPoint might infer that you understand the world through visual impact and making bold statements, and so on.

The important thing to remember with unusual/weird interview questions is that they are just one part of the process. Embrace them as an opportunity to expand on your potential beyond your CV and traditional interview questions and show your more creative side.

Jane Middleton is the founding partner of The Middleton Partnership – an independent Human Resources consultancy focussed on providing best practice support and advice to smaller businesses.
Jane set up The Middleton Partnership in January 2011 having spent 17 years working in senior HR business partner roles in for Citi, Cazenove, J.P. Morgan, and IHG hotels.
To contact Jane Middleton, please email her on jane@themiddletonpartnership.com, talk to her on 07900 250782 or find out more information about what The Middleton Partnership can do for your business at www.themiddletonpartnership.com

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