"What Do You Think of Garden Gnomes?" and Other Strange Interview Questions

Have you ever been asked a strange question in an interview?  What do you think that they were hoping to learn by asking you that question?  How did you respond? Glassdoor.com collected the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions of 2011.  Let’s take a look at a few of those questions to determine why the employer may have asked them, and how you can successfully answer them.
1.  “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.”  Asked at Acosta. 
This is a request that is designed to evaluate how you handle stress.  The best way to respond to this request is to tell a story that demonstrates why you would be an excellent fit for this position.  It makes use of the time effectively, and you may not get another opportunity to convey that information.
 2.  “If you could be #1 employee, but have all your coworkers dislike you, or you could be #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?”  Asked at ADP.      This question is trying to determine your values.  What is more important to you; your relationship with your coworkers, or achieving excellence in your job?  This is a trick question because they both should be important to you.  A good strategy would be to say that in your experience, it is difficult to be successful without the support of your coworkers.  You could even provide an example of an accomplishment that you achieved by co-operating with others.  Often, when the interviewer gives you an “either/or” question, the best answer is “neither”.  3. “How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?” Asked at Disney Parks & Resorts.        This question is designed to assess your creativity and your problem solving skills.  Take a minute to relax and to really think about the question.  You can even make notes if it helps.  The interviewer will probably be happy with two or three solutions.  If you can come up with a unique idea, it will help distinguish you from your competitors.  4.  “How would you cure world hunger?”  Asked at Amazon.com.      This question may be evaluating your knowledge of current events, and could also be used to determine how you think.  Be careful when you answer this question that you don’t give away your political views.  The best approach is to demonstrate that you have some knowledge on the issue, and offer some general solutions.  Unless you are applying for a position in development, the employer will not be looking for a detailed plan. 5.  “If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?” Asked at Summit Racing Equipment.        When you answer this question, you reveal your values, and also how you perceive yourself.  What do you think is important?  How do you think that other people see you?  When answering this question, think about the job description and determine which MS Office program would be the best fit.  Keep the answer light and show your sense of humour.As you can see, the secret is not in how you answer the specific question, but rather it is in how you handle yourself in the interview.  The employer knows that you have been practicing interview questions.  They may ask you uncommon interview questions in an attempt to catch you off guard, as they may feel that it will give them a more accurate picture of your personality.  Don’t be afraid of these types of questions.  View them as an opportunity to demonstrate that you are a confident and creative problem solver.
Here is a link to Glassdoor’s full list of 25 Oddball Interview questions:
(Photo From: Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

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