Why do recruiters do it – asking weird and outlandish interview questions?

Asking ‘out there’ interview questions that seemingly have nothing to do with the company or the job at hand is starting to become the norm at some organizations. If you’ve been on the prowl for a new job, you may have already encountered this type of scenario in an interview. From questioning candidates about their favorite superhero to forcing them to perform some silly tasks, bizarre interviews are used by some of the world’s most well-known companies.

The REAL Reason Behind Crazy Interview Questions

You may be wondering just what motivates a recruiter to resort to bizarre interview questions in the first place. To understand this, one must go inside the recruitment game for a moment. The main goal of any recruiter is to identify the best candidates apart from those who don’t have what it takes. This is so they aren’t wasting their efforts on people who will later fail on the job. But, this is not all.

Many job seekers have become pros at answering typical behavioral-based interview questions, making it harder for recruiters to accomplish this goal when everyone responds equally to the same worn out interview questions. This is where the use of creative and out-of-the-box interview questions come into play. They are used to illicit a response from candidates by catching them off guard and forcing them to think harder than others to come up with a good answer. Hopefully, this is making better sense?

These Strange Interview Questions Top the Charts for the Year

Weird, quirky and downright bizarre interview questions are here to stay. We did some research on web sites like Glassdoor, Quora, Reddit, LinkedIn, and others to dig deep into the most popular weird and wonderful interview questions are being posed by some of the world’s leading companies now. For your education and a little entertainment, here’s what we found to be the top 10 most bizarre questions ever asked in the history of interviews (up to now at least):

Question #1: “If you had 2,000 new emails to answer one morning, but had time to answer only 200, how would you decide which ones to answer?”

WHAT? This question was asked of a candidate during a job interview for Dropbox. The question was asked because the interviewer wants to know what type of project management skills the candidate has and how he or she prioritizes tasks and handles those tasks. The right answer might be to demonstrate how one organizes emails and requests by order of priority, such as using email folders and screening tools.

Question #2: “How would you describe the color blue to a blind person?”

HUH? This question was asked by Spirit Airlines. The interviewer likely asked this question because he or she wanted to know how the candidate would deal with sensitive information. The answer also shows the company how the candidate can take a feeling and then use their vocabulary to describe that feeling.

Question #3: “Who is your favorite princess from Disney?”

RIGHT? This bizarre interview question has been asked in the past by the popular ice cream shop known as Cold Stone Creamery. The reasoning behind asking this question is that the interviewer wants to determine the type of people you associate yourself with and what values in team members you look for as a manager. We imagine that the more closely aligned the Disney princess is with the values of the company, the better the candidate fairs in the interview.

Question #4: “If you had a machine that made $100 bills for life, what would you pay for it?”

OH.MY.GOSH. This question was asked by hedge-fund consulting firm, Aksia. It gauges how the candidate uses risk-management skills to come to an answer. It also shows the company if the candidate can calculate the answer quickly and how you think strategically over a period of time. Bring your math skills to the table and show them off, but use common sense to answer this question.

Question #5: “Who can win a fight between Superman and Batman?”

IN YOUR FANTASY. This popular bizarre question was asked of a candidate by Squarespace. The interviewer is looking out for the candidate’s ability to state an opinion and argue it while being decisive. The interviewer might also be looking for how creative the candidate is in their response to the question. This is an oft-used interview question that’s gaining traction with a lot of companies, so put on your cape and ride the wave.

Question #6: “What song best describes your work ethic?”

SING FOR YOUR SUPPER. This question was asked by Dell, according to a recent interviewee’s testimony. The reason for the question is that the company wants to know if you can be creative in how you answer and if you can think on your feet. A song can often hide secret meanings to how you may relate to your peers, your values, and if you can be part of the ‘harmony’ of the workplace (get it?).

Question #7: “Have you ever stolen pens (or other office supplies) from work?”

ME? NO! This weird interview question was asked by Jiffy Software. It was asked because the interviewer knows that most people take office supplies as small as pens and paperclips from the office, so they want to know if the interviewee can be honest in his or her response. They will also watch the body language of the candidate to determine if a lie is being told. This is a classic behavioral response question, so answer carefully.

Question #8: “How much would you charge to wash every window in Seattle?”

YEAH, RIGHT. This interview question was asked by Facebook, based on a recent interviewee. Why did they ask this? The interviewer wants to know how quickly a candidate can think on his or her feet. Think about it, Seattle gets a ton of rain throughout the year, so the windows will be washed naturally.

Question #9: “Why is a manhole cover round?”

This is a very popular, yet bizarre interview question that has been asked by Google in the past. The quick answer is “so the cover does not fall into the manhole”. The candidate is asked this question to determine if he or she can think on their feet and if they have common sense to come up with the right answer. So, leave your square manhole covers at home.

Question #10: “What happened when the man pushed his car to a hotel, but lost his entire fortune?”

I’M STUMPED. This question was also asked by Google and is truly bizarre. Do you know the answer? Give up yet? OK, here’s the solution: The man lost his fortune because he landed on boardwalk. This question really gets the candidate thinking about the potential answer. It is asked because the company wants to know if the candidate can come up with the correct answer, and if not, what type of creative answer is provided.

How to Deal with Bizarre Interview Questions

It’s entirely possible you have come across a bizarre question in a job interview because recruiters are always looking for ways to stump candidates. After all, they do interview hundreds of people every year and it’s bound to get a little dull at times. It’s important that you mentally prepare yourself in the off-chance you do get asked some of these weird interview questions, so you don’t sit there with your mouth open and no sound coming out. Here’s how:

Do your research before you head to the interview. Company review websites and social networks abound with advice about the kinds of interview questions companies are normally asking. Get to the bottom of this and take note of any unusual questions or practices being utilized by these companies before you actually have the interview.

Ask someone who works there. Use your social networking skills to locate an employee at the company who you may know (or whom knows someone in your network) and find out if the company asks weird interview questions. Get the scoop on anything they do that’s different so you can be prepared on the big day.

Try to be creative and professional at the same time. It can be difficult to try to appear as confident as possible when you are posed a weird interview question that just wants to make you burst out laughing. However, just smile and take it in stride. Use your creative brain to come up with a good answer. The answer doesn’t necessarily have to be the right one, as the interviewer is actually just looking for how you will respond.

Final words of advice: Be ready for the challenges of getting a job by using creativity and common sense and you will be able to ace any job interview.

As a job seeker, have you ever been asked any of these weird interview questions? We’d love to hear from you so please share your comments in the comment space below!