ALC Consulting

June 30, 2009

Wacky Interview Questions

Filed under: Interviewing — Anne Cloward @ 10:59 am
Tags: , ,

I love this picture and wanted to use it in this series.

Today I am going to digress a bit and talk about some wacky interview questions that I have heard over the years. Yes, I have been asked some of them myself.

  • If you were a tree, animal, bird, “Lost” character (or other creature), what would you be?

I honestly feel that this has nothing to do with my being a developer, writer or designer. project manager or marketing analyst. It certainly doesn’t give me a chance to show my stuff and wastes time.

  • Or If you were a tree, what would be your greatest weakness?

Lumberjacks.

  • Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?

Again, I have no idea why anyone would want me to know that fact in order to obtain employment.

  • If you won the $10 million lottery, would you still work?

Do you think I am crazy as well as unemployed!

  • Silence. You answer and interviewer’s question and instead of asking another, the interviewer just sits there in silence.

This is meant to unnerve you. If this comes after a tricky question (the fatal flaw or who was your worst boss one), you are tempted to rush in and fill in the void with babbling.

Refuse to be intimated. Just shoot back, after a reasonable length of time, “Is there anything else I can fill in on that point?”

  • What do you define as sexual harassment, or pornography?

No one in his right mind would touch that one. Walk out on the interviewer fast!

  • What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

The only correct answer to this one is: African or European swallow? Or get fancy and go with:

“I would have to ask for more information on the circumstances. Now the obvious first question is the geographic origin of the swallow but I doubt that that would actually be a large determining factor in coming to a meaningful conclusion. I can’t imagine that the differences in sub-species of swallows would account for more than a small fraction of a difference in airspeeds given that all other factors are the same.

More important aspects would be the density and makeup of the air the swallow is traveling in, whether the swallow is traveling in any sort of wind, whether the swallow is traveling under its own power, etc.

A scenario where our hapless bird is shot out of a cannon with a head wind in Denver will have a dramatically different answer than a swallow traveling under its own power at sea level in calm.

Additionally, even if I was given this information I would have to confess my ignorance being that I am neither an aeronautical engineer nor an ornithologist”

I mean, if they want nerd I am going to give them NERD!!

  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?

One classic answer from comedian Mitch Hedberg is, “Celebrating the 5-year anniversary of you asking me this question!”

  • What would you like to see on your tombstone when you die?

Um, let me get back to you on that one. Or, I plan to be cremated and have NO tombstone to worry about.

  • Based on what you know about us, (from a 30 minute interview) what would you suggest we change in order to improve our mission?

Write a new mission statement and figure out what it is you as a company want to be.

  • Have you ever brought a lawsuit against an employer?

No, but I’m always open to new experiences.

  • What interests you about our company?

Um, I heard you were hiring?

Next: How to blow a job interview by your behavior

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