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Take Those Strange Questions Seriously

Aug 17, 2007
If you thought that reaching the job interview was the last step between you and your dream job, you need to think again. Interviews are about selecting the most suitable candidates. Even recruiters are of the same opinion, albeit in a different way than you may be thinking about. So, it is better get equipped to face a few strange questions in addition to the standard ones. But you should never underestimate the power of strange questions.

Unless you are expecting them, strange questions are not easy to answer as you might think. In fact it takes great wit, presence of mind and grit as the anticipated answer needs to be in the same tone as the question. It helps to know why interviewers choose to ask such questions.

Why Strange Questions?

When you are not anticipating them, lighter questions immediately give the interviewer the upper hand. It is common psychology that unexpected and strange questions catch most of us off guard and can leave you at a loss for words. But recruiters don't ask these questions to embarrass candidates. While you are struggling to find the answer, they will be analyzing to see how exactly you react to sudden and unforeseen developments, whether you can keep your composure or you lose your temper. They also look at how long you take to come to terms with the situation, how you plan to resolve the problem, whether you can draw from your experiences if it is applicable and whether you are street smart (quick on your feet) or not.

However these are not the only reasons for interviewers to ask strange questions. A strange question can helps diffuse a tense moment, particularly when you find it tough to manage the situation. Practically speaking, this should relieve you and bring out the best in you. In a nutshell, strange questions are aimed at testing your soft skills.

Taking Strange Questions Seriously

It is quite possible for some candidates to get irritated by strange questions when they fail to understand the motives of the interviewer. Nonetheless, you are the loser if you can't answer them for some reason. You may want to consider these tips to help you get serious with not-so-serious questions.

1. If you are not sure how to answer or answer quickly, take a few moments to think, and let the interviewer know this. Secondly, asking him to repeat the question indicates your willingness to answer it while also giving you time to prepare.

2. Never expect the interviewer to be making fun of you, which is highly unlikely in any case.

3. Your answers could potentially annoy the interviewer in return. (Take for instance: how will you react to your boss's obviously mistaken decision?) The good strategy is to adopt the same tone for answering this question.

4. Without insulting the interviewer, try to outwit him.

5. Diverting the matter to a more serious issue, although with a smile, as soon as possible is the best strategy.

Interviews are exercises of getting to know each other. A serious interviewer can appear to be the reverse on a bad day. Try to keep all questions in perspective and use your best judgement when answering.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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