Job interviews can be nerve-wracking as it is. Not only do you need to have some standout answers to set you apart from the other folks waiting in the lobby, but what happens when your interviewer tosses you a question out of the left field like “Who would win in a fight between Thor and Superman” — what?
The good news is, no one would ask that question because the answer is obviously Thor. But that doesn’t mean that other weird interview questions don’t make their way into interviews time and again.
More often than not, weird interview questions help the interviewer discern some things about you and your personality. Bear in mind that when your interviewer asks you these types of questions, they are not looking for accuracy.
Bizarre interview questions can help the interviewer gauge critical thinking, deductive-reasoning, how you react to curveballs, and even your fit for the company culture. Moreover, there’s no way to anticipate or prepare for these types of questions. That’s precisely what makes them such an excellent tool for evaluating whether a prospective employee can think on their feet. And if your interviewer is a DC Comics fan and you chose Thor — well, good luck. Just kidding.
Weird interview questions can reveal so much more than a resume could ever show. Your best bet to nail the answers is to familiarize yourself with a few of the stranger ones and decipher what your interviewer is trying to suss out. If you need an assist, here are a few exceptionally weird questions that interviewers often ask and what they reveal.
Are you more of a hunter or gatherer?
Believe it or not, this answer reveals what kind of employee you would be and the approach you would take towards your work. Hunters are perceived as more assertive and have a tendency to focus on one task at a time. They don’t necessarily back away from a challenge and are willing to tackle almost anything. Gatherers, on the other hand, tend to be more detail-oriented and good at multitasking.
Why do hot dogs come in packages of 10 and hot dog buns come in packages of 8?
Glen Wilde, CEO and Founder of Diet to Success, noted that this is a great question for evaluating how a candidate responds to pressure. “What I’m looking for includes the applicant’s composure, the reasoning behind the answer, and whether there are visible signs of frustration.”
How do you like your eggs?
Joy Pittman, HR expert and founder of JVP Legacy, notes that she likes this question because “It shows how self-aware and honest a person is. We show up in business the way we show up in life, and I have found that the people who show up the best are those that take the time to be intentional about who they are.” Pittman goes on to say, “I especially love when a person says ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I have never thought about it,’ because it shows that they are more focused on being honest than being right.”
Pick your favorite number between 15 – 50. (Say, a candidate answers 34). Great! You have 34 seconds to come up with a plan to cross the Atlantic (London to New York) within 34 hours with $34 in your pocket? What do you do?
Magda Zurawska, HR Manager of the ResumeLab, shares that she uses this question, and it’s often met with “sheer terror.” The primary purpose of this interview question is to test the applicant’s resolve. Over the years, however, Zurawska has heard some pretty creative answers — like one applicant’s plan to steal a Concorde and learn to fly by watching videos on the way there.
“The answers will obviously be ridiculous and absurd, but as long as you showed up, took a shot, and refused to give up, that speaks volumes about your character, determination, and work ethic,” says Zurawska. “If you don’t throw your hands up in the air and say ‘Then clearly this job is not for me’ or ‘[I have no idea’, you WIN. Give me anything. A joke, a quip, a clever retort, but show me you’re not afraid to get down and dirty when the rubber meets the road.”
If I approached you and asked you to mail a bunch of pet Gerbils to our best customers, what would be the first step you’d take to accomplish this?
While this might be one of the most bizarre interview questions on our list, Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder and President of Quality Logo Products, likes to use it because “it can get an honest preview of how the applicant would handle an uncomfortable or strange situation in the office,” Bonnet says “I’d like to know if they are willing to actually mail the gerbils or if they question the ethics of the situation.”
If there’s a drug or pill that could turn you into a financial wizard, will you take it? Knowing that its side effects will be grave and unfavorable. If yes, why? If no, why not?
Ahh yes, a question about the Limitless pill. James Pearson, Small Business Evangelist, and CEO of eVenturing Enterprises, often use this question and shares, “This question is embedded into one’s value and integrity. It gauges if the candidate is willing to take the fastest route to success and affluence despite the repercussions ahead.” Pearson goes on to say that while some might enjoy taking the shortest route to success, “persistence, honesty, and hard work will always be the foundation of success and thriving individuals.”
On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you?
Israel Gaudette, Founder of Link Tracker Pro, has asked this of at least a dozen candidates and indicates that he finds it extremely effective for weeding out candidates that value company culture. Gaudette notes that prioritizing skills over culture doesn’t always work. Asking a candidate to describe how weird they are is a great way to “grasp a more authentic side of a potential employee.”
How would you describe the sky to a blind person?
This question would seem to be invaluable for jobs where creativity is prioritized. Samantha Moss, Editor and Content Ambassador at Romantific, likes to use this one because “it reveals the creativity of the writers, which is very crucial for our company. Plus, this prompts them to use a lot of words, which reveals how rich their vocabulary is.”
If you’re running late to work, would you run a red light to save time?
It’s not too hard to discern what this question reveals about a person – their level of honesty, of course. Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, notes that this is one of his favorites. “In reality, most people wouldn’t run a red light, but in a hypothetical scenario in an interview, so many people are too eager to please the interviewer,” Rivera says. “If someone answers with ‘Yes, I’d run the red light’, it immediately tells me two things: Either they break important social rules, which is not a very desirable characteristic, or they aren’t of strong enough moral fiber to say to me ‘No, I wouldn’t run the red light, I’ll just face the consequences of being late when I arrive’.” Rivera continues, “if the interviewee is honest and says they’d probably stop at the red light, then it demonstrates honesty, and morality, two values I consider to be very important in my employees.”
If you used a time machine to meet your grandparents in the 50s, how would you explain the internet?
You may be the smartest person in the room, but it’s only as helpful insofar as your ability to communicate it. Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, explains that “If a particular candidate explained it with ease and in such a way that even neanderthals would understand, it would significantly boost their chances of getting hired. After all, an executive who does not know how to “dumb down” their technical knowledge is worthless to the workforce. Even if a professional is the smartest person in the world, it doesn’t do the company any good if they can’t explain their thoughts clearly to their coworkers.”
What media do you regularly consume, and where do you consume it?
When Jakub Rudnik, Vice President of Content for Shortlister, uses this question, he’s looking for “tech-savviness, media literacy, and even an interest in self-improvement.” Rudnik goes on to say that when it comes to content marketing, “understanding how to find information, and how to evaluate sources of information, are key traits for a potential employee.”
And here’s one for good measure: How about this doozie that tests your killer instinct? If you could kill anybody and get away with it, who would it be, and why?
Todd Ramlin of Cable Compare likes to ask this eye-opener when interviewing candidates. Of course, it aims to gauge the candidate’s honesty and integrity, but he’s often surprised by some interviewee’s willingness to answer. “You’d be amazed at how many candidates actually name a person and give reasons for doing it,” Ramlin says. “The answer I look for is that they wouldn’t kill anybody. When I hire someone, I want to know that I can trust them to do the right thing even if they believe they can get away with doing something they shouldn’t.”
While there’s no way to tell if your interviewer will go off script, with bizarre interview questions. But, of course, preparation is key. If you need a moment to compose your thoughts, then ask for it. Remember that every bizarre interview question is trying to assess something. If you can’t figure out what your interviewer is trying to discern, then just answer thoughtfully, and be honest.