It is important to remember that not all interviewers are skilled in the art of interviewing. Many of them are winging it, just like many job seekers. However, being prepared before the interview will help you put your best foot forward. In the event of an awkward or difficult interview question you can quickly turn your answer into something that will knock their socks off and make them excited about you as a candidate.
4 Tips for Turning Difficult Interview Questions into Great Answers
- Impossible, hypothetical questions. These are probably the most common off the wall questions in interviews. Interveiwers think they are being clever when they ask a seemingly psychological question designed to get down to the root of your personality. They might come off like the popular internet quizzes that try to find out “which TV character are you?” Interviewers may choose any strange and impossible category and frame it as a question such as “What kind of tree would you be?” Animals or cars are also popular. The only thing you can do is show that you can think quickly on your feet when asked a strange question and don’t worry about whether or not your choice is right or wrong. How you answer this question is really what they want to see.
- Take time to answer. You don’t have to immediately start speaking as soon as the question is in the air. However, you also don’t want to have too much silence or rely on “um” or “uh” to waste time. Instead, buy time by making a statement such as “That is a really interesting question; I have never been asked that before.” This will give your brain just a moment to think through the answers before you say anything.
- Ask them to clarify what they mean. If you really can’t figure out what it is they are getting at or what they want to hear it isn’t inappropriate to ask them for clarification. However, your request might go over even better if you use their own language. For example, if they ask you whether you would rather take a plane or boat to Tokyo you may want to respond with something such as “That is a really interesting question. Would my ticket on the plane be in first class?” This will force them to respond and give you a couple more minutes to think through an answer.
- Match your answers and skills to the job. Before you even enter the office take some time to think through some of the requirements of the job and how they fit with your background. This way, even if the question is a little off beat, you may be able to corral your answer to fit your expertise as related to the job. For example, if they ask you what kind of car you would be you might suggest that you would be an SUV because you want to be helpful in a variety of ways.
Are you prepared for the more unusual interview questions? Contact Three Pillar, offering jobs in Dallas Texas, to see how we can help today!