By Frances Chaves
At a recent interview, I was asked a seemingly innocent question: “Who is your hero?” I had prepared for the interview by researching my interviewer on LinkedIn and Google. I tracked down her publications, discovering that she had a particular interest in the Holocaust. I based my answer to her quirky question on my research: I described my grandmother’s World War II resistance work. Bingo! I created a human bond between myself and the interviewer.
Be prepared to answer the obvious questions, “What are your strength and weaknesses,” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The State of California’s Worksmart website provides a good refresher on basic interview skills.
But also expect some curveballs. Those oddball questions can be your opportunity to break out from the pack and connect with your interviewer on a human level. The interviewer is trying to get beyond your rehearsed answers to see how you think on your feet. Finding acceptable answers is easier if you have researched the company culture and your interviewer.
Glassdoor is a goldmine of information about interviews. They survey different company’s interview questions and interview processes. They also publish crazy interview questions. Glassdoor published a cute YouTube video where you can watch people try to answer some of the craziest ones.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Bain & Company asked interviewees how many ping pong balls fit in the overhead compartments of a 747.
- Gallup: What do you think of when you are alone in your car?
- Forester Research: If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?
- Urban Outfitters: Pick two celebrities to be your parents.
- Living Social: Sing us your favorite song and what song best reflects your work ethic.
- Google: How many cows are in Canada?
The important thing in answering crazy questions: keep the conversation going. By the way, I think it is okay to tell Google you don’t know the answer but you know WHERE to find it!