How to Respond to Ridiculous Job Interview Questions

Would you rather be a lion or a bear?

When asked a crazy, off-the-wall interview question, how do you respond?

Interviewers like to ask these types of questions to see how well you can think on your feet. They are generally trying to learn more about you. Sometimes they are drawing you out or trying to gain insight to information that you may be trying to conceal.  Some of these questions have a “right” answer, but more often the “ridiculous interview question” is simply an opportunity to see how well you respond to an unexpected question; to see if you are imaginative or creative.

These questions can be personality driven and are often awkward, catching you off guard. Don’t let the question do that to you.  You could get a ridiculous question upon arrival at the interview, such as “Tell us about yourself in one word.”  Sometimes, the interviewer will want to see how you can deal with an off-the-wall hit, right in the middle of an intense interview.  Perhaps you might get a crazy question as your perfect interview concludes.

Be cautious, when asked a “ridiculous interview question”.  If you should be asked something off-the-wall like, “If you were a fruit, what kind would you be, and why?” — count to 3 and repeat the question out loud. This will enable you to make sure you understood the question correctly and give yourself another 10 seconds to develop an answer. Only then can you provide the best answer the question.

What are some general tips when answering “ridiculous interview question”? Let’s take a look.

  • First, know that you have to answer the question. You cannot sit there muttering to yourself, “What a dumb question”.  Don’t sit and stare blankly off at the ceiling. Instead, come up with an answer that highlights one of your strengths. If nothing comes to mind quickly, just give a simple, honest answer.
  • If you can, show some style or park. Remember, the job interview is when an employer is deciding if you fit in with their workplace culture. An unexpected interview question is your chance to be creative.
  • Be flexible and adaptive! Demonstrate your ability to think on your feet.
  • Don’t worry too much if think you answer is wrong. Remember, there really is no right or wrong answer to most of these questions.
  • Try something humorous. Have fun with the “ridiculous interview question” if you can. If you are able to get the interviewer or the panel to laugh, so much the better.
  • Be insightful! They have no idea what you answer is going to be. However, do not give them a reason to discriminate against you because your answer is overly aggressive, passive, or political.
  • Remember, there is a fine line between sounding cocky versus confident and modest versus meek.
  • A short, one-word answer may need elaboration, to enhancing correct understanding.

The most important thing is to respond. If you don’t like the way it your answer came out or if you perceive that the answer was not received well, “drive on”.  The interview is not over. And remember, it was a “ridiculous question” anyway!

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