10 Interview Questions That Sound Weird but have Great Value

You may have all the right degrees that can get you through a job interview, if the interviewer decides to stay to the questions that relate job and how well you think you can perform it. But it has been noticed that employers like Apple, Yahoo! and more try to judge a person through some weird and tricky questions. Here are some examples of top 10 weird interview questions and why companies ask them.

You are at an interview brushing up your skills and knowledge, getting prepared for the interview that can land you at your dream job. You think everything is going fine, until you face a weird question that suddenly makes you feel “Why”. Even if you get the job, you keep wondering what the relevance of the question that was asked on the day of interview. Today just preparing for questions like where will you land in next five years and why should we hire you is not enough. Candidates must know that employers can make them face with questions that they never expected and will force them to think out of the box.  Well, those weird questions may be weird to you, but make perfect sense to the interviewer as these questions have the ability to judge a person on issues like problem solving skills, handling stress, creativity, getting to know the interests and flexibility of a candidate.

Before we get into the list of questions, it is important to understand why some of the companies put great attention in framing and asking the oddball questions.

Why do companies ask the oddball questions?

A company that has been recruiting for quite some now knows that a candidate will come well prepared for the job he has applied. The reason why employers come up with such weird questions is that employers seek the real person, want to hear interesting and spontaneous answers. They are more interested in original and off beat answers that a potential employee frames at the moment. The employers want to explore the candidate’s logic and the ability to reach at a conclusion. These questions never demand a right or wrong answer, all the employers want to understand is:

  • Type of problem solving ability does the candidate has
  • The thinking process of a candidate
  • The behavior of a candidate
  • The positivity that the candidate could bring
  • Weather the candidate will fit in the company culture

How to prepare for these questions?

The employers seek something different, something that is not in the books or a training center. But the question is do these questions have any relevance related to a candidate’s future performance? The answer is a big yes. The fact is that 90% of the candidates appearing for the interview have the educational background and experience for the job. Therefore it becomes very important to understand the importance of these oddball questions and to be kind of prepared for them. Although, there is no definite way of preparing for these questions, but what you can do at least is your homework. Know about the company, use social media to connect to the professionals already working in the organization, and get to know the culture and the type of interview that takes place. This will give you a rough idea of how to prepare for the interview.

Here is a video that shows why companies ask these weird questions and how can you be prepared for these questions.

In the case of quirky and off beat questions, train your brain to think logically for even the most illogical question you hear.

The Top 10 Oddball Questions of 2013

Here is a list of top 10 weird interview questions of 2013 that the employers of well-known companies asked the interviewees

#1: If you were to get rid of one state of US, which it would be and why? – Forrester Research

#2: How many cows are there in Canada? – Google

#3: Jeff Bezos walks into your cabin and says you have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it? – Amazon

#4: How would you communicate in a perfect world? – Novell

#5: What song best describes your work ethics? – Dell

#6: What kitchen utensil would you be? – bandwidth.com

#7: You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?  - Accenture

#8: How many quarters you need to reach the top of Empire State Building? – Jet Blue

#9: What do you think when you are alone at home? – Gallup

#10: Me and wife are going for a vacation, where would you recommend? – PWC

The relevance of these questions

As said earlier, these questions let the employer to know about the candidate, the personality and the some skills. The questions designed by the HR or hiring manager are not vague. The questions are designed according to three broad categories. The three categories are:

Questions like number of cows and which state to eliminate fall into the first category where the employers test the thought process of a candidate. They obviously do not expect a right answer, but test your thought process and way you come out with an answer. In simpler terms they give you a puzzle and observe the steps you complete. Remember what matters are the steps and not the final statement.

Moving further, questions like Jeff Bezos walking in and other situational questions are designed to test the reaction of the candidate in an unexpected situation. Of course, you do not expect Jeff Bezos or any other person to come up to you. Hence, the employers are observant with the reaction of the candidate. People who calmly think and frame an answer that would probably make even a little sense would have an edge over the ones who experience panic and get numb at the situation.

The last category where the employer creates a funny situation or tries to build a personal rapport is where he wants to know whether the candidate fits in the corporate culture that the organization has. For example, the work culture varies from organization to organization and a person may not be comfortable in a very formal or some may not be comfortable working too casually. So in order to avoid misfit, companies try to pick someone who matches the corporate culture.

Final Words

So, in all these questions can cause irritation to the candidates, but it is important to know the reasons why a company frames and one should be prepared well in advance to answer. Polish your thinking skills; update your knowledge about the company and display a positive attitude when you appear for an interview. The questions are not tough just tricky and they need to be handled intelligently.

Views: 2353

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on May 15, 2014 at 6:53pm

If the goal is to measure a candidate's thought process, how s/he is at managing unexpected situations, and if s/he is matching the corporate culture, why not ask job related (relevant) questions instead of these oddball or weird questions?

It seems like these are merely asked for the entertainment value to the person asking. Or to make an already (typically) unpleasant hiring process even more dreadful for candidates. 

Hasn't there been significant research (including Google's own CHRO's statements) proving or confirming that questions like these are entirely worthless? 

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 15, 2014 at 8:23pm

@ Kelly: I can think of very few occasions where  trying to catch candidates off-guard in an interview is either relevant OR professional. How many (functional) job situations do you have to be spontaneous, articulate, confident, and correct? (In my case: I'm lucky if I get one out of four...)


Comment by Linda Ferrante on May 15, 2014 at 9:38pm

Questions like these (and the subsequent articles) drive me crazy.  Honestly, I would be concerned with the 'realtiy' of a candidate if they were able to articulate answers to these questions on the fly.  Do they even have a grasp of what is 'real' vs. contemplating what song describes their work ethic?

If you are looking to put candidates on the spot and see them sweat, go ahead and ask the questions.  If you want to get to the heart of who someone really is, ask them instead, 'What do you think about companies that ask ridiculous questions during an interview?'.  THIS will give you REAL insight into the thought process of the candidates.

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 16, 2014 at 11:36am

Well-said, Linda. Sweating is for saunas and work-outs, not interviews.

Comment by Pete Radloff on May 17, 2014 at 3:46pm

Seems to me that a case study of some kind, or a real-world situation at the company would be better suited to seeing if the person 'thinks like we do'. When I hear these questions, it makes you wonder if they really want to find a great employee, or just a really cool buddy.  

In addition, I find this one appalling. "What kitchen utensil would you be?". Why? Because I'd prefer pizza and I'm using my hands. 

Wonder if that would get me the job? ;)

Comment by Noel Cocca on May 20, 2014 at 8:54am

I have to imagine that the odd ball questions are just to see more personality and less interview-ality.  I know that when I hired recruiters I would try to get as conversational as I could to see what lay beneath.  There is no right or wrong answer I think but how answered is important.  I know if a recruiter had a sense of humor, I ranked them higher...you really need on in this biz...all day long.  


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service