Occasionally an interviewer will ask you awkward interview questions that cause your brain to freeze.
For example, I found this question in a recent issue online journal which I won’t mention:
Describe – and give examples of – your self-confidence.
How do you even begin to answer this? You could try the LMFAO approach… When I walk into the room, this is what I see. Everybody stops and lookin’ at me. I’ve got passion….
Not a good idea. A rock star attitude doesn’t go over well in an interview. You need to give a response that shows your self-confidence but doesn’t come across as arrogant. It best to talk about a positive workplace situation where you displayed confidence and helped to solve a problem.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years.
Even though your obvious response will most be likely be along the lines of “working at your company” or “working at your company and moving up into a more senior level role”, avoid answering this question like this. Also try to refrain from sharing goals outside of the job, any plans for future education, and from coming across as too confident. Answer this question as honestly as you can with keeping in mind the current opportunity at hand.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
The key to remember with this question is to avoid superficial and arrogant adjectives. Use three words which will help to showcase your characteristics in a positive manner. They are looking for a summary of what you stand for, so this would be a great time to pull out your personal tagline. See, Introduce Yourself With a Personal Tagline
Why should we hire you?
Well the obvious answer to that is because you need to fill this position, I am a qualified candidate, and I really want to work for your company….
But that answer will not help you to land a job. Try and think of unique attributes/skill sets that you possess as well as past life/workplace experience that would differentiate yourself from other candidates and help you stand out in the interviewer’s mind.
Tell me about yourself.
When answering this question, talk about your workplace experience as well as any educational experience that would be relevant to the interview. You can add in a point or two about any hobbies/interests you have that would be appropriate for the interview as well. Avoid over-sharing personal information though because the purpose behind that question is not for the interviewer to find out what your favourite restaurant is or how many pairs of shoes you own.
If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?”
A question such as this is posed to see an insight onto your level of creativity as well as how quick you are to think on your feet. Have fun with this question and make sure to come up with a compelling reason as to why you would pick your certain superhero power.
How would your co-workers describe you?
The interviewer is trying to analyze your relationships with your fellow employees through this question. Use adjectives that reflect your work characteristics and positive work behaviour such as hard-working, reliable, and a team player for example when asked this question.
What is your biggest weakness?
It’s amazing how often this question is used yet how unprepared people typically are for it. There are three ways to answer this question wrong and they are:
- Stating that you have no weaknesses
- Asking for a pity party by saying something such as “I expect too much of myself”
- Being too honest and discussing legitimate flaws such as “I am never on time”
The key is to be honest about a real weakness but to discuss what measures you have taken in order to overcome this weakness.
Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
This question is a certified brain freezer. Justin Trudeau answered that it’s better to fight the duck-sized horses. He said that a growing up wrestling two brothers prepared him well for the small foes, but a giant duck would be a formidable opponent. The key to answering a question like this is to have supporting evidence as to the reason behind your choice.
Do you have any tips or tricks to answer any of these awkward interview questions or do you have any questions to add to the list? Feel free to let me know in the Post a Reply section below!
More posts to help you answer awkward interview questions
- Calm your thoughts and feel more confident even when you’re feeling nervous
- How to respond to “Tell me about yourself”
- Simple Improv techniques to improve your communication skills
- Questions to ask at the end of your job interview
- How to explain a big gap on your resume
- Tackling the question: What is your biggest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Introduce Yourself With a Personal Tagline
- The Oddest Questions Asked During Google Interviews
- Video: How to Ace Your IT Job Interview
- Video: Tips for Successful Telephone Job Interviews
- Video: Tips fo a Successful Skype Interview
Get the Latest Posts from Stafflink
Get blog updates from Stafflink
Thanks for the comment Scott. I agree with you that asking candidates these types of questions is not a good way to determine if they are the right person for the job. Answering awkward questions is not a job requirement for most jobs, and you risk alienating good candidates. I personally like to ask candidates more open ended questions in order to get a better understanding of their previous experience/personality traits. One question I use quite often is to ask candidates about their biggest accomplishment. This question usually gets candidates to open up and from there I can follow up with questions about the specific accomplishment. For example, if it pertains to a specific project, I can ask about the timeline of the project, challenges of the project, what they would do differently if they were to do it again, and what were the skills learned from the project.
Emily good article and your advice is spot on re. how to answer those questions. The problem is that asking those types of questions in an interview is just plain unproductive. The companies that ask these questions really aren’t finding out anything about the candidates that they are interviewing. There are much more productive and progressive ways to find out about what type of person you are interviewing. Curious as to what your opinion is of these types of questions? Thanks.