What did you have for breakfast? Job-seekers might get asked this in a job interview. But, according to a new survey of wacky interview questions, this is not the most unusual question candidates could face.
For most job applicants who get as far as the interview process, the hiring manager knows they can do the job. There’s just one little problem: They also have a line of people outside who are likely to be equally qualified to do the job. So they want to test applicants’ ability to deal with surprises and stressful situations to get an insight into their personalities. Careers website Glassdoor combed through tens of thousands of interview questions shared on its site over the past year.
People should be prepared for curveballs and answer them creatively, says Jeremy Roberts, editor of SourceCon, a blog and conference series for recruiters. “Don’t blow these questions off,” he says. “There’s always a reason behind them. If they are asking these questions, they are expecting you to be caught off-guard. But your response is a big deal and you won’t know that until you are called back or not called back for a follow-up interview.”
“Companies want to see whether you are a cultural fit with their organization,” says Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst with Glassdoor. They’re focused on recruiting those who can best fit into the corporate culture, he adds, whether the jobs candidate has a sense of humor, the ability to do his or her job with a positive attitude, and shares the same values as other employees. “Some companies might want an employee who is happy.”
Some interviewers might be doing this to amuse each other, says Steve Langerud, workplace consultant and principal of Steve Langerud & Associates in Grinnell, Iowa. But others are actually looking for valuable information. “They’re looking at whether people can form a thought, support it and argue for it. It represents that they can take a stand within a group…a skill that can be used within a team setting. Crazy situations allow the interviewee to take control.”
Here are five of the oddest questions — and how Langerud, Roberts and Dobroski would use them as an opportunity: