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Job interviews are usually nerve-racking experiences at the best of times, but they can become a surreal nightmare when the interviewer decides to mix things up a little. Instead of talking about your experience, you can suddenly find yourself talking about your favourite cocktail or listing three famous historical people you would most like to have dinner with.
Here are three of the most wacky interview questions unleashed on unsuspecting candidates, and how you can deal with them:
1. “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate me as an interviewer?”
This was a real question asked at an interview conducted by a representative of Kraft foods, and it certainly would have come as a big surprise to the candidate. The temptation may have been to immediately bestow a ’10’ on the interviewer, but that would be far too obvious. Instead, you could decide on an ‘8’. However, make it clear that your ‘8’ will be upgraded to a ’10’ if you get the job, as selecting someone of your brilliance takes great insight and knowledge.
2. “What kitchen utensil would you be?”
This was a question asked at a recent interview for a position at Bandwidth.com. Dealing with this situation calls for a cool head, as you will need all the will-power you can muster to stop yourself from laughing. Once composed, compare yourself to a bread knife. Your approach to business is to stay sharp, and you will shine brightly in any kitchen. You stay ahead of the game by constantly sharpening your already considerable skill-set.
Of course, this could backfire, and it could be construed as arrogance. Sincerity and a little humility should be able to dodge this kind of question, however.
3. “How would you rate your memory?”
This question was raised at an interview for a senior position with Marriot Hotels, and there are two ways to approach it. The temptation in this instance, if you are bold and funny, will be to pause, think for a few seconds and ask the interviewer to repeat the question. However, this could be misinterpreted as a bad attitude and a sign of flippancy, and it could scupper your chances of success. The best response should involve an element of confidence, but you must be careful that your response does not cross the line into arrogance.
The safe option would be to declare that you never trust your memory; adding that you make constant notes and plan your daily schedule down to the last detail in order to make sure nothing is ever forgotten. Alternatively, you could explain that your memory has never let you down in the past, but you take steps to ensure you never have to rely on your memory completely. This could include keeping an organised schedule on an electronic device, or it might simply be a case of demonstrating your photographic memory!
Weeks of preparation will mean nothing if questions like these are asked at your next interview. Keep in mind that questions of this ilk are not about the answer; they are designed to give interviewers an insight into your personality.
Written by Lisa Scott, a recruitment guru working at Talisman Fashion, an International fashion recruitment consultancy, based in London, UK.