Interviewers can sometimes throw in surprising and sometimes quite frankly bizarre questions to a candidate. Having interviewed hundreds of candidates over the years, here’s our guide to help you succeed.
Remember many of the questions below don’t have a right or wrong answers, so we would strongly advise reading the job description before going into the interview. If a good sense of humour is essential then make sure you are amusing, if team work is important then make sure your answers convey a sense of team spirit. Interviewers will also pick questions that relate to things you have put on your CV so don’t contradict yourself.
What was to last book you read/ what is your favourite book?
If you have put down Reading as one of your hobbies and interests on your CV or application form (and many people do) there is a good chance this question could come up (substitute Film for Book if you have this on your CV). I have lost count of the number of times this has thrown people – firstly do not lay, only say books you have actually read as the interviewer could question you further. Some candidates will name well known fiction (so well known in fact it is on the A-Level or GCSE English set text list) others pick obscure titles. A good way to answer this question is “Fiction or Non Fiction” Non-fiction gives you the opportunity to impress an interviewer and show that you don’t just read for pleasure you also like to read up on current affairs or developments in the field you are applying for.
If Steven Spielberg called tomorrow would you drop everything and hop on a plane to Hollywood?
This is one of my favourites that I often use when someone has a lot of mentions of drama, theatre or film on their CV. I like it when a candidate is honest “Of course, wouldn’t you?” or gives an amusing answer like “Only if he was offering me the role you’re going to be offering me later today”. A few candidates have answered “no” to this question this makes them look like they are either lying or unambitious.
If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
This question is often used to get an idea of a candidate’s personality type. Try to have an idea of the personality that fits in with the job you are applying for, and use that to choose the most appropriate animal you can think of.
“A Dolphin as they are intelligent and have fantastic communications skills”
“An Elephant as they never forget anything and work well in teams”
Remember a lion or tiger could make you look domineering and a lamb makes you look week.
If you were an Ice-cream, what flavour would you be?
I’ve never used this one myself but know a friend who has had this question thrown at him. I would avoid answering Vanilla at all costs as you don’t want to sound predicable or boring. Strawberry or Chocolate might also fall into this category. Be creative here and again think about the role
“Passion fruit because I am passionate about what I do” or “Coffee for the caffeine as I like to put the hours in”
If you win the lottery tomorrow, would you still work?
Honestly I don’t know many people who would continue to work in a full time job if they suddenly became a millionaire. This question is used by interviewers to see if candidates actually enjoy the work they do or in the case of fresh graduates, if they actually want to the role they are applying for. Give your opinion but then bring it back round to the fact that you get a lot of job satisfaction doing what you do and again remember your job description.
“A lot of things would change in my life if I became rich overnight, however I really enjoy what I do and would miss the comradery that working in a team brings “. Team work.
“I’d love to win the Lottery, who wouldn’t but I would miss the buzz I get when I make a sale”. Sales.
Who’s your favourite Football team?
This question is all about organisational fit. If you have been asked it, it’s safe to assume your interviewer likes football. “I don’t like football” is not a smart way of answering this type of question even if it is true “Probably X as my family, partner, friends etc. support them, although I don’t really follow them that closely” shows you are happy to make an effort. If you do support a team say it and ask the interviewer who they support to try to build rapport. I support Arsenal and have hired a couple of Tottenham supporters in the past (if you don’t follow English football Arsenal and Tottenham are fierce North London rivals) so don’t worry if you support a rival team as the interviewer will probably enjoy the banter.
Don’t get thrown by bizarre and unusual questions they can help you show your creative and humorous side.