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As you prepare for your next job interview, think about how you can respond to the more unpredictable, curveball questions that will more than likely come your way. If you’re well prepared, you can hit a home run with the right response. But if not, you’ll strike out or get beaned – and maybe not even know what hit you.

  • Most hiring managers tend to stick to tried-and-true questions, with an occasional curveball thrown in. This strategy is designed to take you by surprise and see how well you think on your feet.
  • Interviewers know that candidates rehearse their responses to traditional questions. While you should, of course, do exactly that, you also need to prove you can perform under pressure and respond to questions you couldn’t possibly have known in advance.

Actual Curveball Questions

Here are three actual interview questions which seem wacky at first blush. However, a candidate’s answer could paint a compelling picture of a future employee – or eliminate them from the competition.

  1. “If you’re the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?” (asked at Dropbox)
  2. “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?” (asked at Whole Foods Market)
  3. “When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split – and why?” (asked at SpaceX)

Say What?!

So, what do you do – and say – when these offbeat interview questions come at you from seemingly nowhere?

  • Take your time. Be thoughtful and mull things over – not indefinitely, but long enough to present a well thought out reply. This shows grace under pressure.
  • Show your sense of humor. Be a good sport and play along. With a clever joke or comment, you’ll impress and align yourself with your interviewers.
  • Perfect your delivery. Stay calm. Don’t be rude or crass. As you should with every interview question, speak clearly, maintain positive eye contact, and dare to laugh at yourself a bit.

Are you looking for a new job?

Interview prep can be challenging. From polishing up your resume and wardrobe to finessing your conversation skills and following up after your meeting, there’s a lot involved – and each step needs to be perfectly executed so you can land that dream job. Consider partnering with a search consultant from TRC Professional Solutions. Contact us today and explore these new jobs.


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