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Enter your interview with a sense of humor, because you'll need it in order to give an appropriate response to some of the questions you'll likely be asked. Companies are increasingly thinking "outside the box" when it comes to interview questions, and chances are good that you'll encounter a hilarious or improbable question during your search for employment.
Simply Strange Questions
The innovative shoe and clothing retailer Zappos has asked the question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?" According to "The Wall Street Journal," Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says the "right" answer lies in the middle. Of course, if you were interviewing for a job as a circus clown, it might be okay to give "10" as your answer. You could also encounter other fantastically odd interview questions such as "If you were a breakfast cereal, which would you be?" and "How would you get an elephant into a fridge?"
Unlikely Problem Solving Questions
You probably wouldn't be surprised to be asked "How would you handle an irate customer?" or "What demographic would be appropriate for a marketing campaign relying on mobile devices?" However, for some companies, those types of questions are simply too mundane. Microsoft once asked, "How would you market ping pong balls if ping pong itself became obsolete? List many ways, then pick one and go into detail." At another company, a job interviewee was asked, "If you were a miniature person trapped in a salad bowl, how would you escape?"
Wacky Performance Questions
Don't think interviewers will necessarily be content to simply listen to a well-reasoned answer. Some want to be entertained while testing your mettle. The Huffington Post unearthed a Twitter comment by a unsettled job seeker who was asked to "Either tell a joke, do an impression of a moose, or tell a story involving a pirate." Other job candidates have been told to sing their favorite song for the interviewers -- no rehearsal time permitted.
Some employers believe that hilarious questions will help to break the ice, although they may simply add another layer of frost as the job seeker freezes in horror at the question she has just been asked. An interviewer may be testing you to see how you react to stressful situations. Or, he may simply be try to see past your interview veneer to the "real you." Others might want to see if you're a good fit for the company -- in other words, whether you have a sense of humor.
Ace the Interview
Look for the motives behind silly questions. While it is nearly impossible to predict the type of problem a witty interviewer will ask you to solve, you can boost your ability to come up with on-the-spot answers by asking a friend to ask you wacky questions along this vein before the interview. Think of it as a warm-up exercise. Look for clues embedded within the question, as well. When Google asks a question about how to get out of a blender after you've been shrunk to the size of a nickel but continue to maintain the same density, it turns out that the word "density" is the key to a suitable answer. Whatever you do, don't lose your cool. Maintain a sense of humor, even if you're stumped.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.
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