What if I get a weird question in a job interview?

There are questions…and then there are questions…

“How would you tell a co-worker you have a problem with them?”

“If you were in charge of the company, how would you run things?”

“Do you give money to people begging in the streets?”

Often times, a prospective employer will try to catch you off guard or, try to peer deeper into who you really are, by throwing you a question that, to borrow the tired but true sports cliche, “is out of left field.”

You can’t really prepare for the odd question per se.  But you can mentally prepare yourself with a sort of “personal mission statement” that governs everything you do.  Keeping this mission statement in mind will help you to better deal with the odd questions.

For example, I often counsel clients to go into an interview with a personal mission statement that presents the qualities most employers are looking for.  A few of those qualities include:

  • Being a team player
  • Leaving ones ego at home
  • Coming early and staying late
  • Always having a positive attitude
  • Being passionate about what you do

So if someone asks you “If you were in charge of the company, how would you run things?” presumably you would keep these bullet points in mind while providing the answer.  Even if you were asked “Do you give money to people begging in the streets?” you can couch your answer within your personal mission statement.  If you’re a team player, you would be empathetic to a fellow worker’s needs (or in this case the beggar) and you would perhaps try to help them in some way that was constructive–a plan designed to allow them to eventually help themselves.  You leave your ego at home so you would not be adverse to helping someone less fortunate than yourself.  You have a positive attitude so you would explore whatever options were available and leave no stone unturned.  Etc….

Keep that personal mission statement in mind when you go into a job interview and let it govern responses to all of the questions you get.  Even the ones right down the heart of the plate.




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