You have followed all the recommended advice to successfully interview for your dream job. With killer resume in hand, you walk into the interviewer’s office with the swagger of a rock star. No one can tell you that you won’t ace this interview.
As you proceed to answer the interviewer’s questions with intelligence and finesse, you conclude that it’s going amazingly well so far. Then, out of the blue, she asks you the strangest question. “If you could invite a historical figure to dinner, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?”
Now your palms start to sweat, and the rock star attitude you had when you walked in has vanished. You fumble around for an answer to this absurd question while wondering to yourself, what the heck does a historical figure at my dinner table have to do with this job?!
Welcome to the world of the tricky interview question.
Why the Mind Games?
As if the job interview process isn’t nerve – wracking enough, employers often decide to throw these off the wall questions into the mix. No, your interviewer is not some sadistic individual who derives pleasure from seeing you squirm – although I’m convinced there are a few of them out there. Your interviewer has asked this question to intentionally throw you off. She is testing how well you can think on your feet.
So you see, there is really no right or wrong answer to the question. She simply wants to observe how you answer it. That’s the good news. The bad news is, this type of question is impossible to prepare for. So how does one handle this?
How to Answer the Tricky Interview Question
The key here is to not let these questions rattle you. Resist the temptation to look at the interviewer as if she has lost her mind. Just breathe deeply, and take a quick minute to think of your response. Don’t fret – a little silence is okay. It’s better than blurting out something stupid. You are not expected to provide some awe – inspiring brilliant answer. What’s required of you is to be yourself and to give an honest reply.
I can hear you thinking, “But what if I just can’t come up with an answer?” Simply ask Mrs. Hiring Manager if you can return to that question later. Even if you can’t come up with an answer right away, you’ll still get points keeping your composure.
Other Examples of Quirky Questions
I truly believed that I had heard every weird interview question out there, from “What would you do with a million dollars?” to “If you could be a superhero for the day, who would it be?” However, my research has determined that I was wrong. I’ve uncovered some really whacked ones. Here are a few that you should be aware of.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be? If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, what two items would you want to have with you? If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time? If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why? If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be? If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have? How do I rate as an interviewer? If you were a car, what kind would you be?
As stated earlier, there’s no real way to prepare concrete answers to these questions. However, there have been scores of books and articles written to help you better understand why they are asked. Knowing why will keep you prepared and on your toes. Take advantage of these resources, as well as the points made in this article. After all, taking off running and screaming in frustration from the interviewer’s office probably won’t get you the job. You’ll have a much better chance if you simply remain poised, confident, and above all – just be your wonderful self.