The strangest job interview questions – and how to answer them
One does one’s best to prepare for a job interview.
We research the company, wear something that makes us feel confident, practice speaking in front of the mirror and with friends, and look up the most common interview questions. These include “Tell me about yourself,” “Why did you leave our last job?” “What are your strengths?” and “What is your weakness?” (See the top 35 and how to answer them here.)
But sometimes someone throws a curveball at you. Like, “If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?”
I’ve been thinking about this for hours and I still can’t come up with a satisfactory answer. You could use them to cut the receipts from your Interac machine? They might come in handy as a weapon if you got robbed? And that’s with time to ponder. Never mind on the spur of the moment.
I guess I wouldn’t be getting a job at Apple, the company that asked that question, according to Glassdoor.com, which has released its annual list of the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions of 2014.
Other doozies on the list include “How does the internet work?” asked at Akamai, and “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” asked at Xerox.
What’s the point of these questions? Why does Bed Bath & Beyond need to know what kind of cereal a potential sales associate might be? Or how does being able to instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words bring anything to the position of Consumer Advocate at LivingSocial?
Companies are trying to see how you think on your feet, and gauge how you react to the unexpected. But are they effective?
According to Fast Company,, Google, in the past, had become known for its off-the-rails interview questions, but the company’s senior vice president of people operations Laszlo Bock recently told the New York Times, such questions don’t predict anything. He said, “On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”
Good to know. But that doesn’t mean you won’t still have to face some weird questions in the future.
Here are the Top 25 Oddball Job Interview Questions of 2014, according to Glassdoor:
“If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” -The Zappos Family, Customer Loyalty Team Member interview
“How lucky are you and why?” -Airbnb, Content Manager interview
“If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” – Apple, Specialist interview
“If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?” -Red Frog Events, Event Coordinator interview
“Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?” – Dell, Account Manager interview
“If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?” – Yahoo, Search Quality Analyst interview
“If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Bed Bath & Beyond, Sales Associate interview
“Do you believe in Bigfoot?” – Norwegian Cruise Line, Casino Marketing Coordinator interview
“Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” – Xerox, Client Manager interview
“What is your least favorite thing about humanity?” – ZocDoc, Operations Associate interview
“How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the U.S.?” -Factual, Software Engineer interview
“How honest are you?” – Allied Telesis, Executive Assistant interview
“How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?” – Goldman Sachs, Programmer Analyst interview
“Can you instruct someone how to make an origami ‘cootie catcher’ with just words?” -LivingSocial, Consumer Advocate interview
“If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?” – McKinsey & Company, Associate interview
“You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?” – Urban Outfitters Sales Associate interview
“How does the Internet work?” – Akamai, Director interview
“If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?” -SinglePlatform, Inside Sales Consultant interview
“What’s the color of money?” – American Heart Association, Project Manager interview
“What was the last gift you gave someone?” – Gallup, Data Analyst interview
“What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” – Applebee’s, Bartender/Neighborhood Expert Server interview
“How many snow shovels sold in the U.S. last year?” – TASER, Leadership Development Program interview
“It’s Thursday; we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?” – ThoughtWorks, Junior Consultant interview
“Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seat belt.” –
Active Network, Client Applications Specialist interview
“Have you ever been on a boat?” – Applied Systems, Graphic Designer interview
And here are some more oddball interview questions we sourced on our own:
“Why is a manhole cover round?”
“How would you get Justin Bieber to wish your friend a Happy Birthday on Twitter?”
“What would you do If a group of nudists came to see a show and they wanted to be nude.” (For an event venue)
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
“How often would you say you used soap in a day?”
“What kind of tree would you like to be?”
“What kind of wine do you drink?”
“How do you like your steak cooked?”
Have you ever been asked a bizarre interview question? Share it with us in the comments!