How To Ace Even The Strangest Interview Questions

answer crazy interview questions

How should you reply to crazy interview questions? Most employers don't ask weird questions like these, but it's a good idea to prepare for how you'd address them, just in case.

These strategies will help you answer any oddball interview question.

1. Never question the value of the inquiry itself. If you say, "What does this have to do with the job?" you might as well get up and walk out of the interview. (Unless they are looking for a contrary or difficult candidate, which is unlikely.)

2. It's OK to stop for a minute to think. In fact, it's a good idea to take a deep breath before delving into your answer. You may also want to repeat the question to make sure you understand it correctly.

More: 13 Mistakes To Avoid In Job Interviews

3. Unless the organization is overtly political, do not introduce controversial or political topics in your answers. For example, in answering the question about what state to eliminate from the U.S., don't let on that you'd like to axe California because it's reliably democratic, or Texas because it is always "red."

4. Consider the reason the interviewer may have chosen the question. Maybe he is trying to see if you have a sense of humor, in which case you could respond with a funny answer. Petco asked an analyst candidate, "How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?" It's likely the job requires being able to explain concepts and possibly action steps to people, which makes the question seem reasonable and not so off-the-wall.

More: 6 Nonverbal Ways To Wow The Job Interviewer

5. Many oddball questions help the interviewer assess how you think, so be sure to demonstrate your thought process, don't just give an answer. For example, interviewers at JetBlue who asked a pricing/revenue management analyst candidate, "How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?" probably don't expect a correct answer. Replying, "500,000" isn't going to give the interviewer any insight about you. Instead, talk out your thought process. For example, "It's best to stack the quarters on top of each other. A quarter is about .05 inches thick, so there are about 240 quarters in a foot. If the Empire State Building is about 1,400 feet tall, it would take about 336,000 quarters to reach the top. That doesn't include the antennae!" When you answer this way, even if your specifics are not correct, you can still win points for your thought process. (And for the details you include, such as stacking the quarters and considering the antennae.)

6. Focus on the characteristics of the job, if possible. At Trader Joe's (a food store), they asked a crew candidate, "If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?" This is a great opportunity for the job seeker to demonstrate what he or she knows about the food at Trader Joe's. "I would select some of Trader Joe's best, fresh vegetables -- asparagus is in season now, to serve with organically fed poultry. I'd cook them with Trader Joe's brand mole sauce and, voila -- a great meal."

7. No matter what, don't let any question rattle or stress you out. Amanda Lachapelle, director of HR and talent acquisition at Glassdoor, a jobs and career community said, "The worst answer you can give is a short response with no explanation or say 'I don't know.' When answering tough questions, take your time, ask the interviewer to clarify if necessary, show your personality and explain how you can problem solve out loud."

How to Prepare for Tough Job Interview Questions

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Seamus Lowe

This is actually really great advice. I've been to quite a few job interview classes that help you prepare and most of them talk about this. I 'm glad I knew some of this before going to my job interview a while back. It really helped me through it.
-Seamus |

March 20 2014 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charles Neslon

One of the biggest things that has helped me with awkward interview questions is to make sure I have rehearsed some of them beforehand. Some of the most common questions are usually about your weaknesses and problem solving skills. One of my favorite examples of this is when Google asks potential employees how they would escape out of a blender if they were a pencil? This kind of question really probes into creativity and problem solving.

February 13 2014 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Annie Green

This is a great post. I feel like no matter how much you practice, you are always caught off guard by at least one of the questions. Practicing lots of random questions is a good tactic, that way you are ready to think fast.

February 10 2014 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Interviews test your presence of mind, how you tackle questions beyond your knowledge and preparation and the damage control measures after you’re caught off-guard. So obviously, during an interview, not getting panicky is the key to success.
Remember these questions come as an opportunity to showcase your ability to think and react quickly. It’s understandable that you can’t know every question that will be asked, but by being brutally honest with yourself, you’re half way through the target of facing unexpected questions. For more read on

February 28 2013 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With these kinds of ridiculous questions deciding who will be hired, no wonder so many intelligent college graduates and other possibly qualified applicants can't get a job. Sounds like employers are trying hard NOT to hire!

January 14 2013 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd thank my lucky stars it wasn't a blow dart.

January 14 2013 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The weirdest Question I got Asked was what would you do if a nerf Dart flew past you.

January 11 2013 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to matthewntt's comment

I'd yell, "INCOMING" and hit the floor!

January 12 2013 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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