Let’s face it—job interviews can get kind of boring and generic. When you have to conduct a dozen of them over the period of a week, they can easily blend together. Yes, interviews are crucial to the hiring process, and yes, there are some questions you need to ask over and over. But there is a way to get to know the candidate better while still keeping interviews interesting and even entertaining. It comes in the form of fun interview questions.
The quality of the questions separates a good interview from a bad one. Bad questions lead to bad answers that won’t tell you much about the applicant. You need to discover things you won’t find in a resume. Does the candidate have a sense of humor? Do their core values align with yours? Are they fun to work with? Do they have the right attitude? Is their personality one that blends well with your current employees? Fun or funny interview questions can help you answer these.
While you should always ask standard job interview questions to gauge an applicant’s skills and experience, don’t be afraid to throw the occasional oddball in there. You can gain a lot of understanding about a person’s personality and attitude. It also helps you determine if they’re the right fit for your work culture.
In this article, learn more about why employers ask unique interview questions, what some good questions to ask are, and how you can answer them in the future.
Why Do Companies Ask Weird, Fun Interview Questions?
Some companies have gained a reputation for asking weird interview questions. In fact, this is a fairly common practice among tech companies and organizations in Silicon Valley. For example, the interview process at companies like PayPal and Google involved giving prospective employees brain teasers.
Granted not everyone is a fan of this approach, as evidenced by some complaints from Google employees. However, companies don’t do this out of boredom or a desire to mess with applicants. Indeed, there is a method behind the madness.
The following are just some of the reasons people ask bizarre questions:
- Breaking the ice: A candidate obviously can be pretty nervous when at an interview. Asking fun questions can help put them at ease. At the same time, it’s a way to get them to open up so the interviewer can see what the applicant is really like as a person.
- Getting to know the candidate: Asking a weird or fun question is a way to get the candidate to open up. They’ve likely prepared for the most obvious questions, so an off-the-wall question will catch them off guard. This gives you the chance to see more of their genuine personality and attitude.
- Finding out more about core values: Through fun questions, an interviewer can discover more about the candidate’s core values. It’s a great way to see if they’ll make a good fit with the organization.
- Encouraging critical thinking skills: A weird question will give you the opportunity to see applicants think on their feet. You’ll find out about their problem-solving abilities and how they approach issues.
- Testing endurance: When a question comes out of nowhere, it can be a way to test a candidate’s endurance. Do they seem to give up quickly, or do they show resolve and determination to come up with a good answer?
30 Fun Interview Questions to Ask
Hiring managers have a lot to consider when preparing for their interviews. When looking at how to conduct an interview, fun interview questions can provide a boost of energy and enthusiasm during the interview. Here are some interview questions you might want to ask when you sit down with your next candidate.
- What is your favorite thing about yourself?
- If you just won the $10 million lottery, what would you do with the money?
- What fictional book has had the most influence on your life?
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
- What do most people get wrong about business?
- If you had to watch one movie on repeat, what would it be?
- What title would you give your autobiography?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What was the last gift you gave?
- If you could hang
- out with any business leader in the world for a day, who would it be?
- What is your proudest achievement outside of your career?
- Of all the states you’ve yet to visit, which one is at the top of your list?
- Are you a hunter or gatherer?
- If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want to have?
- What song do you pick to get you hyped up?
- How many balloons could you fit into this room?
- What’s the one word people who know you best would use to describe you?
- Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, which one and why?
- What do you hope your eulogy would say?
- Is there a fictional character you look up to the most?
- If you could go back in time, what historical event would you want to see?
- What is your favorite sports team? Why?
- Which person has made the biggest impact on you in your career? How so?
- What’s something on your “bucket list”?
- Are you more of a dog or cat person?
- What movie scared you to death as a kid?
- If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?
- What is your spirit animal?
- How would you describe the taste of salt to someone who has never had it?
- Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
5 Strategies for How to Tackle Weird, Fun Interview Questions
Sometimes, you’re not the one asking the questions. As part of your job search, you may find yourself sitting across the desk from a hiring manager when you get a weird question. Here are some strategies you can use to help you answer them with confidence.
1. Answering Brain Teasers Without Panicking
When an interviewer gives you a brain teaser, it’s not to see if you get the right answer. The goal of this type of question is to knock you off balance. In this case, think of it like a test to see how well you handle pressure and stress. The interviewer wants to see if you give up or try to think through and provide an answer.
Look for a way to answer the question. Draw on your logical thinking skills to do it, even if it ends up being wrong. The interviewer wants to see your problem-solving skills in action, and if you can do it without surrendering to the pressure, they’ll be impressed. At the very least, never say, “I don’t know.”
Question: If given no other choice, would you rather fight one duck the size of a horse or 100 duck-sized horses?
Possible Answer: I think the duck-sized horses would be easier to handle. I feel like I could pick them off one at a time, and their hooves wouldn’t hurt all that much. The horse-sized duck seems like it could beat me. I’ve seen how they fight over a piece of bread. I want no part of that.
2. Discussing Values and Goals
Any time you get a question about your values in life, long-term goals, or career aspirations, that’s your opportunity to discuss who you are. This gives you a chance to talk about what you stand for and the vision you have for your life. So, don’t be afraid to show vulnerability as you discuss these topics with your interviewer.
When talking about subjects you cherish, you’ll be able to show a side that isn’t so robotic. Describe what’s important to you in life, and be willing to show some emotion. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how your passion will be seen in the work you do for your employer.
Question: If you couldn’t work in this industry, which career would you choose?
Possible Answer: One of my core values is being a mentor to others. So I would choose to become a teacher. I love learning and sharing my knowledge, so I think I’d excel in that role. It’s actually something I use in my day-to-day skills as a customer service manager. Providing teaching opportunities is what builds future leaders.
3. Showing Your Personality
While a super eccentric question might catch you off guard, its purpose is to help the hiring manager get to know you better. Take full advantage of this opportunity by showing more of your personality. It’s not often during the hiring process that you get to share more personal information about yourself. Share as much as you feel comfortable while staying in the realm of appropriateness.
If you’re funny, here’s your chance to show your sense of humor. Joke around while keeping it professional. If you’re more of an empathetic person, talk about how you’ve helped people when they need it most without coming off as arrogant. Ultimately, just be who you are, and let the interviewer see you as a human being. If your personality wouldn’t mesh well with the team, it’s better that the interviewer see that now rather than later.
Question: How would you try to communicate with me if you were shipwrecked on an island?
Possible Answer: A message in a bottle of course. The message would read, “Did I get the job?” Or if the island you’re talking about is Manhattan, I’d simply take out my phone and call you.
4. Demonstrating Critical Thinking Skills
When given a brain teaser, don’t just blurt out an answer. Instead, describe how you go through the process of coming up with a solution. For many hiring managers, that’s what they’re looking for. They want to see how you arrive at your destination. So, this is your chance to show how you solve problems and use your critical thinking skills.
In some cases, you can even ask permission to draw a diagram or develop a process on paper. Be detailed in how you answer the question. When a hiring manager has a clear idea of how you think, they’ll be able to tell if you’re a good fit for the job.
Question: In terms of square feet, how much pizza do people eat each year in the U.S.?
Possible Answer: I would say that a typical pizza is about a square foot in area. The average person probably eats one pizza every month. That means each person eats around 12 square feet of pizza each year. There are around 350 million people in the U.S., but not all of them eat pizza. So take 12 times 300 million, and you get 3.6 billion square feet.
5. Being Curious About the Interviewer’s Questions
A job interview shouldn’t be just one person asking questions and the other answering. Instead, it’s an opportunity to build a connection and find common ground with the hiring manager. After answering a question, you can turn it around and say, “I’d be interested in your answer to this question.” This gets the interviewer involved and can turn an interview into more of a conversation.
As Dale Carnegie once said in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” People absolutely love to talk about themselves. Most of the fun questions an interviewer asks are ones they would love answering as well. So start a conversation, and have some fun while you’re at it.
Question: What’s your favorite after-work-hours activity that you do regularly?
Possible Answer: I’m really into board games. I love getting together with friends and family and picking a game off my shelf to play for a couple of hours. What about you? Do you have any hobbies like that?
Use Fun Interview Questions as an Opportunity to Connect
Don’t let interview questions stump you. Just take a deep breath, slow down, and don’t panic if you hear something out of the ordinary. The interviewer is mostly just wanting more information about you as a person. In such cases, there are few, if any, wrong answers.
If you’re an employer, be fun, engaging, and lighthearted when asking questions like this. If your tone is too serious and prodding, you’re going to make great candidates feel uncomfortable. That will lead to losing skilled prospective employees. Use the interview as a time to connect and build rapport.
Having fun in an interview is a perfect glimpse into what team bonds and culture are like at an organization. Treat it like that, and you’ll get a good look into what working with someone is like.
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