The Benefits of Unusual Interview Questions 

unusual interview questions


You’re sitting across from an interviewer, prepared to ace every question they throw at you. You’ve practiced answers to questions like, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. Instead, the interviewer leans forwards and asks, “If you were a beverage, what would be your defining characteristics?”

Reasons For Unusual Interview Questions

While this question may seem off the wall, more hiring managers are turning to unusual interview questions to determine if someone will be a good fit for their team. These interview questions, also known as “bank-shot questions,” make it easier to take a peek at what makes people tick, and it’s harder for someone to come up with a “right” answer.

Bob Brennan, who was the CEO of the data storage company, Iron Mountain, said that he likes to ask interviewees about their parents because it shows whether they can be vulnerable. He will say something like, “What are the qualities you like the best in your parents? What about the least?” He said:

“The body language changes when you ask those questions, and people have to make a decision. ‘Am I going to open up to this guy?’ Because it’s clear to them that I’m not going to go down a path of asking them why they chose [my company]. I don’t much care. I want to know what makes you go. And how willing are you to tell me that?”

Clara Lippert Glenn, the former CEO of the energy-industry training company Oxford Princeton Programme, said her all-time favorite interview question to ask is, “If you woke up tomorrow morning, and there were no humans left on the earth—just animals—what kind of animal are you?” Sometimes she’ll push it further by asking why they chose that animal. 

Purpose of Unusual Interview Questions

Even though bank-shot questions may seem a little weird, they ultimately serve the same purpose as any other interview questions. They help determine if a job candidate will be a good fit for the company and the team. 

Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen, likes to ask, “What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?” It might not seem like a relevant question, especially for a job that isn’t in the beauty industry, but looking more closely, the question can reveal a lot. Novogratz said:

“If people are honest with themselves, they know what I’m talking about. What are you doing when you are shining, when you’re in the zone when you’re on fire?”

In other words, the answer that you give should closely align with what they would be doing at the new job. Whether you’re looking for a new job or are hiring for a position at your company, bank-shot questions are something that should always be at the forefront of your mind. 

Have questions about how to approach these more unique interview questions, we have a full interview guide by clicking here.  Wondering about the current state of the job market – we have full consulting services to help. Learn more about us on our website or feel free to contact us here

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