What do you think of Garden Gnomes? And other odd interview questions

Interviews are nerve-wracking as it is, but throw in a few odd questions and you could be left a gibbering mess! Those odd questions aren’t always designed to trick you, sometimes they have a hidden meaning behind them and answering them appropriately can make the difference between a job offer and going back to the drawing board.

Every year the recruitment insider, Glassdoor, publishes a list of the oddest questions asked in interviews as sent in by their readers – we are then given a chance to have our say as to what these odd questions really mean. Some of the craziest questions asked in 2011 include:

What do you think of Garden Gnomes?

If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?

If you could be #1 employee but have all your co-workers dislike you or you could be #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?

Does life fascinate you?

Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?

At first glance, these questions look like utter nonsense, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that even though the interviewer is saying one thing he means something entirely different. Still don’t know how to answer? Check out our tips below.

Tailor your answers
However weird the question is, tailor it to fit the job you are applying for. For example, if someone asks you what type of animal you would be pick an animal that boasts characteristics that would be useful in the job role.

Think on your feet
If an interviewer asks you a random question, don’t get flustered! Take your time and answer the question calmly – show that no matter how odd or unexpected the question is, you can handle it – this skill will translate to your working style.

Think outside the box
If the interviewer asks you a weird question you can guarantee that they’ve asked 50 other candidates the same question – do you think they want to hear the same answer 50 times? NO! Think outside the box, don’t choose and obvious answer – this will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Be creative
This follows on from the previous point, don’t answer a fun question with a dull answer – be creative. For example, if someone asks you why manhole covers are round, don’t reply with ‘I don’t know’ – get creative and make something up.

Remember, the interviewer isn’t trying to catch you out – most odd questions are also designed to put you at ease. If the question is funny, laugh!

Before going freelance, Matt Rawlings spent many years answering the oddest questions possible in interviews for jobs – he now considers himself an authority on the subject and is considering writing a book entitled ‘What would you do if we shrunk you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender?’ (The title needs a little work)

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