S4R News / 26th Nov 2015

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to do during an interview?

Interviewers are always thinking of innovative methods to take their interviewing techniques to the next level in order to test interviewees. With the job market as competitive as ever, companies really have started to think outside the box when it comes to identifying that perfect candidate who stands out from the crowd.

With this in mind, we have put together a selection of the most unusual interviewing situations that we have come across below. Do you have a story that can rival these? If so, please share it with us!

  • The interviewing process can be nerve wracking, but even more so for an enthusiastic graduate who was asked to dance to a Daft Punk song in his interview. The candidate ended up taking inspiration from the TV show The Office for his robotic style dancing to the popular song.
  • Interviewers are now taking the opportunity to ask obscure questions to put interviewees on the spot.  Google are known to ask their candidates “how many cows are in Canada?”
  • Online marketplace, LivingSocial, gets interviewees theatrical side to come out as they ask “What’s your favourite song? Perform it for us now”.
  • We have also heard of a candidate being asked to name the surrounding countries of the Czech Republic, purportedly to demonstrate how they cope under pressure.
  • One interviewer asked a surprised candidate “how would you guide an alien through making a peanut butter sandwich?” Apparently they were trying to establish whether the interviewee could think logically and systematically.
  • We have also heard of one organisation asking “what’s your favourite dish, and how would you convince someone who hated an ingredient in it to try it?” Presumably a novel way to identify the interviewee’s persuasive skills.

When being asked to answer unusual questions or undertake unconventional tasks in interviews, it can be hard to believe that there is a valid reason for them. However, there is usually an underlying objective (one hopes!) as to why interviewers decide to ask these questions. It may be to test how you think outside the box or how you cope under pressure or even just to take you out of your comfort zone.

We would love to hear your unusual interview stories. Let us know and we’ll put the best ones in our next blog; anonymously of course!