Larry Polhill of Café Valley on Out-of-the-Ordinary Job Interview Questions


You’ve done the research, prepared as much as possible, and made sure to arrive on time for your interview. Everything seems to be going smoothly—until the interviewer threw you an unexpected question that stumped you. Consultant Larry Polhill of Café Valley is one such interviewer who likes taking applicants by surprise; asking unusual questions that threw them off guard. It’s a great way to test a person’s ability to rise to the occasion. If you show that you’re not one who easily gets flustered with unexpected curveballs; that you can still keep your wits about, then you most likely just earned your potential employer’s respect.

So when you’re prepping for an interview, it’s best to also psych yourself up for the unexpected questions. What are these unusual and unexpected questions? Below are a few samples that successful and popular CEOs and business owners like to ask their interviewees:

Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of SpaceXand co-founder of Tesla, on Geography and navigating Earth:

“You’re standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

Ryan Holmes, Hootsuite CEO, on supernatural persona:

“What’s your superpower … or spirit animal?”

Laszlo Boc, Google Human Resources, on on-the-spot analytical discovery:

“Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem.”

Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, on zombie apocalypse:

“What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?”

Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO, on looking to the future:

“If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great 12 months it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?”

These questions may seem extreme but the purpose for these is to find out about the applicant’s character; who they are inside and outside of their work environment. When you take a closer look at these questions, what you’re really seeing are modifications of the more traditional job interview questions on strengths and weaknesses.

Other unusual questions that might be asked may revolve around comparing yourself to an object or something other than a celebrity or popular personality, similar to something along the lines of what type of food you are, or if you were a car what would you be.

The point is that while it’s good to prepare for the usual questions, it’s also a good move on your part to prepare for the unexpected. If you were the interviewer, what questions would you ask? Ask your friends to help you out by playing a game of unusual Q&As.

You could also find out who will be interviewing you so you can do a bit of research on what they like; perhaps the questions will be related to their favorite sport, office rituals or habits.

Got comments about this post? Please feel free to leave them here for Larry Polhill of Café Valley. Rest assured he will get back to you promptly.


Leave a reply