You're using an older version of Internet Explorer that is no longer supported. Please update your browser.
You're using an older version of Internet Explorer and some functionality may not work as expected. Please update your browser for the best experience.

How To Answer Unexpected Interview Questions

Unexpected Questions 700px

Job interviews are not an easy nut to crack, but they can surely become your pass to an outstanding career. While most of the time you will be faced with the same interview questions you have already been asked countless times before, some companies like to step up their recruiting game and surprise their candidates with uncommon and original questions to test your flexibility and get a better overview of what you are about. Read to find out how to win that gamble and become a champion at answering unexpected interview questions, on the basis of the most common real-life examples.

What three things would you take to a desert island?

The key to answering this question is practicality. The interviewer wants to see whether you’re going to focus on things you won’t need, but have a personal liking for or otherwise care for, or mention the three items that are actually going to serve your needs and essentially help you survive.


What famous person would you like to have lunch with?

Seemingly innocent, this question is designed to find out the features of your personality and determine whether you’re a good fit for the team. Think of the profile of the company and the department you want to work in, and make your answer match these rather than the other way round.


My wife and I are planning to go on a holiday. What can you recommend to us?

The response will give the interviewer clues as to how you would deal with all different aspects of work, including customer service. The crucial part of your answer is the beginning, when you may either start talking about your own experience right away or ask follow-up questions to better understand the needs of your interlocutor.


Describe the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.

The skill that is being put to the test is your ability to communicate clearly. Focus on giving a concise explanation, outlining the most important aspects and letting go of any extras. Your potential employee wants to see you as someone who will smoothly interact with other team members and easily connect with clients.


If you bought this company tomorrow, what is the first thing you would change and why?

There are two crucial aspects that this question clarifies. For one, nothing puts off an interviewer more than a candidate who has scarce knowledge of the company and has clearly not conducted any research before coming to present themselves as the only right pick. Next, your ability to predict outcomes and plan accordingly is completely laid bare.


How would you sell me this pen?

This question is especially probable when you’re trying for a position in sales, telling all about your ability to persuade a potential client to purchase a product, but also gives a great opportunity to showcase your creative side. Don’t hold yourself back and let your imagination run wild to make sure you sweep your interviewer off their feet.


Would you rather be a popular but poor performer, or a despised top performer?

The naked truth instantly comes out – would you prefer to be the mediocre star of the company or are you a dedicated, hard-working individual who will do anything to contribute to the success of the project, even if their input is underappreciated or disregarded? Of course, none of the extremes is healthy and desired, but guiding your response towards one of these gives a fair view of your attitude and motifs for pursuing the position.


How would you title your autobiography?

This is a common alternative to the typical “tell us about yourself” line. Just as its regular equivalent, it is supposed to highlight what you identify as your most important qualities. It might serve as a way of finding out the key features of your personality and what you are most proud of in yourself. Creative language or a play on words may also win you a few extra points.


Why don’t you tell me a joke?

A light-hearted start or end of an interview, it will tell all about your skills of improvisation and presentation. Remaining confident and enthusiastic is a must, even if at the back of your head you think the chances of impressing anyone with your jokes are rather slim.Creativity also comes into play, so use this moment to demonstrate your wit and come up with something original, securing yourself a safe spot in interviewer’s memory.

Job interviews are often perceived as the crucial phase of the recruitment process, unmasking all facets of the candidate in question. There are only two possible endings to that story: you granting yourself that long-awaited position or returning empty-handed. Being faced with questions you didn’t expect may counterplot your plans, but by putting the above tips into practice you are bound to ace that interview and land the job of your dreams. Fingers crossed!


Susanne Loxton is a business enthusiast who combines her interest in career and personal development with a passion for writing. On a daily basis, Susanne works for Aubiz, a compendium of knowledge about companies in her native Australia.

More Resources

Blog Search Companies


Search for Jobs Post a Job