Employers step away from standard interview questions

Quirky questions may help employers understand how job candidates think

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NEW YORK - Employers are getting quirky when it comes to interviewing potential employees. Forrester Research asked potential employees, "If you were to get rid of one state in the United States, which would it be and why?" Google posed the question, "How many cows are there in Canada?" If you apply for a job at Clark Construction you may be asked, "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?"

Glassdoor.com put together the list of oddball questions. "Employers are looking to understand how candidates think, how they process and approach difficult brainteaser questions, and how candidates think on their feet when in a stressful situation," says Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for Glassdoor. "For tough or oddball interview questions, it's not always about getting the right answers, it's about how you tackle a challenging problem. When faced with tough questions like these, take a deep breath, slow down, and then sound out your thinking process aloud, and walk the interviewer through how you get to an answer."

Top 25 oddball interview questions as ranked by Glassdoor.com

  1. "If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?"
  2. "How many cows are in Canada?"
  3. "How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?"
  4. "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?"
  5. "What songs best describes your work ethic?"
  6. "Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?"
  7. "What do you think about when you are alone in your car?"
  8. "Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners."
  9. "How would you rate your memory?"
  10. "Can you say: 'Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper' and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?"
  11. "If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?"
  12. "How would people communicate in a perfect world?"
  13. "How do you make a tuna sandwich?"
  14. "My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?"
  15. "You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?"
  16. "Estimate how many windows are in New York."
  17. "What's your favorite song? Perform it for us now."
  18. "Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50."
  19. "Have you ever stolen a pen from work?"
  20. "Pick two celebrities to be your parents."
  21. "What kitchen utensil would you be?
  22. "On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer."
  23. "If you had turned you cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?"
  24. "If you could be anyone else, who would it be?"
  25. "How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?"



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