In this new age of interviewing, savvy career searchers know to expect a “Huh?” question just as much as the standard “Tell me about yourself” inquiry. Google made its mark on interviewing forever several years ago with such quandaries as, “How many ping-pong balls do you need to fill a Boeing 747 plane?”
I’ll let you ponder that one for a few minutes.
I’ve been telling clients to expect these questions and training them on how to answer such queries. Tip 1: remember that it’s not about a precise number or response so much as talking out loud about how you would go about getting the answer. Tip 2: in addition to thinking out loud, ask questions of your interviewer to better formulate your response as opposed to panicking or appearing flustered by the question. Also, email me if you are interested in answers to this plane/ping-pong ball question.
As a tip of the hat to recently retired David Letterman, we bring to you a Top Ten List of NEW Oddball Interview Questions and are also providing tips on how to approach answering them.
1) Batman Vs Spiderman: Who Would Win? This is a “stop you in your tracks” question that came from Stanford University; how does one even approach answering a query such as this? What if comic book heroes – and their movie franchises – are not topics you even know much about? Here’s my thought, and I believe you can apply the logic to many similar questions.
- Potential Response 1: If you are familiar with the characters and can reason an answer, go for it (I am quite familiar with both characters and do believe that Spiderman’s capabilities truly outweigh those of Batman and here’s why…).
- Potential Response 2: If you are not familiar with the characters, answer the question without really doing so at all (Although comic book heroes are not my forté, I believe that both characters are good guys and fight the bad guys. As such, I believe they would not ever find themselves in a fight as they are both on the same side!).
2) In what ways are you lucky? This is an interesting alternative to the “Tell me about yourself” question; Airbnb asks it and given their penchant for upbeat employees, it makes sense. What this question is really asking is, “How do you see yourself?” and is therefore a behavioral interview question. The key here is to be thoughtful without being too revealing (please avoid such responses as, “I’m really lucky to even be here after escaping from prison last week…”). We also suggest keeping your answer somewhat career-focused.