Oddball interview questions

Some recruiters commonly use odd—to say the least—interview questions to catch candidates unprepared. Glassdoor has published the cream of the crop in terms of strangeness, but be forewarned, some of them will leave you scratching your head!

While candidates try to prepare for recruiters’ trick questions, they cannot possibly imagine some of the unexpected things they may have thrown at them. And it is not necessarily the companies with the most “original” reputations who ask the most eccentric questions. The top oddball interview question, as rated by U.S. website Glassdoor, is that asked by investment banking firm Goldman Sachs: “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” But Goldman is far from the only company trying to catch candidates off-guard, and Glassdoor has compiled a list of off-the-wall questions that can be expected. These run the gamut from: “How many basketball[s] can you fit in this room?” (Google), to “How are M&Ms made?” (U.S. Bank)”, “How do you weigh an elephant without using a scale?” (IBM), “How many traffic lights in Manhattan?” (Argus Information & Advisory Services) and “An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, so how much is a pear?” (Epic Systems). While all the questions do not necessarily make sense, they have the advantage of catching candidates by surprise to assess how they respond, their capacity to adapt to a disconcerting situation and their ability to bounce back.

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