When preparing for a job interview, most of us spend time researching the company, their competitors and more so that we can sound "in the know" during the interview, right? It's easy to get caught up with that and forget that you need to prepare for some of the basic questions that at times, leaves many looking like a deer in headlights! So, if the question is about the companies latest statistics or if its the dreaded "If you were an animal what would you be and why" here are five great answers to awkward interview questions:
Tell me about yourself. East enough right? Who knows more about you than you, right? This question gets awkward because it is vague and broad. According to Tracey Russell, a recruited with Naviga Business Services, a national sales and marketing recruiting team, it's best to have a prepared response. “I recommend memorizing a few general statements about yourself. Here is an example of what to say: My name is (X) and I have (X number) years of experience in (X field). My strengths include (choose 3 strengths) and I’m currently looks for a position because (X reason) and this position interests me because (X reason).”
Whats your passion? Another simple, yet complex question with many answers. Do they want to know about work related passions or that I love to read? Russell explains, “You want to choose an answer that is not work related. Give an interesting tidbit about yourself that will help you stand out from other people. For example, if your passion is health and nutrition, don’t just say you like to workout and eat healthy. Instead, describe how you’ve recently taken up Bikram yoga and grow your own organic vegetables in your garden.” The more details you provide that show you’re a well-rounded person, the better.
Why are you looking to leave your current job? WOW, this is loaded question right? Do you say your current boss is the biggest jerk in the world? Or, that you need more cash because your youngest just got accepted to an Ivy League college? The thing is, you don't say anything of this! Career coach Caitlin Graham says, "You don’t have to reveal every reason you’re considering leaving. You should also never reveal anything personal or financial as the basis for the change. It may make the interviewer question your professionalism. Instead, Graham recommends “anything that comes from the desire to make a professional transition” such as “looking for more of a challenge” or a desire to enter a slightly different area of the industry.
How do we know you'll stay? If you have jumped around to a few different companies in the past few years, it's a valid question from their standpoint and you should be prepared to answer these types of questions. Either way, the company needs reassurance. Fred Cooper, managing partner at Compass HR Consulting says, "A great answer would be one that focuses on your learning and adaptability at each position, how in-demand your skills are, and how in making these changes you’ve come to appreciate a stable work environment and the sense of accomplishment that comes along with that."
If you were a fruit or a pizza topping, what would you be? Similar to the "what type of animal would you be" there is a strategy to take when answering these types of questions. Executive and business coach Beth Carter explains, "Yes, interviewers do occasionally pull out the random questions just to see what happens. Answers that will showcase your skills and personality. Her responses: an apple or ham and pineapple. An apple is tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, showcasing Carter’s strategic implementation and soft skills. Ham and pineapple seem like a bad combo, but their diversity actually goes together beautifully, and Carter likes to use diverse teams to accomplish common goals.