"If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?" What would you say if an interviewer asked you such an off-the-wall question? Forrester Research asked this of a candidate for a research associate position; it's No. 1 on Glassdoor's list of "Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2013."
Glassdoor compiled these questions from the tens of thousands of interview questions job candidates shared on their site over the past year via their Interview Reviews feature. The weird questions are in no particular order, but were chosen by a team of Glassdoor data scientists who analyzed submitted questions. According to Glassdoor, to date, they have collected more than 235,000 interview reviews and 300,000 interview questions from around the world. Interview Reviews include details from actual job candidates about the entire hiring process, including the interview format, how the interview was achieved, the average interview length and overall ratings on the overall interview experience.
If the thought of facing oddball questions in an interview makes you want to pack it all in and give up your job search, don't despair. One of the best things about questions like this is that there is no right answer. Employers who pose this type of inquiry are usually trying to assess your thought process.
Sometimes, they can pick up important feedback that really helps distinguish you from the crowd. For example, No. 5 on the list (asked of a Dell consumer sales candidate), "What song best describes your work ethic?" elicited some interesting replies on Glassdoor's person on the street interviews. One man said, "Nine to Five,' because I work nine to five." In this 24-hour economy, that's not as good an answer as one woman's comment, "Under Pressure,' by Queen, because I work really well under pressure." (For more advice, see how to ace even the strangest interview questions.)
Below is a complete list of Glassdoor's 25 oddball interview questions:
"If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?" --Asked at Forrester Research, of a research associate candidate.
"How many cows are in Canada?" -- Asked at Google of a local data quality evaluator candidate.
"How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?" -- Asked at JetBlue of a pricing/revenue management analyst candidate.
"A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?" -- Asked at Clark Construction Group of an office engineer candidate.
"What song best describes your work ethic?" -- Asked at Dell of a consumer sales candidate.
"Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?" -- Asked at Amazon of product development candidate.
"What do you think about when you are alone in your car?" -- Asked at Gallup of associate analyst candidate.
"How would you rate your memory?" -- Asked at Marriott of a front desk associate candidate.
"Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners." -- Asked at BenefitsCONNECT, Office Manager candidate.
"Can you say: 'Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper' and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?" -- Asked of a MasterCard call center candidate.
"If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?" -- Asked of a Trader Joe's crew candidate.
"How would people communicate in a perfect world?" -- Asked at Novell of a software engineer candidate.
"How do you make a tuna sandwich?" -- Asked at Astron Consulting of an office manager candidate.
"My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?" --Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers of an advisory associate candidate.
"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?" -- Asked at Accenture of a business analyst candidate.
"Estimate how many windows are in New York." -- Asked at Bain & Company of an associate consultant candidate.
"What's your favorite song? Perform it for us now." -- Asked at LivingSocial of an Adventures City manager candidate.
"Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50." - Asked at Bank of America of a software developer candidate.
"Have you ever stolen a pen from work?" -- Asked at Jiffy Software of a software architect candidate.
"Pick two celebrities to be your parents." -- Asked at Urban Outfitter of a sales associate candidate.
"What kitchen utensil would you be?" -- Asked at Bandwidth.com of a marketer candidate.
"If you had turned you cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?" -- Asked at Kimberly-Clark of a biomedical engineer candidate.
"On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer." -- Asked at Kraft Foods of a general laborer candidate.
"If you could be anyone else, who would it be?" -- Asked at Salesforce.com of a sales representative candidate.
"How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?" -- Asked at Petco of an analyst candidate.