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Weird and wacky interview questions

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If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you be? Hmm … probably not the light version … or sweet & saucy … and honey mustard doesn’t sound too professional either.

Interview questions like this one are growing more popular with interviewers, says Lynne Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University’s business school.

“While we’ve all heard stories of the Microsoft interview questions (‘Why is a manhole cover round?’), more employers are using nonstandard questions in their interviews,” she says.

Be prepared to think quickly on your feet, show your creativity and even reveal your sense of humor.

A few examples of tough, actual interview questions:

  • If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
  • If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

Also be prepared to answer behavioral questions that show the interviewer how you might handle future situations. One way to prep: Keep a couple of specific situations in mind. Often the same situation could apply to several questions. Examples:

  • Describe a situation when you took a risk professionally. What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time others disagreed with your recommended course of action. How did you persuade them, and what were the results?
  • Explain a situation where you worked as part of a team but your team failed to accomplish the goal on time and within budget. What did you learn?

Tip: When answering one of these behavioral questions, use the STAR approach: Describe the Situation or Task; explain the Action you took to overcome the obstacle and demonstrate your skill; and then discuss the Result of your actions.

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