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Unconventional Interview Questions - How To Navigate Successfully

Interviews can be nerve wracking enough but when you are suddenly faced with questions from the interviewing panel that either you had not anticipated in advance or are rather unconventional interview questions, you may feel a sense of rising anxiety on how best to answer.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
January 23, 2024

Interviews can be nerve wracking enough but when you are suddenly faced with questions from the interviewing panel that either you had not anticipated in advance or are rather unconventional interview questions, you may feel a sense of rising anxiety on how best to answer. Unfortunately, you do not have much time to think about it or indeed prepare for this type of question once you are in the midst of an interview as the interviewer is expecting an answer almost immediately.

In the ever evolving and fast paced landscape of job interviews, applicants can encounter unconventional questions which are specifically designed to reveal much more about their personality, creativity, skills and problem solving abilities than standard questions that you can almost certainly predict will be asked of you. Yes, this type of question can catch you off guard and the interviewer is fully aware of this but it is how you respond that they are interested in. With a flexible mindset and a degree of mental preparation beforehand, then you may be presented with a unique opportunity to showcase your suitability for the job and stand out from the rest of the candidates.

Employers do sometimes decide to move beyond the more traditional questions in order to gain a much deeper insight into a candidate's thought processes and adaptability. Some questions may seem irrelevant or sometimes silly or whimsical but rest assured, they serve a purpose in separating the wheat from the chaff, especially if there are numerous applicants for one job which is often the case. These carefully crafted questions assess a candidate's potential and reveal aspects of their personality that may otherwise remain beneath the surface by asking traditional questions.

To be able to handle such questions, candidates should try to understand the underlying intention as this type of question often aims to gauge problem solving skills and decision making processes under pressure. There may not be a right or wrong answer but it is very important to provide a response which aligns with the job and showcases relevant skills.

Therefore, when you are faced with an unexpected or unconventional question, you should take a few seconds to process your thoughts before responding. Stay professional and within your answer, articulate your key strengths and skills while demonstrating the ability to connect personal traits with work related attributes, combining the two.

Research commonly used unconventional questions within your industry and practice a variety of responses. Remain genuine when you answer as the questions are formulated to uncover your authentic self. Approach all questions with a positive attitude while connecting your answers to your professional strengths and remember to let your personality shine through. Handling unexpected questions in a professional manner can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer and can reveal your suitability for the role.

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