How To Prepare For Behavioral Interview Questions

When you’re scheduled for a job interview, you, of course, prepare for the questions you’re probably going to be asked. That means boning up on your academic and work history, on what you did and what you know, and how you’d solve potential problems at work.

But sometimes the interviewer may then just ask a weird question that may catch you off your guard. These are questions like “What kind of a tree are you” which Barbara Walters notoriously asked of Katherine Hepburn during a TV interview. Walters was often mocked for asking such a question, but you really don’t want to display such a reaction when your job interviewer asks you a similar question.

What Kind of Question Can You Expect?

In some cases, you can expect just about the strangest questions. Some may come out of the left field and seemingly totally irrelevant. Here are some examples:

  • Why are you a superstar?
  • If you were born in a hospital, does that mean you can be comfortable living in one?
  • Describe how you were in high school.
  • What kind of flower are you?
  • What’s your next step if you don’t get this job from any company?
  • Why are manhole covers round? (This is one of the famous Google job interview questions.)
  • How much would you charge to clean all the toilets in NYC?
  • Tell us about a time when you lied and got away with it.
  • How would you make your boss a sandwich?
  • What do you think your job will be right before you retire?
  • If you were a TV show character, who would you be?
  • How can you fit an elephant into a freezer?
  • Look at that abstract painting on the wall. What would you name it and why?
  • What’ll you do if you find a giraffe in your living room?
  • If someone asks your teenager to supervise a pool party, would you permit it?
  • If an astronaut and a caveman fought, who would win?
  • If you’re establishing your Game of Thrones family, what would be your house words?

What Are the Right Answers?

These questions may seem nonsensical, but often there are reasons for hiring managers to ask these questions. They want to see how you react when you’re faced with the unexpected. They want to see if you can be creative and logical in the face of the absurd. Often, your answers reveal a part of your personality that you may not have shown in your cover letter and resume.

What you don’t want to do is to act flustered and to blurt “I don’t know.” That’s not going to cut it. Smile, and then think it through. Ask questions for clarification. For example, if you’re to fit an elephant into a freezer you may want to ask if it’s a baby elephant and if you can get a large freezer.

This is actually the fun part of the interview, and so you ought to have some fun yourself. Answer as best you can, and give reasons for your answers. Smile when you do so. This is your chance to stand out, and you may as well give a memorable response.

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