DiceTV: Logical Responses to Illogical Questions

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpaYSfwM0sM?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=349]

The Script

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in the middle of an interview – and you’re pumped – because you’re acing the technical questions – when out of the blue the interviewer asks: “If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?” Or, “what’s your favorite color?”

You can sit there frozen, like a deer in headlights, or you can anticipate “wacky questions” and respond calmly and logically. I’m Cat Miller and this is DiceTV.

So why do interviewers ask off-the-wall questions?

Think of it as a pop quiz. The interviewer wants to catch you off guard because unforeseen events happen all the time in IT. He’s looking to see if you can think on your feet and stay calm in stressful situations. Of course, just knowing that you might be asked a wacky question reduces the surprise and allows you to plan your response.

Second, stay calm and take a moment to think before you answer. Your behavior and explanation are critical, so don’t stress out about whether your favorite color is red or yellow.

Explain your answer and link it to your personal brand. Allow me to demonstrate. If I were an animal I’d be a dolphin because they’re intelligent and they travel in pods and I’m a great team player. Here’s another example: I’d be an owl because they’re wise and my co-workers always come to me for technical answers and advice.

Don’t say you’d be a dominant animal like a lion or a gorilla if you’ve been an IT manager and you’re applying for a programming job because it opposes your goal. Which leads me to lesson number fumph, ah  five – anticipate and prepare.

Although you never know exactly what an interviewer might ask, wacky questions usually fall into a few categories. Interviewers often ask about your heroes, your favorite food, car or color and your least favorite subject in school. Just thinking about your answers before the interview will help you respond with confidence.

I’m Cat Miller and this has been Dice TV. We now return you to your regular desktop.

7 Responses to “DiceTV: Logical Responses to Illogical Questions”

  1. 10 years ago I asked “What’s your favorite color?” as an interview question. And I really didn’t care what the color was. I wanted to see if they could answer it and mostly their reaction to something unpredictable.

  2. I don’t see how the getting up in the morning question is stupid.

    It sounds like a motivational reasoning question. What drives you? Do you just get up to make an income? Do you just go to a job for the job’s income sake?

  3. Jon Evans

    The advice was great. However, I didn’t think much of the mock Bavarian accent of the speaker. Although I am NOT Bavarian myself, I can easily see the Bavarian (German/Austrian/maybe Danish) community feeling as if it were denigrated the way that Blacks, Jews, and Hispanics are because of this video.

  4. The stupidest question I was ever asked was: “Why do you get up in the morning and go to the work?” As implied by the question, this manager had never showed any respect to his subordinates. So, if you are not interviewed by an HR person who just reads the script, such questions may give out information about the interviewer’s character.