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Expect the Unexpected: 15 Wild Card Interview Questions

Veronica C. | July 7, 2011

Perhaps you are one of those job seekers who has their interview outfit perfectly pressed, copies of your resume printed on thick paper tucked neatly in a fancy folder, a Montblanc pen that latches on to that folder, and rehearsed all of your answers to every possible interview question.

Well done… though I’m not here to pat you on the back for what you know to do. I’m here to help you prepare for the unexpected in the interview.

When first approaching this blog, I was going to just gather a list of top ten questions that are most common in an interview such as: why are you interested in this job? Or, describe a time when you showed leadership. Easy enough, right?

However, in my pursuit to find tough questions via my trusted Google search, I ran into a few questions that some would classify as “wild cards”. This simply means that the interviewer has questions up their sleeve that are not so typical. These questions are asked to see how you would respond to the unexpected… can you think on your feet or will you say, forget this!

So what kinds of questions could you be asked?

  1. If both a taxi and a limo were priced the exact same, which one would you choose?
  2. Tell me a joke
  3. How would you design a spice rack for a blind person?
  4. How would you move Mt. Fugi?
  5. If you were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree (animal) would you be?
  6. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
  7. You have 8 pennies, 7 weigh the same, one weighs less. You also have a judges scale. Find the one that weighs less in less than 3 steps…
  8. If you could be an M&M, what color would you be?
  9. You are in charge of 20 people. Organize them to figure out how many bicycles were sold in your area last year
  10. How many tennis balls are in this room and why?
  11. Tell me what you were like in high school
  12. Tell me how you would determine how many house painters there are in the United States?
  13. You are on a game show. There are three doors. Behind one of them is a prize; the other two have coal. The host knows which door holds the prize. You choose door #1. Before it is opened, the host opens door #3 and reveals a lump of coal. You have the choice to stick with the door you chose originally or switch to door #2. What do you do?
  14. If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?
  15. How many coffee and tea shops are there in Japan?

An interesting set of questions, wouldn’t you say? While having a laugh, I thought to myself – how completely random? However, I actually attempted to answer a few of the questions for fun and then discovered that they really aren’t so bad. In fact, they’re kind of fun once you get started…

Now one could argue and say that those questions have nothing to do with the job and are completely ridiculous. True, but I encourage you to not get turned off; try to go with the flow and don’t choke up. Laugh if the questions are absurd and really attempt to try to answer the question. Grab a pen and piece of paper if you have to.

Whatever you do, don’t shrug and say “I don’t know”. Instead, think out loud and unleash your creative side! Sometimes there is no right answer… in fact, the interviewer knows you have your canned answers ready and may throw a curve ball at you just to see how you respond. Why do they do this? The interviewer is trying to see how you think, process information, solve problems, if you show effort, and how you respond to randomness! When you’re on the job, you’re going to be in situations where you are not exactly prepared for every single problem that arises. The person hiring you wants to see if you can think on the spot and most importantly, under pressure. So with that said—go on your next interview with confidence, do your best, be yourself, and expect the unexpected!

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Category: Internships, Jobs

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