Off-the-wall interview questions can really throw you for a loop when you are interviewing for a new job. They are the questions that you had no way to prepare for, but that’s generally the point. Your interviewer wants to get a feel for who you are beneath the polished and rehearsed exterior.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of off-the-wall interview questions thrown my way. To be honest, in the moment, I hated them. I prepared for days to answer the standard questions of “Tell me about yourself” and “Tell me a time that you failed in your last job,” and didn't end up using any of them. While I hated answering those off-the-wall questions, they are the ones that have stuck with me over the years and ones that I use as a benchmark for both my professional and personal growth. Below are my three of my favorite off-the-wall questions:
What advice would you give your younger self in 4 words?
If you could name a dessert after you, what would it be?
In the next three minutes, teach me something I don’t know (assume that I don’t know much).
Each of these questions speaks less to your professional capabilities and more to your ability to think on your feet and to your subconscious motivations. Understanding your motivations will help you answer both standard and creative interview questions as well as help you perform to your highest potential once you have the job. Spend some time thinking about the answers to these questions and write them down. In a year, come back, answer them again, and see if your answers and motivations have changed at all. If they have, are you moving in the direction that you want to go? If they haven’t, are you already where you want to be? What can you do to improve yourself and grow your capabilities?
While they might seem like silly questions, they really can be great, creative motivators for you to improve yourself both professionally and personally. Check out these 5 TED Talks
that can help you boost your creativity and knock your answers out of the park.