Your kindergarten teacher was wrong – there are such things as stupid questions. Interviewers ask them all the time – sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident, but always to try to learn something about you. And even though you may think the question is stupid, you still need to provide a smart answer. The following are some examples of these types of questions.
Question 1: If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
These types of questions exist to throw you off your planned answers. The best answers are clever, with a good explanation behind them. Never just say an animal and move on. If the animal is a bit obscure or uncommon, that’s even better. Example: “I would be a red panda, because I do a lot of work at night, I enjoy being rare and special, and I think bamboo shoots are delicious.”
Question 2: Why are manhole covers round?
This is a challenge question to see how logical you are and there is in fact certain tricks you need to know when it comes to answering logic puzzle questions. There is technically no wrong answer, but put some thought into any of these types of questions to show you take them seriously and your mind works well. “While some may claim it’s because the actual holes are round, the most likely reason manhole covers are round is because they are very heavy and when moving a circle there is no need to worry about whether the shape is the right angle to fit inside the hole. Also a round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, is easier to roll and would be easier to dig as opposed to a square one.”
Question 3: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question is a trap! It is also one of the most common questions that high school and college graduates get wrong. Try to avoid saying anything like “I want to go back to graduate school” or “I want to work for a few years and save up money for travel.” Employers want to hire those that will stick around. Answers that imply you plan to leave soon are unlikely to win you the position. Give answers about working for the company, the company’s growth potential and gaining new experiences in the field.
Question 4: What was your salary at your previous position?
Although this question is not a trap, your answer to this can be problematic. Some employers will use your previous salary as a way to judge your quality, and/or whether or not they can pay you less. Try to skirt around actual value. Claim things like “I was compensated based on my expertise, and I’m excited to use that experience in this position.” The only time you should freely divulge your pay is if you received substantial payments and expect to be paid roughly the same (or less). Otherwise keep that information private unless they push you on it. Feel free to add in other dollar values as well, like yearly bonuses which will increase the salary as best you can.
Question 5: Do you want to build a snowman?
Okay, so you won’t be asked specifically whether you want to build a snowman or whether or not you’ve watched “Frozen.” But you may be asked unusual questions about your personal life, like “what are your favorite movies?” and “what are your favorite magazines?” These questions probably shouldn’t be a part of the interview process, but they are, so try your best to come up with an answer that is professional. For example, don’t say “Cosmo magazine” or “Dude Where’s My Car.” Think about movies that display some type of professionalism, or magazines that are relevant to your industry.
Remember – Always try and focus on what the interviewer is trying to learn about you by asking the question.
What is the stupidest question you have ever been asked at an interview?