What Are Trick Questions? Very simply, they are questions designed to make you reveal something about your personality that you may not necessarily want the interviewer to see. Sometimes they can seem innocent enough, like casual questions about the weather, but they have a purpose. In order to answer them well, you need to clearly understand what they are trying to uncover.
The following are several examples of trick questions:
What Didn’t You Like About Your Boss?
The interviewer wants to see if you’ll say anything negative about their character or your own, like “they didn’t appreciate me enough” which shows that perhaps you are expecting more than you will receive. They may also ask – How did you and your supervisor get along?
Where Do You Plan to Be in 5 Years?
This question is tricky for college graduates. Many will say “in graduate school” or “starting a business” when those answers imply that they are not planning to stick with the company. We have a prepared answer to this question here and you can also see our prepared answer to the other way they may ask this question – How long to you plan to stay with us?
Why Were You Laid Off?
If you were fired or left the position, the interviewer is going to see if you’re willing to share the reason and, if so, if the reason is something worth avoiding your hire. See our prepared answer here.
Any Weakness/Mistake Question
Any question about a biggest weakness, or a mistake you made, or a “fatal flaw” are all trick questions. They want you to share something of substance, but they also want to see you say what you did (or are doing) to fix it. That’s where the trick comes in – you need to be sure to clarify exactly what it is you are doing to rectify the issue. Here is a list of biggest weaknesses which are not in fact weaknesses at all. Choose from this list to prepare your answer.
How’s the Weather?
This, and other rapport questions, are trick questions because most candidates don’t realize that their answers matter. If you moan about how much you hate the city’s weather, then you’re going to come off as negative. If you don’t really answer by saying “alright,” you’re going to come off as rude or lacking confidence. Always answer these questions the same way you would a work specific question.
Why Are Manhole Covers Round?
You may also be asked strange logic questions. You’re being tested not on your ability to get the answer “right,” but on your ability to think logically and show that you’re willing to try. See our list of common logic puzzle questions asked at job interviews and also our post on how to beat logic puzzle questions.
Can You Start Today?
This question is for those that are already employed, and it’s a test to see if you respect your previous employer enough to put in two weeks, and if you react to that type of question in a way that shows you may be desperate for a job.
All of these questions are tricks that an unprepared applicant may answer in a way that affects their employment. Always think about what the interviewer is looking for with the questions they ask and prepare your answers carefully.