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15+ Unique Interview Questions (+ How to Answer)

Unique interview questions, weird and random as they seem, do serve a purpose in job interviews. Learn why interviewers ask them, what they want to assess with them, and get a list of the most common unique interview questions (with sample answers).
15+ Unique Interview Questions (+ How to Answer)

Years ago, when I applied for an office manager position, I got this question in an interview: “If you look at a clock and the time is 3:12, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?”

I was always bad at math so I panicked immediately. It took me longer than I care to admit to come up with an answer. It was then that my disdain for weird interview questions began.

After some time, I realized there’s nothing wrong with these interesting interview questions. Interviewers don’t ask them to undermine candidates but to get to know them and assess their skills.

And there’s one right way to answer all unexpected interview questions, which I’ll break down here.

In this article, you’ll read about:

  • The most common weird and unexpected interview questions
  • Why interviewers ask these unique questions and what they look for in an answer
  • How to best answer off-the-wall interview questions
  • Good answer examples
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Don’t waste days compiling overused interview techniques. Get original answers to every single question you could expect.

The Most Common Weird and Unique Interview Questions

If you just want a list of common (but, well, not that common) interview questions you might expect, here it is:

Random, Off-The-Wall Interview Questions

Weird Interview Questions That Test Logical Reasoning and Critical Thinking

Fun Interview Questions That Test Creativity and Creative Problem-Solving

Uncomfortable Unexpected Behavioral Interview Questions

How to Answer Unexpected Interview Questions

There is a standard way to answer these weird interview questions.

Even though they don’t follow the same pattern and can be pretty unique and off-the-wall, the intention behind them is similar: the interviewer wants to get to know your personality and they are trying to test a skill or a group of skills through those questions.

Sometimes they want to test your problem-solving or analytical skills, sometimes it’ll be communication skills, or simply your ability to think on your feet and gracefully handle an unpleasant situation.

So, here’s what to do when you get an unexpected interview question:

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Try to identify the skill/group of skills they’re trying to assess
  3. Come up with an answer that illustrates those skills or is connected to them

Pro tip: Sometimes, the exact answer is not as important as the method through which you came to that answer (especially for questions that ask for an exact number). This is why it’s important to show interviewers how you think, break down your steps, and logically explain each one.

Let’s now break down each question and see how to best answer them.

Random, Off-The-Wall Interview Questions

They may seem random, but these questions are a nice way to break the ice and set a friendly atmosphere in an interview. Plus, they might reveal a lot about candidates’ values and personalities.

“If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?”

💡 How to answer: This is not a trick question. The interviewer wants to get to know you and create a friendly atmosphere. Don’t pick someone famous for their fame’s sake; make sure it’s someone interesting with whom you could have a meaningful convo. (Even if it’s an A-list celebrity, it’s fine as long as you have a meaningful, interesting topic to discuss.) Then talk about why you’re fascinated by them, topics you’d discuss with them, and lessons you’d love to learn. Finally, try to tie your choice to the qualities relevant to the job.

📌 Good sample answer:

I’d love to have dinner with a Belgian-American psychotherapist Esther Perel. I find her work on human relationships fascinating. There are a lot of famous therapists and authors who deal with this topic, but in my mind, Esther stands out the most. I find her stances to be insightful and unique, although I know some people find them controversial. I love that she challenges traditional norms and gives unconventional pieces of advice, especially regarding marriage and infidelity. Over the dinner though, I’d ask her questions about the intersection of professional and personal growth and how to navigate workplace relationships. I’d also love to know how she navigates the challenges of her career, as I’m sure I’d be able to steal a tip or two and improve my own.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): If they can give you a genuine answer with a thoughtful rationale, you’ll get insight into their interests and values. Why that particular person? What are some admirable things they’re known for? It might show the candidate’s cultural awareness and the ability to think outside the box. Try to create a conversation around their choice and ask additional questions. It will serve as a nice get-to-know-you moment and help the candidate relax.

“If you were invited to speak at a TED Talk, what would be your topic?”

💡 How to answer: Choose a subject connected to your field or genuine interests. TED Talks focus on thought-provoking and innovative topics, so use the opportunity to prove you’re thinking outside the box. Then tie the topic to the role or your skills, and explain why you believe it would be a valuable contribution to the TED community.

📌 Good sample answer:

If I were to give a TED Talk, as a teacher, my topic would be cultivating inquisitive minds beyond grades. I think that our school system needs to challenge the idea that grades and standardized tests are all that matter. I noticed this with kids, too. It’s like they don’t have interests and curiosities outside a given framework that will help them get a good grade. So in my talk, I’d emphasize that we need to create an environment where students are encouraged to explore their interests, make mistakes, and see failures as stepping stones to growth. Controversially, I’d argue that they need less homework to have more time for their interests and extracurricular activities like drama clubs, literary clubs, sports, volunteering, and similar. I’d also draw from my classroom experiences and share insights and innovative teaching methods that nurture curiosity, critical thinking, and passion for learning.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Look for topics and motifs that will reveal candidates’ true interests and passions. This might hint at how they’d fit in with the rest of the team and if they’d be a cultural fit. Additionally, you might learn something about their public speaking and presentation skills. This question is therefore really useful for public-facing roles like PR, sales, business development, community management, and similar.

“What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?”

💡 How to answer: Highlight an experience that showcases your adaptability and willingness to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re an adventurous person, you also probably have superb problem-solving skills, so make sure to demonstrate that too. If you can, pick an adventure that’s professional and showcases other valuable insights into your workplace strengths.

📌 Good sample answer:

One of the most adventurous things I’ve done is taking a spontaneous trip through Europe with friends without a set destination. We focused mainly on the Adriatic area and visited Northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. There were all kinds of problems because we didn’t have a plan and a clear destination, so we had to focus only on the next step of the journey without the bigger picture. It was often tricky to find proper accommodation because we visited in the middle of the tourist season, we got robbed once, my friend lost his phone, and I hurt my foot jumping off a cliff into the water. But despite these challenges, it was the best summer of my life.

Pro tip: You don’t have to speak about skydiving or going on a trip solo, especially if you’re not naturally adventurous or eager to take risks. If that’s the case, you can speak about anything that felt adventurous to you: usually, it’ll be something that made you step out of your comfort zone. And yes, it’s totally fine to say you’re not much of an adventurer, as long as you provide a story or give an example of what felt adventurous to you.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): In addition to telling you about candidates’ perspectives on life outside of work (and their interests), the answer to this question will give you insights into their level of self-initiative and the ability to take risks. If you have a candidate who’s adventurous, chances are they will be so in the work surroundings too, and you’ll be able to count on them to take risks and suggest innovative solutions.

“What was the last book you read and what did you learn from it?”

💡 How to answer: Don’t lie: pick a book you have actually read. If you’re not an avid reader, be open about it and say you haven’t been reading that much lately, but still choose a book you once read that stuck with you.

“The answer can make you more memorable, so you don’t have to limit yourself only to business books. Your favorite history or fiction book will do. If you don’t read at all, offer some of the podcasts you listened to, or TV shows or movies you watched. Remember that the interviewer wants to get to know you, and it’s better to offer anything (if you don’t have a book) than to freeze and end up not answering the question.” — says Pamela Skillings, Interview Coach and Career Counselor.

📌 Good sample answer:

Last winter, I decided to re-read all the Harry Potter books. They were my favorite books as a child, but 20 years have passed, and I feared I’d be disillusioned when I read them as an adult. Boy, was I wrong! I loved them even more than before. It’s not highbrow literature, but it’s the perfect example of the power that storytelling has over people. It was one of the most immersive experiences of my life and I loved every single character and crazy plot twist. It got me thinking. Experiencing all of that stuff when I was 8 and basically growing up with Harry made me love reading. And I think I got my natural feel for flow and consistency reading those books. I think Harry Potter helped me become a better writer.

For more tips from Pamela, Chief Career Coach, check out this video:

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Use this question to get to know the candidate and discover details about their skills. Their answer will tell you if they’re dedicated to personal growth and knowledge expansion, as well as reveal the level of their interpretation and learning skills. But you might get this valuable info by asking about their favorite (not last) book, or a podcast they listened to, their favorite TV show, or a movie.

“If you could possess one superhero power, what would it be and why?”

💡 How to answer (for candidates): Choose a superpower and relate it to your work ethic or personal development. Be creative and playful, while retaining sincerity in your response — don’t push it too far.

📌 Good sample answer:

I’d love to be able to stop time for a while. I’d use this power for both professional and private purposes. I could extend deadlines, pause for a moment when things get hectic, have more time for difficult tasks, I could come up with a perfect comeback in a quarrel, and I could actually make those lovely personal moments last forever. Well, not forever, but for a bit longer. I think it would help me lead a calmer life and enjoy small things more.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): The answer might reveal the candidate’s interests, values, motivations, and creativity. If they’re able to connect their chosen superpower to their professional life, it might hint at their adaptability and resourcefulness.

Weird Interview Questions That Test Logical Reasoning and Critical Thinking

As weird and tiring as they may be, there is logic behind these questions. They’re usually aimed towards candidates’ analytical and problem-solving skills.

“How many tennis balls can fit in a limousine?”

💡 How to answer: “Don’t be afraid of this type of question and don’t rush and give an answer straight away. Even if you blurt out ‘The answer is 85,426 balls,’ the interviewer will ask you to go back and describe how you reached that number. Because the point here is not the answer itself, but how you answer the question. Instead, take your time and try to break down the issue into several smaller segments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for more context, like ‘Are there any seats or passengers, or is the limousine completely empty?’”, said Pam.

📌 Good sample answer:

I’d like to start by considering the limousine’s dimensions. What’s the model? What’s the interior space like? Are there any seats or people inside? Based on this info, I’d calculate the volume of the interior. Then, I’d determine the volume of a tennis ball. I don’t think I’d have an exact number, but I’m pretty sure a ballpark figure would be accurate. Also, I’ll need a pen and paper and a calculator.

To hear how to answer a similar question, check out this video:

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Look for the candidate’s ability to think logically and their approach to problem-solving. The exact answer per se is not that important, as it’s more important to see the candidate’s logic and how they simplify the problem, step-by-step, before reaching a conclusion.

“If you could only use one utensil forever, would it be a spoon or a fork? Justify your answer.”

💡 How to answer: Take your time, you don’t have to rush with your decision. State your answer and provide clear arguments, how you came to certain conclusions, and why you made the choices you did. So, be rational and clear, decisive, and display practical reasoning.

📌 Good sample answer: “I’d choose a fork because it would be easier to pluck my eye with it because of this stupid question.”

Just kidding. Here’s a good answer:

Well, I love healthy foods like soups and stews, so I’d choose to use a spoon forever because I can’t eat them with a fork. That way, I’d be covered. Solid food can be eaten with hands too, and in special circumstances, I could just use a small knife instead of a fork.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): It’s a rather weird question, so watch for the ways candidates rationalize it. Any answer is ok, but they should know how to provide clear arguments for their decision. In short, their answer could give you hints about their rational decision-making, justification abilities, and problem-solving.

“How would you figure out the weight of a commercial airplane without a scale?”

💡 How to answer: Describe your step-by-step method to approximate the weight and show your ability to think outside the box. You could begin by acknowledging this is a hypothetical situation and that you’re going to make some assumptions. Break down the problem into components, ask additional questions if you need more context, and discuss some alternative methods you can think of. Again, the focus here is on your thought process and logical reasoning, so make sure to display that.

📌 Good sample answer:

Well, different planes have different weights. What’s the model of the airplane we’re talking about? I think we also need to consider the average weight of the materials used in its construction, like aluminum for the fuselage and wings. Once we estimate the dimensions and thickness of those components, I think I could make a reasonable guess on the overall weight. If there are passengers and baggage inside, that would be a factor I’d take into consideration too.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Focus on their analytical thinking, how their mind works, and what steps they take to obtain information before reaching a decision. Their answer should also be able to hint at how they approach unconventional situations and problems, as well as their creativity in problem-solving.

“How many pennies would have the same volume as the Empire State Building?”

💡 How to answer: Break the problem into smaller segments and take the interviewer through your thought process. Even if you get the number wrong, it won’t matter — your problem-solving and thinking process will bring you bonus points.

📌 Good sample answer:

Google says the volume of the Empire State Building is 37 million cubic feet. We’d need to compare it to the volume of a penny. Now, because the Empire State Building has an irregular shape, an average cylindrical approximation might work. Once armed with these volumes, a simple division would reveal the penny count.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): It’s a useful question for roles and industries that value problem-solving, analytical thinking, like engineering, architecture, data science, finance, software development, and similar. Therefore, it should help you gauge candidates’ logical, systematic approach to problem-solving, as well as their mathematical reasoning abilities.

“How would you escape if you were trapped inside a washing machine?”

💡 How to answer: Bring it on! This is a nice opportunity for you to show how creative you are. Describe a clear hypothetical plan for escape and show your ability to stay calm under pressure.

📌 Good sample answer:

Washing machine doors usually have a safety mechanism that prevents opening during operation, so I wouldn’t be able to open the doors myself. I’d probably bang against the walls, my roommates would hear me and pause the cycle. They’d also probably have to call the firefighters to slice the machine open and get me out of there, unless they want to slice me, piece by piece, and get me out.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): You can use this hilarious question to check candidates’ reactions. If they’re immediately engaged, it might indicate they’re an adventurous, creative person who could contribute to the company in interesting ways. Plus, you’ll see how quickly they’re thinking and whether they take a rational or creative approach. In any case, you certainly won’t hear the same answer twice, and this could be a wonderful way to get to know some intriguing people.

Fun Interview Questions That Test Creativity and Creative Problem-Solving

Sometimes, interviewers just want to get to know candidates in a more informal, fun way. Below are fun questions suitable for that.

“If you were an animal, which one would you want to be and why?”

💡 How to answer: Think of your best qualities and key skills that would be relevant to the job (and hint at your personality), and then choose an animal that displays the same characteristics. Use storytelling to give your answer, and list compelling reasons why you chose that particular animal. You don’t need to be 100% sure this animal has the same characteristics, as long as you explain this is how you view that animal.

📌 Good sample answer:

If I were an animal, I think I’d be a honeybee. They’re diligent savers, and efficient at collecting and storing nectar. But they also play a huge role in pollination, fostering life and sustainability. And I’m the type of person who believes in communities, helping each other, and working towards a common goal, plus I’m all about intentional, sustainable, eco-conscious living. I also love how bees contribute to the delicate balance of nature, and I believe that this world would be a better place if people looked up to them.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Asking this question will help you check candidates’ creative thinking and metaphorical reasoning. Plus, you’ll be able to see what personal traits they consider the most important in themselves and how they identify them with the chosen animal. The answers might also hint at their level of self-awareness and objectiveness.

“Describe the color yellow to somebody who’s blind.”

💡 How to answer: There’s no right or wrong answer here. Interviewers just want to see how creative and empathetic you are, and if you can communicate complex topics simply. So show creativity and sensitivity in your answers, and rely on comparisons and feelings to describe colors.

📌 Good sample answer:

To me, it’s like the first cup of coffee in the backyard on the first warm spring day after a long and dull winter. The coffee warms me up from the inside, and the sun rays warm my face up from the outside. That’s what the color yellow feels like.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Another one hinting at their creative thinking and problem-solving. What’s interesting about this question is that answers might give you insight into candidates’ levels of empathy and communication skills, which might be especially useful for client-facing roles like Customer Service or Sales.

“If you could invent a new ice cream flavor, what would it be and why?”

💡 How to answer: Make your response interesting, thoughtful, and creative. You can start from yourself: what kind of flavor would you like and why? Discuss the flavors, textures, ingredients, and even packaging, but also focus on why you think other people would enjoy it too. It’ll show them you can focus on different audiences, and your ability to pitch the idea and properly communicate it will bring you bonus points.

📌 Good sample answer:

I’d love to create a tasty flavor, but not too sweet, and one that would soothe the soul, not just the senses. So I’d probably create a blend of tangy citrus fruits and add a hint of lavender for a slightly floral taste. It would be refreshing and perfect for summer, and I like to think it would be like a food counterpart to essential oils. So in short, my ice cream flavor would be not only tasty, but would have health benefits: it would reduce stress, promote relaxation, and reduce headaches.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): This is a nice way to test candidates’ creativity and innovation skills, which could be a good indicator of their future performance, especially in roles where these skills are important, like marketing or product positions. Plus, you’ll see if they have the ability to effectively present unique ideas and back them up with solid arguments.

“Convince me to move to your city”

💡 How to answer: This is your chance to prove your persuasion skills. Highlight the best aspects of your city/town and align those with the listener’s potential needs and interests. Start by asking questions that would help you gain insights into their preferences, like “What matters to you the most when it comes to your residence area?”. But most importantly, bear in mind that it’s not all about persuasion and selling. You also need to focus on other people’s needs and check if it makes sense to convince someone of something. Plus, it’s equally important to be aware of the disadvantages of your city/town and suggest how people can work around some things they want, and your city can’t give them.

📌 Good sample answer:

What kind of cities do you prefer? Do you like big, busy cities, mid-sized cities, or small, peaceful towns? My city has around 200,000 inhabitants and here it’s considered a mid-sized city. I’d say it’s not too crazy, but it does offer a variety of options to those who want an active, sociable life. The neighborhoods on the outskirts are quiet and peaceful, perfect for family life and raising children. But if you want a bustling neighborhood with lots of cool clubs and charming restaurants, you can find affordable flats in the city center. There’s no airport near my city though. However, you can get to the capital in an hour and the main airport is an hour and a half away. Can you give me a list of your preferences and deal breakers, so we can see how to work around this?

Pro tip: This question is similar to the “Sell me this pen” one. If you ask some initial questions about product-market fit, like “What kinds of cities do you enjoy? What sort of urban environments do you thrive in?” and their answers indicate that it’s nowhere near what your city has to offer, then it’s fine to say that your city just isn’t for them. Sales interviewers will give you bonus points for that.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): This type of question is super useful for sales interviews, as it will help you gauge their communication and persuasion skills. You’ll also check how if they can highlight positives and downplay negatives, but also if they’re attentive to other people’s needs and able to personalize communication to cater to different needs.

“If you were a brand, what would be your motto?”

💡 How to answer: Show understanding of your personal brand, but also branding in general (especially if you’re applying for a Marketing role). Try to create a catchy, meaningful sentence that encapsulates your values or selling points. But even if you’re not able to do it on the spot, it’s fine. Creating mottos and coming up with unique selling points is a process, so showcasing how you think and brainstorming on the spot will do, too.

📌 Good sample answer:

That’s a tough one to think of on the spot because it takes a bit of time to come up with an accurate, creative, interesting, effective motto. Branding in general is a meticulous process that involves a lot of different factors like values, target audience, competitive landscape, unique selling proposition, emotional appeal, market research, legal consideration, and much more. Generally, I think I’d try to create something in line with my perspective on the work that I do. I’d find a way to highlight that I’m not merely selling a product as a Sales Associate; instead, I have insightful conversations and build authentic connections to help people get the most out of their efforts. Off the top of my head, maybe something along the lines of: “transactions turned into relationships.” Maybe not a Pulitzer-winning slogan, but it feels like a promising starting point.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Their answers will give you a glimpse into candidates’ values and how they view themselves. Plus, you’ll be able to check their creativity and branding understanding. It’s a question that’s especially useful in Marketing, PR, and communications.

Uncomfortable Unexpected Behavioral Interview Questions

The questions we’re about to break down in this section are actually pretty common (and often behavioral) interview questions. What makes them unexpected is the fact that candidates usually don’t prepare for them.

They tend to focus mainly on questions about positive events, work experience, and skills, which enable them to sell themselves and convince interviewers they’re a great fit for the role.

But unpleasant, uncomfortable questions are just as important — soon you’ll see why.

Before that, here’s a list of actionable articles that’ll help you prepare for these unpleasant questions, behavioral questions, and how to answer them using the STAR method:

“Tell me about a time when you failed at something. How did you handle it?”

💡 How to answer: “Interviewers won’t ask this question to write you off. They want to see how you handle failure and if you learn something from it. Look for minor failures that wouldn’t jeopardize your chances of landing the job and don’t share something that’s too personal.”, said Pam.

A missed deadline, an honest mistake, or a group project gone wrong will do. Don’t dwell on the negatives, take responsibility, and put a positive spin on the situation. Briefly describe the failure and what you learned from it, as well as what you did to prevent it from happening again. For more details and examples, check out the guide we provided at the beginning of this section.

📌 Good sample answer:

Early in my career, I was awful at time management. I used to miss deadlines frequently, and it culminated when we almost lost a client because my entire team wasn’t able to deliver an email campaign on time. I spoke with my manager, and we created a plan for me and the entire team to start tracking time on different types of tasks. That way we’d know approximately how much time we need to complete certain tasks, and what were the main elements stopping us from being on time. So that time tracker was of immense help, and once we established the approximate time for each initiative type, we were able to plan deadlines accordingly. I used this trick for every single position I’ve held since then, and it never failed to help me.

Find more ideas on how to answer this question below:

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Asking this question will help you assess candidates’ self-awareness, the ability to admit to their mistakes, if they learn from them, and their willingness to take risks and overcome challenges. The key thing to look for is their explanation of what they learned from their failure and how they prevented it from happening in the future.

“Have you ever had a disagreement with a team member? How did you handle it?”

💡 How to answer: Don’t say you’ve never disagreed with a co-worker. Try to come up with an example or even make it situational — what would you do if this happened. Use an example that showcases your problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Show how you strive for win-win situations and value team harmony. Just like with the previous question, focus on the positive side even though the situation at hand is negative. Use the STAR method for an engaging story. For more details and sample answers, check out the article we listed at the beginning of this section.

📌 Good sample answer:

In my first job, I had slightly different work hours from the rest of my team because of my location. That resulted in one team member constantly pinging me and sending urgent tasks after my working hours. I was irritated because it lasted for a while, and it impacted our relationship negatively. One day I decided to speak to him about it and I kindly explained that I’m not able to work overtime every day because of his lack of organization. Together with our manager, we slightly reworked the project deadlines and started researching asynchronous communication. It took us a bit to get into the groove, but eventually, we did manage to resolve the problems and repair our relationship. It’s been years since I left that company, but I’m still in contact with that coworker and we meet up whenever we’re in each other’s area. I think this experience helped me realize how important team spirit is, and how to take an objective, solution-based approach to solving team problems.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Teamwork, collaborative spirit, interpersonal relationship, conflict management, the ability to maintain professionalism — this question will help you reveal all of it. Team spirit is essential for any role, so make sure the candidate can demonstrate the ability to nurture and repair professional relationships and contribute to a healthy work environment.

“Tell me about a time when you had conflicting priorities at work. How did you handle it?”

💡 How to answer: Use a specific example to demonstrate how you can multitask and cope with stress. If one task took priority over another, explain why and how you reached that decision. Show how you can communicate effectively and how you manage expectations within the team.

📌 Good sample answer:

I worked in a marketing agency, and we had a really busy period with all the work for our clients. On top of that, there was this important campaign that needed to be delivered on time and my team played a crucial role there. But I also had a bunch of internal reports to create, as we neared the end of the quarter. For a week, I was torn between the work on those two tasks and my output was low-quality. So I spoke to my manager and explained the situation. I suggested that the client work becomes my primary goal until we finalize the campaign, and I’d work on internal reporting once that’s done and whenever I find some free time in the meantime. He agreed and even moved the quarterly team meeting so that I had enough time to finalize the reports. The experience taught me to always be upfront and open about deadlines and my bandwidth. Missing a deadline is (often) not that big of a deal, but you need to inform everyone involved so that there aren’t misunderstandings and time wasted on anyone’s side.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): This is a nice question for figuring out the candidate’s time and task management skills, especially in fast-paced surroundings. It’ll also reveal their prioritization skills, how they handle high-pressure situations, and what’s their focus in the workplace.

“Tell me about a time when you overpromised and underdelivered.”

💡 How to answer: Provide a truthful account of a past situation. If you personally never had a similar situation, pick one that your entire team went through and discuss the reasons behind it. Demonstrate maturity in accepting the error, and focus on what you learned from the experience. If you can provide examples of how you prevented similar situations from happening again, that would be awesome.

📌 Good sample answer:

I had a difficult position to fill for a client. I wanted to impress them and my managers so badly, so I promised to deliver a shortlist of top candidates within two weeks, even though I knew how complex the role was. I faced a bunch of unforeseen problems during the search and interviewing process, I was working non-stop, and I put in extra resources, but I couldn’t meet the promised deadline. The client appreciated my honesty and extended the deadline, and we had the perfect candidate accept our offer after a week. If only I suggested three instead of two weeks, none of that would have happened. That’s when I learned how important it is to set realistic expectations for myself and be transparent with the people around me. The desire to impress will always be there, but without proper planning, you can easily do the opposite and let your clients down.

For more details about how to answer unpleasant questions about your mistakes, check out this video:

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): This question is somewhat similar to the one about the candidate’s failure. Similarly, you’ll want to look out for their ability to admit to their mistakes, lessons learned from that experience, and what they did to prevent similar things from happening in the future.

“What do you do if you realize you’re not going to meet a deadline?”

💡 How to answer: Discuss the chain of events that led to this outcome, and focus on what you learned from that experience. Discuss your strategies for prioritizing tasks, and communicate with relevant stakeholders for deadline extensions. Demonstrate that you can stay calm and professional in such high-pressure situations.

📌 Good sample answer:

I usually try to break down my tasks into smaller chunks and estimate the time needed for each. And when I see that I’m probably not going to meet the deadline, I always communicate that clearly to all the relevant people whose work depends on mine. I provide a list of those chunks of work and emphasize the ones that will be problematic. Then I explain why I think I will need more time for them, and propose a revised timeline. So far, this approach worked. My manager trusts me, and I never had a problem with any of my teammates working on the same project. So I’d say accountability, communication, and transparency are crucial in these situations.

🕵️‍♀️ What to look for in an answer (for interviewers): Not meeting a deadline is not a deadly sin, but what’s critical is how candidates communicate about it and understand what caused it. Look for ways they’re trying to solve the problem, how they communicated about it with their manager, and their ability to handle pressure and stay tactful in that unpleasant situation.

Weirdest Interview Questions — Real-Life Stories

Unexpected interview questions are always a fun topic. And just like me, there are plenty of people who hate them. That’s why I turned to Reddit for some additional fun. Here are some of the craziest interview stories forum users described.

(Also, now that the official part of this article is over, I’ll be free to openly display my disdain for this type of interview questions.)

AuthorTomFrost lists this as one of the weirdest questions he got:

“Why didn’t you invent DevOps back in the 1990s?”

I’m paraphrasing, but it was basically an ambush question from an acting CTO who really didn’t want to hire me.

Career expert comments:

It is a weird question indeed, but I wouldn’t be so sure that it was personal and the CTO had mean intentions. Perhaps he just wanted to catch you off guard, see how you think and how you behave in unexpected situations. You could have jumped on the quirky wagon and playfully mentioned something related to time travel, and then go on and discuss the technological landscape in the ‘90s. I’d make sure to mention a detail or two, just to showcase that I’m in the loop with the landscape, without getting into intricacies. I believe this is a better approach than to freeze and make an awkward situation.

In the same thread, Oakley2212 listed their weird questions:

If you were stuck in a zombie apocalypse, what would your role in society be?

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Career expert comments:

These are similar to the questions about what superpower you’d like to have and what animal you’d be. They’re asked to dig a bit deeper into your personality, skills, and preferences. Plus they’re a nice way to break the ice and introduce a friendly atmosphere. I’d actually have fun answering these (scroll up if you want to see how to answer them).

Dhhdjfkkf (love the name) says:

What is the biggest problem the world is currently facing and, given infinite resources, what steps would you take to solve it?

Career expert comments:

This is the hiring managers’ world and candidates are just living in it. Honestly, I’m rolling my eyes a bit while writing this. The question is too broad, it lacks realistic constraints, and I’m fairly sure the majority of candidates would give a generic response. I mean, there are other questions about similar issues, but this one is just too broad. Still, you could try to draw parallels between the task at hand and any other work project. Consider the scope and the stakeholders, mitigate risks, and all that jazz.

In the same thread, jbuttt said:

If John Lennon appeared in front of you for 8 hours, then disappeared again, what would you do to get the most money from your time with him?

Career expert comments:

You could speak about your professional skills, you could try to make him connect you with his network, you could discuss TikTok collaborations or any other traditional ways of monetizing. Or you could disregard the business aspect and use that time for artistic development, spiritual growth, and idea exchange. Personally, I would just rob him.

Summary of the Main Points

  • In addition to common and standard interview questions you’ll hear at any job interview, you might often get an unexpected, unique interview question.
  • These weird interview questions usually revolve around hypothetical situations, sometimes funny ones, but they can also be uncomfortable.
  • Their goal is to discover different skills you possess, as well as your personality traits and how you behave when you’re caught off-guard.
  • Some of them might be over-the-top, but try to get to the meaning behind each — anticipate what they might be trying to achieve.
  • Try to connect each of these creative interview questions with your skills and personality, any answer is better than getting confused and not answering.
  • Prepare in advance for uncomfortable interview questions about your failures and weaknesses and use the STAR method to answer them.


Need a hand? There’s 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Tired of interviewing and not landing the job? Discover actionable lessons and interview practice here (Rated with 4.9/5 by 1,000,000 users).
  2. Read about 9 Ways to Sell Yourself in an Interview (+ Examples).
  3. Discover 30+ Common Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid (Easily!)


What are some of the best casual, non-standard questions to ask candidates?

You could ask them questions about their values, like “If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?” You could ask them questions about their personality and creativity, like the ones about which animal they would be and how they’d explain a certain color to a blind person. Problem-solving questions are fun too (If you were stranded on a deserted island…). Depending on what you want to achieve and discover, there are plenty of options to choose from.

My interview went fairly well, but I totally froze at a weird, off-the-wall question, have I failed?

Not necessarily. Interviews can be unpredictable. If you got confused and froze, there’s nothing you can do about it now, so don’t fret. But in the future, you could prepare for unexpected questions. Know that interviewers are using them to assess your skills, creativity, and personality, but also to check how you handle unexpected situations. Next time you get them, stay calm, try to connect them with a thing you think they’re assessing, or gracefully redirect the conversation to a related topic you feel more comfortable discussing.

What are some common “trick” interview questions?

Common trick questions are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to handle pressure, think quickly, and demonstrate problem-solving skills. Here are some of the most common ones: “Why should we not hire you?”, “What’s the last book you read, and how did it impact you?”, “If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?”, “How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”, “If you were a color, what color would you be and why?”

What are some unique questions I can ask at the end of my interview?

You should ask carefully thought-out, open-ended questions that display your knowledge of the company/industry/landscape to prove your resourcefulness. The questions can be about the role, the company and its culture, your potential career trajectory, the team, the way you’ll be evaluated, and much more. Some nice ones include “A year from now when you’re looking back on this hire, what would I have done to exceed every expectation?”, “In terms of professional qualities, what do you believe sets apart the most successful employees in this organization?”, “If you had a magic wand and could change anything at this company, what would it be?” A detailed guide and a comprehensive list of questions here: 40+ Smart Questions to Ask at the End of Any Job Interview.

What if I consider an interview question stupid and irrelevant? Can I just refuse to answer?

Well, technically, you’re not obliged to answer them. But refusing to do so might make you look bad and greatly affect your chances of making it to the next stage/landing a job. A better approach would be to acknowledge the question and gently steer the conversation in a different direction by bringing up a relevant/connected topic. On the other hand, if you get a question inquiring about your personal life that is not connected to the role and has no effect on your ability to be successful in it (btw, those are illegal interview questions), you have the right not to answer. But even in that case, it’s better to politely change the topic than directly say that the question is stupid.

Maja Stojanovic
A writer specialized in interview preparation and resume building. Spent 5+ years tirelessly seeking a meaningful, rewarding job. Which is exactly what I’ll help you find.
Edited By:
Briana Dilworth
Briana Dilworth
Fact Checked By:
Michael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski
Industry Expert Contributions:

Pamela Skillings

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