You’ve dressed to impress and have prepared yourself as best as you could. But then your prospective employers throw a curveball question that you just didn’t see coming, and you clam up like an oyster.
How you cope in this situation goes a long way to determining whether or not you get hired, but in most cases, employers are not looking for a right or wrong answer - they are looking at how candidates think on the spot.
A recent study found that two of most off-the-wall questions Britons commonly face in interviews include ‘is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit?’ and ‘how would you get a hippo out of a hole?’
Naturally, you can’t prepare for what you don’t know is coming - but that’s the whole idea.
Courtesy of James Reed, chairman of Reed recruitment agency and author of the bestselling book 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again, here are some of the most common tricky interview questions - and more importantly, how to ace them.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Right answer: ‘I think I’d be a duck. They’re always calm on the surface, but hustling like crazy to get things done underneath’.
If all else fails, say you’re a Kestrel. Always go with Kestrel.
Wrong answer: ‘Definitely a Tiger. Grrrr…’
Every CV has one lie in it. What’s yours?
Right answer: ‘OK, so “active lifestyle” may have been a bit of a stretch. I do go and sit in the sauna in my gym from time-to-time, if that counts? On a serious note though, I don’t believe there are any lies on my CV. I believe integrity is very important and that starts with your CV’
Wrong answer: ‘Pass’
Would you rather be liked or feared?
Right answer: ‘Well I certainly wouldn’t want to be feared. Personally I think fear is a terrible motivator, and could lead to some uncomfortable situations. Everyone wants to be liked, but it isn’t always possible. Sometimes you have to do unpopular things to get the job done. I’d much sooner be respected, but have my co-workers understand that I always do my best for the team as a whole.’
Wrong answer: ‘I want people to be afraid of how much they like me.’
Where does your boss think you are now?
Right answer: ‘I booked today as annual leave. I know colleagues who have lied about their whereabouts in the past, but it’s not something I’d be comfortable doing’
Wrong answer: ‘I’m not sure really. I just kind of walked out…’