Questions at interview generally follow a familiar pattern. The candidate will be asked questions about their career, their competencies, their behaviours and how much they know about the company. But these questions often do not give an interviewer sufficient insight into how a candidate would work in the team or react in a certain situation. So, they may well ask more general, slightly off-the-wall questions. These are looking for soft skills and how the candidate would handle the unexpected. There are no right or wrong answers, but there are effective ways to approach the questions.
What Superpower would you choose and why?
The purpose of this question is to judge curiosity and ambition. You don’t have to be a named Superpower from a Marvel comic. Flying would give you speed to react and help out in situations, invisibility would give you the power to go places and hear things mere mortals can’t. Try and think of a positive superpower, rather than a destructive one. Fire throwers might raise eyebrows. Remember much of the interview is about how you would work with a team within an organisation.
Roughly how many pound coins would fill this room?
Bear in mind that it is very unlikely that anyone knows the correct answer to this one – so the interviewer will be looking at your approach. Do you know the difference between a 4 meter wide room and a 6 meter wide room and can you remember how to measure volume? The interviewer will be looking for logical thinking rather than a specific number. You should get points for ‘showing your working’.
What is the next form of technology that will become obsolete?
There is no right or wrong answer, but a well thought out response will show that you are aware of the tools that we all use, and how they develop and change.
What is something I would be surprised to learn about you?
You don’t need to be too personal here, and it is a good idea to answer with something positive and/or interesting that is non-work related. Your answer would demonstrate self-awareness as much as a passion for a strange hobby.
Walk me through something simple, like making a cheese salad sandwich.
This would primarily demonstrate how you communicate in a clear and straightforward way, without forgetting the details such as slicing the bread or opening the packets.
Travel back in time to the 1950s and explain the internet.
This could become very longwinded if you feel you have to explain every small detail. Think about the 1950s, they had telephones, radios, televisions, record players etc, not to mention sophisticated military technology. So, they would understand the concept, if not how it was done.
If you were an animal what would you be?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer here, but it is worth giving it some careful thought. An elderly cat might not give the impression of energy required for the role, but a sheepdog puppy might be a bit too much. Although the question is asking you to reveal something of yourself, it is understood that you will probably have thought it through beforehand and will be giving a thought out answer, so give your reasons.
If you could have two desert island luxuries, what would they be?
Think about some explanations for your choice – would it be a shovel or a photograph of your family? Both perfectly good answers, one is of practical use and one would motivate you. So always be prepared to say why you would choose something.
Sell me this …(glass of water, pen, app)
Discuss “lack of” – how a glass of water, or pen, or app would fill a gap, give comfort. Think about the intrinsic value of a pen or a glass, discuss how it would feel to be left out, if everyone else had one. Think about small beginnings for organisations or items that are now must-have or go-to, eg The Seattle Coffee company, now better known as Starbucks.