Awkward Interview Questions

I’m usually pretty confident when it comes to interviews, but there are some questions which I’ve asked to candidates in interviews that I’ve conducted which I know would throw me off at least a little. I know what you’re thinking, yes, I’m evil.

1. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?

Okay so let me get this straight. You don’t have this kind of money, you’re never going to have this kind of money, but let’s take a trip to impossible world and pretend it’s reality. Alright so sometimes hypothetical questions can help judge the nature of a candidate, but my real problem with this question is the expected answer.

The two most common answers:

Option 1: Donate to charity

Option 2: Travel the world

So now you seem to be stuck in a trap. How can you stand out in an interview if you stick to these two generic routes? I found that I was most impressed by people who had a specific vision for where their money should go. Use this question as an opportunity to express who you are as a person, and what issues are important to you. There is nothing wrong with the above responses as a base, but you have to build on them. Which charity do you want to donate to? Why is it so important to you? How do you think the charity will benefit from your contribution? Avoid being vague, and make your answer as personal as possible.

2. Describe one of your failures and how you overcame it.

You don’t want to show your vulnerable side. I understand that. I hate doing it too. But more than that, you will find it extremely difficult to remember that perfect failure following which you rose from the ashes and showed everyone what you’re capable of.

Most common response: “My SAT score was not what I wanted the first time” or some other academic failure like that, which motivated you to simply work harder and then everything was great again!

This is an easy way out of the question and you know it just as well as your interviewer does. Show them a story of struggle. Your failure could be anything, don’t limit yourself. It could be when you forgot your lines in the play, when you sprained your wrist during gymnastics, or anything else which speaks to your passions. Your interviewer will want to see a real person — one who has made mistakes, fallen down, and been weak (as long as it’s not illegal or anything haha). It’s unlikely that anyone has moved on from defeat in a flash. So let them see what it took, and how you gradually changed as a result.

3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

No matter what you think, I am 99% sure that you have this somewhat, if not completely wrong. Now I did say 99% because there is a chance that a group of you wind up exactly where you say, but then I would feel sorry for you cause your life probably had no excitement whatsoever. Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, the answer to this question.

Most people would say either:

1) I will be working in city X with a position Y in firm Z.

2) I don’t know really, I could be doing X, or maybe even Y, but I really want to do Z.

Don’t be too specific, show that you are open to other possibilities. But make sure you don’t ramble too much and sound confused. Also, don’t try to sound super philosophical by saying things like “no one knows what the future holds”. As true as it might be, it just makes you sound like you have no vision. The question is not asking you to predict where you will be in 10 years time, but rather, where you want to be in 10 years time. In other words, what aspirations do you have for yourself? Remember to stay realistic as you answer this question, and prevent yourself from blurting out any personal gains because your interviewer really won’t care about how many children you want to have. Show off your personality more that anything else.

E.g. I see myself communicating with a range of clients as I present my ideas on new advertising prospects.

So this would tell me that the person I am interviewing is interested in advertising, comfortable interacting with people, and wants to lead activities such as presentations.

Well, those are just 3 examples of awkward interview questions. If you liked this post/ found it useful then let me know and I will put up more on this topic. I tend to write pretty colloquially because I’m better with an informal style and I think it makes the reader enjoy a post more. But I could be completely wrong, I am a new blogger after all haha. Anyway, that’s all for now :)