You’re interviewing for your dream ag career, making strong eye contact, knocking things out of the park, then abruptly, the interviewer smiles and asks, “How would you explain the internet to a caveman?” You stare at them blankly for half a second before rummaging through your mind for an answer. When you leave the meeting, you wonder why they asked such a curious question and if you answered correctly.
This scenario is becoming increasingly common during interviews, hiring managers blindsiding candidates with spontaneous questions for seemingly no reason. If you’re curious to know why you’re being asked these strange questions during an interview, keep reading!
Why these questions are important
We know that all agribusinesses value trustworthiness, problem-solving skills, and the ability to make quick decisions. These important attributes are why these questions are being asked during interviews. You may be wondering how these questions can reveal anything of value, but they aim to bring forth your values, quickness, analytical skills, and overall true character. These questions aren’t random, they were chosen to understand and take notes on how you think. Typically, candidates have a general idea of what they may be asked in an interview, so they prepare answers they think an employer may want to hear. Asking unexpected questions will require a candidate to answer more authentically, providing interviewers with an opportunity to see the “real” candidate. Out-of-the-box questions alone won’t determine if an applicant is right for the position or not, instead, they serve as points of interest to some employers. When hiring candidates, interviewers rely on a list of requirements, but also their intuition or gut feeling to make a decision. Asking these questions may contribute to the interviewer’s confidence in your ability to perform well in the position.
Here are a few questions and their significance:
Describe the color green to someone who can’t see. If you’re being interviewed for let’s say an agronomy sales or creative role, hiring managers may ask this question to evaluate your communication skills and vocabulary.
If you were a popsicle flavor, what would you be? This question is used to provide an assessment of yourself and your personality.
What three items would you bring to a deserted island? Asking you difficult questions can reveal how you adapt to unconventional situations and how you make decisions.
Which weighs more, one thousand pounds of feathers or rocks? This question may be asked to test your listening skills or similarly, your ability to note details otherwise missed.
What advice would you give your parents? This question may be used to assess your values and morals.
How to answer unexpected questions
It’s important to remember that these questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. They’re just meant to be answered authentically without much time for preparation. If you’re ever asked a strange question, stay calm, answer truthfully, and avoid overthinking or searching for the perfect answer. Odds are these questions won’t bar you from an opportunity, so have a bit of fun while providing your answer. With that, be sure to keep your responses appropriate for a professional environment.
Although it is difficult to prepare for unconventional questions, here are a few tips that may help to formulate your response:
- Think about the position. If you’re applying to a position that is analytical in nature and you’re asked who your favorite superhero is, provide a hero that makes plans tactfully instead of emotionally or spontaneously.
- Take some time. Don’t be afraid to ask for a few moments to prepare your response. Hiring managers are aware that you weren’t prepped for this question, so they won’t mind providing the extra time.
- Tell them later. If you’re unable to answer the question, it’s okay, don’t hesitate to respond in your thank you email. In the message, you can say something along the lines of “In our meeting yesterday, you asked (insert question). I found the question quite interesting, and I wanted to provide my response now.”
Although to you these unconventional questions can seem pointless, they provide hiring managers with deeper insight into your personality. These questions are rarely determining factors when hiring a candidate, they only aim to help the employer understand who you are. When answering wacky questions, be truthful and avoid overcomplicating your answer and we’re sure you’ll do great!
For more interview tips, check out our Career Advice Blog.
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