Ah, the quirky interview! We’ve all heard of questions that come out of left field or seem insanely difficult. These questions are designed to catch you off guard, expose weakness, and, in general, keep the interview from being just a pleasant conversation. For some examples you can read a summary of Amazon interview questions at Business Insider.
Here are some strategies for preparing for these types of questions:
1.) Relax: Keeping a calm demeanor or even cracking a smile, shows that you’re not intimidated by a challenge. Don’t be afraid to recognize the absurdity of a question but also be prepared to meet the challenge.
2.) Beware The Trick Question: Some of the Amazon questions are tricks plain and simple. The angle between hands on an analog clock? It depends on the time of day. Don’t call them out on a trick question, but simply state confidently that the question is irrelevant and say why.
3.) Beware of too much nuance: Some question present moral conundrum that pit you against a friend with the best interests of the company in mind. “You’re friend is stealing from the company, what do you do?” Doesn’t it depend on if it’s some pencils or $1.5 million? Don’t try to gain points on these questions. It’s not worth the risk. “Stealing is wrong and I would have to consult with a manager.” Next question.
4.) Do research: Look, you’re never going to know all of the random trivia about the company that may or may not pop up during the interview. But you should know the CEO’s name and how to pronounce it. You should know annual revenues, recent news, and product lines. And if you learn other random facts along the way, you can pepper your replies with them if they don’t show up “on the test”. Either way, you win.
5.) Think of your own: you don’t want to appear too cocky, but coming up with some quirky questions of your own shows you’ve thought about the company. “If I get this job, what is one opportunity I’ll be given to impact the course of the company?” “If I outperform a senior colleuage, how is that reflected in compensation?” It’s important to come up with questions that are quirky and show where your mind is in terms of helping the company grown.
For some extra fun, check out Thomas Edison’s interview questions. Now there’s a tough boss!