The number one question comes from an interview with Zappos: “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office what type of parade would it be?”
Others reflected the company’s core competencies better. “How does the internet work?” asked Akamai, a cloud-service company.
Some tested compassion and empathy levels: “What is your least favorite thing about humanity?” asked ZocDoc.
“How honest are you?” asked Allied Telesis, an IP/Ethernet network provider.
While others asked about relatability, “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” asked Applebee’s.
- How lucky are you and why? (Airbnb)
- If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors? (Apple)
- Do you believe in Big Foot? (Norwegian Cruise Line)
- Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words? (LivingSocial)
- How many snow shovels sold in the US last year? (TASER (yikes))
There’s no definitive way to prepare for questions like these–the whole point is to see if you’re prepared for anything, to test your confidence levels, and see if you’re “capable of an original thought.” Don’t overthink it. Just think freely and clearly: What kind of parade would I want here?
Participants in experiments did a better job of assessing a person’s skill level after listening to responses to conventional questions than they did after hearing answers to puzzle questions. [It is] theorized that because the questions are, by nature, difficult and ambiguous, people listening to the answers were impressed with something that sounded right, whether or not it actually was.
Alternatively, make sure the person you’re interviewing with is someone you’d want to work for–think about their job history. Ask about their employee retention and how long they worked at their previous jobs before becoming a manager or starting their own company. It’ll usually give you a pretty good idea about their propensity for handling stress.
For the most comprehensive advice for landing your next job, here’s our referential hiring guide.