The unexpected or unusual question

The unexpected or unusual question is going to show up during an interview. Expecting the unexpected question is the best strategy when going into any interview. Dealing with specific job questions is made easier when you are not caught off guard.

There are five areas where unexpected or unusual questions may come from.

  • Personality or Motivation - examples of this group include why the employer would hire you; what you would improve about yourself; what you would bring to the company that other applicants wouldn't.
  • Education and Training - examples of this group include your educational goals over the next five years; why you chose your college or major; what new experiences or training you learned over the last year.
  • Experience and Skills - examples of this group include why you would stay at this job; what you didn't like about your last boss; what your recent employers would criticize about your work; the most important thing you learned from your last job
  • Career Goals - examples of this group include describing a recent goal you set and achieved for yourself; what you would change in this company to make your ideal workplace; your career goals for the next five years
  • Why You Want This Job - examples of this group include why you want to work for the company; what you know about the company; what you would do to bring business to the company; how long you expect to stay at the company

If you have any unusual or possibly negative issues which may arise during the interview in any of these areas, expect the unexpected and be ready with answers and positive examples of change or reason.

Dealing With Job Specific Questions

Expecting questions dealing with your skills or thinking and the relationship to the job you are applying for is also a good strategy. Employers use these type of questions to test your ability and see if you can actually handle the job. There are three types of questions which fall into this category.

  • Special knowledge or skill - you may be asked about a certain procedure or how certain equipment is used.
  • Questions about unusual items or gaps in resume - you will probably be asked to clarify your reasoning behind certain actions, inaction or missing occurances.
  • Test of reasoning or thinking - these questions are asked to see how you form ideas and clarify your thinking as well as the steps you use to get there.

Provide Examples

When dealing with job related questions, you want to provide examples of what you have done in the past which resulted in positive results. You should do this as often as possible in replacement of simple one word or simple answers. Expecting the unexpected question not only means having a possible answer, but also having a positive example which will sell you and your ability to the employer.

The main reason employers use these type of questions is to see how an applicant thinks 'on their feet', meaning how you would respond to situations or questions which you would not usually come across. Expecting the unexpected question during an interview will not only impress the employer but will also show that you are able and willing to handle the job.