Here is something to remember about interview questions: most hiring managers lack training on how to interview. Nor trained on the best interview questions to ask during an interview. Or even how to set up a job description that defines the work done in the job to build interview questions.
If they are lucky, hiring managers received training on questions that are illegal to ask. If they are lucky.
For many, we are better at answering interview questions than managers are asking them. Think about it. A person has to interview many different people in many different companies to get a job. Plus they have to interview one or more people before ever getting to the hiring manager for an interview. And then often have even more interviews with others besides the hiring manager to get hired. Thus, we hear many different types of interview questions that a hiring manager would never think of asking.
The hiring manager has to interview many candidates – but usually asks the same questions. So a candidate thinks some questions coming out of a hiring manager interview are weird – and that should be OK. Hiring managers don’t hire that many people. And in this environment, they are better at telling people about layoffs than they are about hiring someone for a position they have.
Because the hiring manager doesn’t hire that many people, you will often experience an interview that is disjointed, wandering and illogical. It’s not a conversation that a hiring manager often has. The hard part for an experienced candidate is they often fail with a hiring manager who is inexperienced at asking interview questions. The candidate can’t follow the logical progression of the interview – because there isn’t one.
The key here is to look at each question as a separate entity not necessarily connected into a conversation. Every question is a conversation onto itself. Focusing on that quality allows you to stay in the moment.
In many ways, the hiring manager is under the gun more than you are – the manager has to hire someone to work with and help carry out their goals. Screwing up the hire says more about the manager than the candidate hired. By expecting the weird, the illogical and the meandering conversation, you can stay focused on showing the manager why there are only three answers to any interview question.
Showing that you can fit within the manager’s organization and management style – if it matches your own – will give you a significant advantage to other candidates. Other candidates fail from the interview questions asked by an inexperienced interview manager whom the candidate thinks is an expert interviewer.
There are great interviewing managers, of course. But too often we assume – because we need or want the job – the hiring manager is skilled at interviewing. When, in fact, the opposite is true.
What are the weirdest interview questions you’ve been asked?
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.