Smart Answers to Stupid Interview Questions

I got a lot of good feedback on my previous postings on bad interview questions so I decided to add another one.  So, for your reading and interview pleasure here are some more that you could possibly encounter:

Question: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and could only bring one thing with you, what would it be?

Bad Answer: I don’t know about you – but I would bring a plane! What kind of ridiculous question is that anyway?

Requesting a Lear Jet probably won’t curry you any favor; but do you care? Do you want to work for someone that thinks this question has any relation to whether you can do a good job? Really, you need to consider what the interviewer is trying to understand about you as a person from this question. You could:

Good answer Option 1: Provide a tongue in check response. Depending on your audience, you might get a chuckle. “Well, I really can’t live without my pillow, so that would be my selection.” At least you would have something soft to put your head on at night during your slumber under the stars.

Good answer Option 2: Provide a realistic response – perhaps something related to tools or a communication device to facilitate your ability to contact someone as part of a rescue plan. Since the question is so far from any realistic situation, you can be a bit more imaginative in your response.

This question enables the interviewer to understand how you think. Really, there is no right or wrong answer here – except of course if you turn it more into a joke, which could backfire if you are not careful (See A.)

Question: How would your boss or peers describe you – or what would they say about you?

Bad Answer: “Naturally they would say that I am a hopelessly lazy oaf – completely devoid of common sense. In fact, they would say that my idea of business communication is a grunt and a wave.” Again, I ask you, what kind of stupid question is this? What does the interviewer really think you are going to say? This is how you could answer:

Good Answer: I am routinely asked to take on challenging projects due to my ability to quickly identify and assemble resources and meet project deliverables in a timely fashion. I enjoy working as part of a team, which fosters commitment by the group.

Question: Do you consider yourself to be a team player and an effective manager?

Bad Answer: “No, in fact, I cannot manage my way out of a paper bag. I can only lead you down the road of bad intentions. I cannot work as part of a team; I will not eat green eggs and ham, Sam I Am.” I don’t blame you for wanting to answer such a lame question in this way. In all my years in a human resource and recruitment capacity, I never would have even thought to ask anyone this question.

Good Answer: Yes, I am committed to working as part of a team. To that end, I pursue opportunities to help my co-workers; together we consistently meet or exceed project expectations.

Obviously I do not think questions like these are valuable as part of the interview process; yet, they are asked all of the time! It is better to be prepared to answer in a positive manner – despite the vitriolic response you would really like to share. Ultimately, each interview is a learning experience for you. Try to take something positive and interesting from the interview to ultimately identify the right fit.