Coaching Clients on Crazy Interview Questions (Core Lesson)

Young woman think with yes or no choice looking up isolated on wRegardless of the position or level your client is targeting, they may come up against a crazy question.

Sometimes these questions can seem total random and off-the-wall like:

“If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?”

While other times, they are more in the form of a puzzle your client is asked to solve:

“If you had a dump truck, how many trips would you have to take to move Mt. Fuji?”

Don’t worry when you read this last example of the puzzle question as its only going to come up in your tech interviews and for other talented types seeking positions at technology firms. Yes, there is a whole process (and several websites and a book) around it which is outlined in depth in CDI’s Certified Employment Interview Consultant program. However, since it’s not ‘standard fare’ for interviews, I’m going to focus on the more common crazy question type in this lesson.

What you need to understand first is that no one just asks a question without a purpose.

It could be something meant to relax the interviewee and make him or her feel comfortable. It could be meant to disarm and make the individual let their guard down and share more than they planned to (the good cop concept).

The good news is that your clients can prepare for any kind of interview question that comes their way.

You can help them do this by coaching, teaching, and preparing them on the 7 root question areas in interviewing. I call these Latin Root Interview Questions. No, they are not derived from Latin. But just like we are taught when we are young that if we learn the Latin root words we will be able to better know the English language (and boost SAT scores), so too can an interviewee become confident in interviewing. When your clients master the 7 root question areas, they will possess the agility to respond to a wide variety of questions since almost all spring from these core segments.

The seven root question areas include:

  1. Enthusiasm Level: Contributor / Producer. You are self-confident and have a commitment to the company’s success.
  2. Self-Direction: Planner / Organizer. You are self-motivated and can direct your own work.
  3. Problem Solving: Critical Thinker / Analyzer. You can think outside the box, apply critical thinking and solve problems.
  4. Communication Skills: Speaking / Persuading / Introducing. You can effectively communicate with customers, staff, management, and other groups in a professional and results-oriented style.
  5. Success-Oriented: Goal-Reacher / Achiever. You have a history of success and believe in producing results, not just doing your job.
  6. Flexibility: Change-Agent / Innovator. You are not afraid or unduly stressed due to change, pressure or challenges.
  7. Responsibility Level: Leader / Dedicator / Professional. This gives an indication of your ability to handle disappointment and deal with situations in a mature manner.

The crazy question in this lesson actually comes from problem solving/critical thinking.


Let’s break it down.

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