Answering the Offbeat Interview Questions

Barbara Walters once asked Katherine Hepburn, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”

Suddenly everyone was asking the question.

To be fair, Hepburn brought it up, when she said, “Oh, sometimes I think I’m just an old tree,” and so Walters asked the infamous question.

I was asked that question during a job interview.  I answered and even explained my answer.

And that’s the point of such questions. The interviewer is trying to gain some insight into the person. These questions provide the interviewee with an opportunity to show a different side of his personality.

Yet according to a June 15 Forbes.com article, many candidates are unprepared when they they’re asked such questions.

When I worked as the chief spokesperson for a police department, I always gave my candidates five index cards, each with a word written on it. They were told to select one and consider the word for about 15-seconds. They then had one minute to talk about that word.

The words, of course, were inane. There was toenail and teacup and any other word that came to mind just before the interview.

The point was to see how quickly the person could think on their feet. Some simply made “hmm” noises and didn’t say much of anything. Others managed to form a quick summary and clearly present it.

Guess which candidate I hired?

Are you ready for the offbeat questions?

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