“What an odd question”, your mind responds in puzzlement. These questions, termed curveball questions, are a type of questions employers may ask unexpectedly during an interview. While they may catch you off-guard, it is usually an opportunity for you to loosen up, stand out from other applicants and impress your interviewers.
A good way to handle curveball questions would be to focus on your approach to the question rather than your actual answer.
The question may stump you, but try not to get flustered. Appear calm and confident to your interviewer even if you do not necessarily feel that way. Take a deep breath and maintain eye contact with your interviewer as you prepare and deliver your response.
Your interviewer is not expecting an immediate answer at your forefront of your mind or at the tip of your fingers. Take your time to process and consider the nature of the peculiar question before responding. A few moments give you time to craft the direction of your response.
Reason Out Loud
A good way to respond would be to verbalise your thought processes, even if you do struggle to reach an affirmative answer. This is often what the interviewer is looking for in reality. If you are completely confused by the question, ask some clarifying questions to follow up. This helps to not only provide you with the clarity you need but also buy you more time to formulate a suitable response. The main reason interviewers enjoy asking these bizarre questions is because they want to assess your creativity, your ability to think logically and processing different sides of a question on your feet. So while it may seem daunting to be unexpectedly asked what type of tree you would be, you should remember that these types of questions have typically no right answers. So focus on the structure of your thought process rather than your answer.
Think About the Role
A good thing to keep in mind is that interview questions function to determine your suitability for the job. If you are able to think of a response that highlights a particular skill or quality that qualifies you for the role, you would have a leg up in the interview. For example, if the interviewer asks what would the name of your debut album be, you could say “electric blue, because I am both energetic and calm under pressure.” Ultimately, it is important to remain calm and confident when you take the interviewer through the steps to your derived answer. After all, your thought process matters more than your final answer. A reasonable rationale and attempt at a logical answer will show your willingness to have fun with the unusual question, which will be appreciated by the interviewer.