6 obscure interview questions and how to answer them professionally

The way that you answer obscure questions could be the difference between receiving a job offer or not. How should you handle them?


There is no doubt that a job interview is a hotbed of stress. The candidate is concerned about highlighting themselves as the best person for the role, while the business wants to ask questions that test the individual and learn about how they can add value to their operations.

However, in some situations, the question line can go from predictable to obscure. Most of the time, IT Recruiters will come out of left-field with these questions and it is up to the individual to respond to them in the best manner.

For candidates, obscure questions can prove a challenge, but most provide key insight to your personality and decision making abilities. As such, it is important to do your best to answer them professionally and honestly.

Here are six obscure questions you might encounter:

1) Who is your favourite movie character?

This is a popular oddball question and was listed in a comprehensive article published by The Guardian. As the question suggests, this example is all about your character and how you perceive yourself.

Are you the reluctant hero who defeats the bad guy in the final scene, the champion who has to win at all costs or a side-kick who follows someone around? As long as you don’t select a villain or a movie that nobody has seen before, you should be able to highlight some of your core values and how you respond to trouble.

2) How would you cure world hunger?

Unless you are planning to work for the United Nations, you are unlikely to ever solve this global problem. However, the way you structure your answer will go a long way to identifying how you problem solve and deal with major issues.

Sure, there are simple answers to this question such as giving money to third-world countries, but if the interviewer asked how this would be done, you need to be able to back up your response with reasons.

In a team situation, leaders are always looking for professionals who can explain their point-of-view and then back it up with tangible evidence.

3) Have you ever stolen a pen from work?

It’s an honesty question, right? Everyone has a moral compass and this question aims to pinpoint it and see whether a candidate is brave enough to admit their mistakes.

Arguably, there is no right answer to this question. If you answer ‘yes’ and suggest it was a mistake or was remorseful, it might work in your favour. Conversely, if you say ‘no’, the recruiters may see you as an honest person perfect for their firm.

4) What song best describes your work ethic?

CNBC report that this question was asked in a consumer sales job interview. This is a great oddball question to receive because as a candidate it can highlight your intentions as a hard worker and also your musical taste.

It is probably best to avoid songs that pertain to partying, drug use or being under pressure. However, this is a creative question so try answer cleverly and show off your wit and humour.

As CNBC mentions, “She Works Hard for the Money” or “I’m a Rolling Stone” might be good responses. Other answers could include “Eye of the Tiger” or “Nine to Five”.

5) How would you rate your memory?

While we would all love a perfect memory, many of us don’t and it is best to honest if you are faced with this question in a job interview. As Marquee Staffing stated, this is a great opportunity to explain the ways that you get around your memory failings and remember vital details.

“Connect your use of this “memory support” to your work by showing how it helped you complete important work,” Marquee Staffing explained.

6) If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?

Everyone is familiar with Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel. Again, there is no wrong answer and you can show off your creativity at the same time. Perhaps you like to interact and communicate with clients and colleagues, then you might be Outlook.

Conversely, if you a visual learner that loves to make maps, diagrams and presentations, PowerPoint might be the right answer.

Regardless of whether you are a Word or an Excel, your explanation can highlight a positive work ethic and what your personality is like.

Preparing for a job interview

In response to its Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions, Glassdoor senior vice president of people Allyson Willoughby explained it is important for candidates to practice questions both obscure and mainstream.

“While job candidates should be prepared to take on challenging and oddball interview questions during the hiring process, they should also be ready for anything, which includes answering common interview questions,” she said.

“For example, many candidates should be ready to answer questions like:  ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, ‘Why do you want to work here?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?'”

With many obscure questions, there is no right answer, but by taking your time and answering with confidence and clarity, it can say a lot about why you are the best person for the job.