As a professional recruiter who has been working recruiting professionals in the environmental, engineering and construction industries for over 18 years now at Webuild Staffing I have seen many extremely qualified candidates in an interview situation get caught off guard with surprise or unexpected questions.
Surprise! Whether it’s a single question or the entire interview, it’s almost guaranteed to stop you in your tracks! Unfortunately for those in the interview process this is becoming a trend and many more interviewers are utilizing this technique. Sometimes the questions are more thought provoking but simple, “when can you start” or “what would you ask if you were me?” Many large companies are known for their weird or offbeat questions like “how many cows are in Canada”, “rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 of how weird you are”, “how many basketballs can you fit into this room”, “if you could be any superhero – who would it be”, and “what would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle”?
A surprise question is meant to throw you off and give you pause for a moment. It not only tests how you handle stress under pressure but is also meant to test your creativity. When presented with this type of questions make sure to keep your calm and remain composed. Take a moment to consider how you want to answer the question and then do so when you have formulated the perfect answer. Just remember this is just a test to see beyond your professional facade and get a glimpse into your personality; there really is no right or wrong answer to these questions..
The entire interview a surprise? More and more employers these days tend to be calling potential employees and springing a surprise interview on them. While they are growing in popularity they are bad business for both interviewer and interviewee. The interviewee is ill prepared, unfocused on the interview, and possibly not even somewhere that they can easily handle their end of the interview. The employer is definitely not going to get a realistic picture of the candidate and the candidate is often afraid to say it’s a bad time to talk for accurate fear of not getting a call back. If possible the best way to take back some control of this process is to simply screen your calls while job searching. This will give you the opportunity to prepare yourself and find a quiet spot to return the call when it’s convenient to your schedule.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing (www.webuildstaffing.com) . To learn more about Michael or Follow his Blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com