Tennis balls? The 25 CRAZIEST job-interview questions
More than one in five employees (22 percent) say one of their top resolutions for 2014 is finding a new job, according to a recent survey from job site Glassdoor.com.
The question is — are you ready for the interview? Sure, you expect questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and "Where do you see yourself in five years?" but you've got to be ready for anything.
If someone asked you, "Why are tennis balls fuzzy?" you can't freeze like a deer in headlights.
Glassdoor is out with their annual list of the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions for 2014 based on tens of thousands of interview questions shared by job candidates from the past year. Real people. Real job interviews.
That tennis ball question was actually asked at a job interview for client manager at Xerox.
Some of the other oddball questions that were asked recently include:
- Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? (That was for a job at Dell as an account manager)
- If you were on an island and could only bring three things,what would you bring? (For a job as a search-quality analyst at Yahoo)
- How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year? (Asked at an interview for a programmer analyst at Goldman Sachs)
- If you were a pizza-delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors? (For a job as a specialist at Apple)
- If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why? (For a job as an associate at Bed, Bath & Beyond)
- If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be? (That was for a customer-loyalty job at Zappos)
- How does the Internet work? (For a job as director at Akamai)
- What is the color of money? (For a job as a project manager at the American Heart Association)
- If you could sing one song on "American Idol," what would it be? (For an event coordinator job at Red Frog Events)
(Read more: Show. Me. The Money! How to ask for a raise)
Why on Earth would they care about your opinion on tennis balls or your "American Idol" song choice? (Wait, did they finally recognize your golden talent?!)
"Sometimes, they just want to see your thought process," said Allyson Willoughby, the senior vice president of people (HR) at Glassdoor.
So, does that mean there's no right or wrong answer?
"Probably for the analytic ones, there's a right way to get to the answer," Willoughby said.
(Read more: The 10 most and least stressful jobs for 2014)
So, in the case of how many square feet of pizza are consumed each year, "the employer wants to see something like – 'The average pizza is two-square feet. There are 300 million people in the US, who consume X number of pizzas per year … ' The right answer isn't going to matter — it's how they get there," she said.
And, in the case of the Zappos question (about the parade),"there could be more of a right or wrong answer," she said. They may be looking to see how you fit with their culture and "You could give an answer that doesn't fit."
So, how would Willoughby answer that question?
"I would throw a kazoo parade! Everyone can play one. It doesn't take any talent. It's very portable. And there's nothing depressing about playing the kazoo!" she said.
(You have to admit, she's good.)
The worst thing you can do is act like a deer in headlights. Who wants to hire THAT guy?
"If you have no idea what to say, there's nothing wrong with taking a deep breath. Pausing. Asking a question. Seeking clarification — just to get your brain to spin a littler faster. To get some logical answer out," Willoughby said.
(Read more: And the best companies to work for are ...)
We decided to call in CNBC markets reporter Dominic Chu for an interview — to see if he was up for the job and ready for anything.
Is he more of a hunter or gatherer? What kind of cereal would he be? And what would HIS song on "American Idol" be?
Chu said he's a little bit of both — a hunter and a gatherer — but if you ask his wife, she'd tell you he's also a little bit of a hoarder. But wait, he works it to his advantage, saying, "As the markets reporter, it's good to hoard data and other information!"
So what do you think — did he pass the interview? Click here to watch the video of the interview with Dom. Then, try your hand at some of the questions. Hey, look — you've got to be ready for anything. Do you want this job or not?
So let's get right to it: Why ARE tennis balls fuzzy?
Get the full list of Top 25 oddball interview questions for 2014.