Leadership

How to answer this quirky job interview question from Warby Parker's Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa

Warby Parker co-founders Neil Blumenthal (L) and Dave Gilboa.
Source: Warby Parker

Warby Parker co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa want to ensure they're hiring people who will "inject fun and quirkiness " into their company. To do so, they ask this question when interviewing candidates: "What was a recent costume you wore?"

According to a 2013 New York Times interview, Blumenthal said this interview question helps select candidates who align with the company's core values of thinking big and having fun.

Candidates' reactions to such a question can be just as telling as the responses they provide, explains TopInterview career advice expert Amanda Augustine.

"You don't necessarily have to love dressing up in costume in order to get a job at the company, but if debilitating shock sets in when asked such a question, your interviewer may assume you take yourself too seriously and will consider it a red flag," Augustine tells CNBC Make It.

After all, this question is about culture fit, a factor that's just as important to navigating a new job or company as experience and background. "If we hire the most technically skilled person in the world whose work style doesn't fit here, they won't be successful," Gilboa told Quartz in 2013.

Though you can prepare for quirky questions by learning about the company culture and core values, Augustine says to avoid a canned response.

"You can't — and shouldn't — rehearse a response to such a question. An interviewer who asks something like this is interested in seeing how you respond to a question that appears to come out of left field," says Augustine. "They want to observe your knee-jerk reaction. A rehearsed response will come off as disingenuous and off-putting."

Augustine says to answer these kinds of personality questions as honestly as possible. If you don't have a recent example, continue the conversation by recalling your favorite Halloween costume as a kid or discussing a time you helped someone else make a costume. This will give your interviewer a sense of what it's like working and interacting with you on a regular basis.

"The idea is to find a way to let your personality shine," says Augustine.

Whatever happens, don't stress over your response and remember that interviews are two-way streets. Quirky questions like these can help you determine if the company is a fit for you, too.

"If you don't provide the type of answer the company is seeking, then you're unlikely to be a great cultural fit and wouldn't enjoy working there in the long run."

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Warby Parker co-founders Neil Blumenthal (L) and Dave Gilboa.
Source: Warby Parker
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