How to Answer the Oddball Interview Question

Have you been asked an oddball interview questions?

“I just did an interview where I was asked whether I drink beer or whiskey, and I was sad to reveal that I’m pounding spring water.” – Brad Delson


I was sitting in an interview and out of the blue the Recruiter asked me how many days would it take me to walk to California if I started a 6AM tomorrow morning. I was actually in another interview question mode…you know…waiting for the ones they usually ask and was caught a little off guard. With quick wit, I answered, “Several”. The recruiter looked at me and gave a soft smile. Right or wrong, I had an answer.


A moment…I was interviewing a candidate for a professional position and I asked, “If there was anything you would like to change about yourself…what would it be?” She said, ” I would like to be about 3-4 inches taller and I would not be sitting here. I would be somewhere else in the world enjoying a modeling career.”


Oddball questions are here to stay. They are reaction provokers and help the recruiter get more inside information about you. When a recruiter asks you an oddball question, they are not necessarily looking for an answer. The recruiter is probing seeking to uncover how you think, the level of your problem solving skills, how quickly you answer and how you react. A recruiter can gain an enormous amount of information about you from an oddball question.


Some say oddball question tactics don’t work and feel recruiters lose great candidates by asking “dumb” questions. I say be prepared. Knowing an oddball question may come your way, it’s best in today’s modern job market to have as many tips as possible in your job-hunting toolbox.


Remember these tips when you are asked an oddball question.


  • Before the interview study a few oddball questions. It’s a great list. It lets you know how far some recruiters will go to get a reaction that let’s then inside of your psyche. The questions on GlassDoor have answers, but you don’t have to use them. Come up with your own response. The oddball question you are asked may not even show up on this list.
  • Process the question quickly. Oddball interview questions normally have no right or wrong answer. The interviewer is looking at how well you think, if you have a quick plan to resolve situations and/or if you squirm in your seat.
  • Keep your answer short. Whenever possible keep your answer short so that you don’t get caught up in a cycle of problem solving that creates new questions.
  • Buy yourself a little time. Don’t “hmmm” or squirm in your seat. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question. This gives you a few more, and only a few more seconds to come up with an answer.

Good luck on your next interview. Remember to be prepared for all types of questions and not just the ones you prepared for. Interviews are unpredictable.


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