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How to Answer Confusing Interview Questions

How to Answer Puzzling Interview Questions

What's up with kooky questions in unexpected places? From banks asking us about our favorite way to eat ice cream and interviewers asking what type of animal we'd like to be in another life, sometimes we're presented with questions that may feel undeserving of answers. Discriminatory interview questions involving family or religion can obviously be illegal, but did you know that simpler questions may be considered inappropriate, too?

Seemingly random questions can cross boundaries without the interviewer realizing they're being inappropriate. For example, an interviewer asking a candidate if her hair color is natural may pose problems. In a survey of job seekers and hiring managers, 43 percent of job seekers said asking questions unrelated to job skills is one of the most annoying aspects of an interview.

To find out how to deal with puzzling questions, please


What should you do if an interviewer asks you a convoluted question? A human resources consultant gave the Wall Street Journal the following suggestions.

  1. Take a moment and think about the motive behind the question.
  2. Ask clarifying questions in response to try and understand the interviewer's question and avoid giving an equally perplexing answer.
  3. If you know why they're asking the question, you have the option of deflecting it and giving them related information that doesn't directly answer the original question.
  4. You can refuse to answer the question, but that probably wouldn't raise your chances of getting the job.
  5. If an inappropriate question also seems illegal, you can choose to answer it or not. If you opt for the latter, try to cut the awkwardness by clarifying the question.


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