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'Which state would you ditch?' and more odd job interview questions

January 11, 2013|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Target senior merchandiser Lauren Glasenapp welcomes prospective job candidate Daniel Martinez at a Target job fair in Los Angeles this week.
Target senior merchandiser Lauren Glasenapp welcomes prospective job… (Damian Dovarganes / Associated…)

Savvy job applicants know to prep for the common interview questions: What are your strengths? Your five-year plan? The name of our CEO?

So interviewers are starting to throw curveballs, according to jobs website Glassdoor, which compiled 25 of the strangest queries reportedly lobbed at candidates this year.

Being able to answer with more than just a confused look will help set successful applicants apart among  the 20% of currently employed workers who plan to start job-hunting in the next three months, according to the site.

More recruiters and hiring managers are trying new, sometimes extreme tactics to filter through hordes of job seekers. After a mediocre year of job growth, employers in December added 155,000 jobs, keeping the unemployment rate at 7.8% nationwide.

Hence oddball questions such as “How many cows are in Canada?”, which Glassdoor said came from a Google interviewer to a candidate for a data quality evaluator post. MasterCard, according to the list, asked “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper picked a pickled pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?” Other interviewees were asked what kind of dinner they would prepare for guests, what vacation sites they would recommend and how many windows they believed were in New York.

The idea, according to career experts, is for employers to evaluate candidates' thought processes and how they react to unexpected situations, which often crop up in work environments.

There are more oddball questions, but we’ll leave you with our favorite, from Clark Construction Group:

“A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?


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