Skip to Main Content
by Rob Porter | February 23, 2024


Welcome back to our series on unusual interview questions. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can at the link. These questions are somewhat rare, and you may never encounter them in a real-world setting; however, they’re great for running practice interviews because they force you to think outside the box. Now, without further ado, here are five more strange, puzzling, and unique interview questions.

“What is something not on your resume that differentiates you and makes you the best fit for the job?”

This question is designed to catch you off guard, as it forces you to discuss aspects of your personality and experience that aren’t included on your resume. Here, the interviewer is looking for unique qualities that set you apart from other candidates, such as your values, goals, or any additional skills that are relevant to the role at hand.

When preparing for an interview, go back and review the job listing, the company’s website, and if possible, the social media profiles of the leadership team. Do your goals and values align with the company’s? Perhaps you’ve got some skills that aren’t listed in the job description, but that would be of significant relevance to the role you’re interviewing for. In any case, the key here is to leverage any unique skills or characteristics that might be of great value to the company you’re applying to.

“Please describe a task, project, or effort where you had to make a particularly difficult decision. What was your role and what made it difficult? What did you learn?”

The ability to take charge and make decisions, especially under stressful circumstances, is extremely valuable to potential employers. The interviewer may ask you to describe a challenging scenario in which you were the decision-maker so they can determine how well you understand your role, how you approach and solve problems, and what you’ve learned from past experiences.

The best way to answer this type of question is to implement the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Using this method, you can describe the specific situation, the challenge, your role in overcoming it, and what you took away from the experience. Familiarize yourself with speaking about any past situations you may have before your interview. If you get tripped up, take a breath, organize your thoughts with the STAR method, and speak slowly and clearly. The worst thing you can do is rush and stumble through your answer to a question like this.

"Tell me about a time when your work was criticized. How did you respond?"

Over the course of your career, it’s important to learn how to take criticism. For instance, constructive criticism is intended to provide feedback that can be used to make improvements in a certain area. When the interviewer asks you to describe a situation where your work received criticism, they’re attempting to measure your level of self-awareness, as well as your problem-solving skills.

Being able to handle criticism is extremely important to your professional development. When you’re able to reflect on yourself and your work, and acknowledge that there’s room for improvement, it demonstrates emotional maturity and intelligence. To answer this question, choose an example where you understood the reasoning behind the constructive criticism, and explain how the feedback helped you grow as a professional.

“If you could choose any fictional character to be your mentor, who would it be?”

The purpose of this question is to test your creativity and communication skills, while also gaining insight into your values, goals, and which leadership qualities inspire you. An interviewer may also be able to tell whether you’re a good fit for the company’s workplace culture depending on your answer, so it should go without saying that you wouldn’t want to respond with “Emperor Palpatine” or “Cobra Commander.”

When answering a question like this, choose from characters who are empathetic and who have a strong moral compass. A great example of this is Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, as the character embodies integrity and compassion. That being said, you could choose a character from almost any form of media; just make sure their values align with your own and be prepared to discuss the reasons why you made your choice.

“If you could go back in time to any point in history and bring anything you want with you, where would you go and why?"

An interviewer may use a question like this as an icebreaker, or to ease the tension in the room. With such an open-ended question, the interviewer will also be able to learn more about your personality, as well as your ability to think creatively, and how well you communicate ideas. There is no “wrong or right” answer here, but you can use the opportunity to showcase your interests and values.

An example answer to this question might be: “I would go back to the space race of the late 1960s, and I would bring a modern laptop loaded with information on engineering, technology, and space exploration. I am driven to contribute to the advancement and success of those around me, and it would be interesting to see what the scientists of that era would do with modern tech and information.” Here, the speaker reveals a bit about their interests, as well as their motivations and willingness to collaborate with others.

When preparing for a job interview, you want to be ready for anything. Depending on the company, the interviewer might ask questions that are designed to confuse you or throw you off guard, and if you’re prepared, you’ll have an opportunity to impress them with your knowledge, creativity, and problem-solving skills. You may also be surprised at what you learn about yourself when coming up with answers to these types of interview questions.