Article: Quirky questions leaders ask in interviews


Quirky questions leaders ask in interviews

Sometimes, leaders actually ask you questions which might seem a little off-track yet those are the ones that decide if you will get hired or not.
Quirky questions leaders ask in interviews

Even a confident person fumbles in the interviews. According to a study by, more than 50% candidates fumble during job interviews and cannot answer the most elementary questions. The research was done on more than 500 employers across various industries, and 52% respondents said that the question on which most candidates falter is when they try to explain their current job responsibilities. 

But sometimes, leaders actually ask you questions which might seem a little off-track yet those are the ones that decide if you will get hired or not. 

We asked a few business leaders about this, and this is what they have to share: 

Jennifer Rodrigues

Jennifer Rodrigues, VP (Human Resources),

How do your friends describe you? 

Assessed on: If he/she speaks only nice about himself, then you can probe further by asking don't you ever have any disagreements with friends? Basically to know the person's strengths and weakness from third person point of view

What would you say to your boss if he/she is crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks? 

Assessed on: To assess convincing skills of the candidate and to see if he/she has ever come across any such situations and how did they tackle it 

Tell me about the most boring job you have ever had? 

Assessed on: To assess what the candidate dislikes doing , what his/her interest is in


Lavita Nathani

Lavita Nathani: Director - HR, Endurance International Group

Explain an elephant to a 3 year old.

Assessed on: This typically assesses a person's communication skills and the ability to simplify things to a customer that has no knowledge of the product.

I am a founder of a startup, have just moved to a new office and we have already got all the furnishing done.  We have all young people and no one is disabled. Sell me a wheelchair

Assessed on: This tests effective selling skills and helping a client understand the potential need for a product. 


Chetna Gogoi

Chetna Gogoi, Director HR, PayU India.

What was the most challenging situation you have ever got into (in your current/last profile) where all odds seemed to be against you? How did you approach this situation and reach a desirable resolution?

Assessed on: This response can reflect a lot about the person's thought process, approach towards challenges & pressure as well as give an indication about the person's EQ and resilience. This can reflect the person's management style (if it is a managerial position/candidate) and what kind of leader he/she might prove to be, in the long run. Considering one handles challenging & tough situations at work almost on a daily basis, this also determines a lot about person's sustainability with the company as well as how fit the person is culturally, with respect to the organization.

While one question may not be able to conclusively determine the suitability of a candidate for a position, a situational question like above can help identify some very critical aspects about the candidate.


Jaimit Doshi

Jaimit Doshi, Sales and Marketing Head, 

If we got all your previous supervisors in one room, what would they say? What would be the one lie that they all say?

Assessed on: Presence of mind and his/her reaction to unpredictable circumstances. 

His/her opinion of people that are no longer affecting his career or life in an active way, to show the strength of character, and his perception of his/her own strengths, weaknesses and awareness about self.

Who is your favourite Star Wars character? If you were to choose, who would you be as a Star Wars character? What advice could that character give you for this job? If the candidate is not a star wars fan, then a fan of any of the following TV shows: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Modern Family, MasterChef

Assessed on: Candidates love for Starwars, and/or popular culture, and/or MasterChef, something that we are all crazy about. He/She won't fit in and will be overwhelmed by the crazy fans of these shows/movie in


Sandeep Ghule

Sandeep Ghule, CFO & Head HR @Udio

If you got hired, loved everything about this job and were paid the salary that you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would make you consider?

Assessed on: On the face of it, the question appears like an off-hand, conversational query. However, the answer to it usually gives us a lot of insight into what motivates and drives our interviewees. Does the idea of a massive salary increment excite them, or are they looking to work with a bigger brand? Is a better work-life balance their priority, or are they looking for greater opportunities and challenges to hone their professional skills? This is particularly helpful in determining the prospective stability for technology candidates, who are traditionally the professional demographic with highest attrition rates. The answer to this question gives us an idea of the expectations prospective hires have from their employer, and whether they will be mentally suited for the profile that they are being hired for. In a subtle way, it also gives a hint of how much value is accorded by an employee to his/her professional commitments.


Sanjeev Agrawal

Sanjeev Agrawal, VP – Operations & Human Empowerment Group, Impetus Infotech (India) Pvt. Ltd.

What would you like to change about your current organization if you were given the complete freedom and empowerment to do so?

Assessed on: This questions helps judge the intrinsic value system and character of the candidate. There will be candidates who would approach in a constructive way, while there will be many others who will simply talk about negative things and how to improve it. There are people who can never be fully engaged with any organization and this questions helps filter out those, irrespective of their skill and competency levels.



Ajay Nair, Chief Administration Officer (CAO),

Tell me ten uses of a Comb in 20 seconds.

Since I don’t have any questions for you, why don’t you speak on any topic of your interest?

Assessed on: Creativity and ability to adjust to an un-nerving situation. Comfort around mingling with people, depth of knowledge, overall communication, and opinions on situations/topics. 

So, if you have faced these kind of out-of-the-blue questions in your interview, do share it with us.

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Topics: Watercooler, Assessments, Recruitment

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