It’s not surprising why many people would want to look for opportunities in the field of remote work. Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work revealed that employees see the flexible schedule and location independence as some of the biggest benefits of the setup. With COVID-19 still making waves across the globe, health safety has been added to the list of advantages that working from home can give. A recent survey conducted by MIT economists found that over a third of the workforce in the US had switched to remote work.
With businesses moving their operations to the work-from-home environment, more and more opportunities open for those who are interested in venturing into this field. Now, if you’re looking for a remote job, you need to prep for the interview. While remote job interviews are not too different from conventional ones, the atmosphere may be a bit more relaxed. Anyway, you must put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes and ask yourself,
“What are the questions to ask remote candidates during the interview?”
Don’t get caught off guard when the recruiter suddenly throws in a hilariously unusual question! They’re either trying to gauge your composure and communication skills or simply lightening things up. Here are some of the funniest questions you may encounter in a remote job interview.
1# “What do you think of garden gnomes?”
Ever since Trader Joe’s threw this interview question on Glassdoor, people have been flooding the comments section with creative answers. It may seem like a useless and outright ridiculous question, but it effectively gives someone a glimpse of your personality. Trader Joe’s has been known to promote a positive work culture, with employees reportedly staying with the company for several years minimum. So, it’s only fitting to hire people who have the personality to thrive in such an environment.
Of course, Trader Joe’s won’t offer work-from-home cashier or managerial positions. However, this question can still be a good training tool when you’re preparing for a remote job interview. It will teach you how to react creatively and use your quick wit when faced with unusual circumstances. There’s no wrong or right answer to this question. The key is to come up with something that reflects your personality.
2# “What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?”
This is another question from a Trader Joe’s job interview. We just love Trader Joe’s so much! Well, who doesn’t? Anyway, this interview question gauges whether you take things too seriously. Some people may get too analytical with their answer and take the fun out of the experience. Don’t dwell too much on the logic of how the penguin ended up in the freezer or what you’ll do with the animal. Instead, try to get the juice out of the lemons.
While browsing through the answers, we found a few interesting and fun suggestions. For instance, one user mentioned that they wouldn’t be surprised to find a penguin in the freezer if they were living in the Arctic. They’d probably throw a party and invite their friends over. On the other hand, you might want to follow the steps of the Japanese couple who helped a penguin adapt to the urban lifestyle. The penguin goes to the market to shop for fish!
3# “Why are manholes round?”
You might be tempted to answer, “What do I care for manholes?” However, this may be one of the remote job interview questions one needs to answer with quick yet careful thought. While it helps a candidate loosen up, recruiters commonly use this question to gauge a person’s level of intellect. It’s tempting to come up with an answer that has a double meaning, such as this one:
“They’re made that way because men fit comfortably in round holes.”
However, you might easily regret your decision because there’s no way you can follow that up professionally. While it’s fine to think out of the box, this may not be the kind of risk you’d want to take. Instead, come up with a thoughtful answer that will illustrate your problem-solving skills. Express that you understand how certain solutions are necessary and logical.
4# “How would you solve problems if you were on Mars?”
This usually comes up on the list of interview questions to ask remote workers when recruiters want to gauge a candidate’s ability to find unconventional solutions to problems. Indeed, it’s unlikely for the general public to end up living on Mars. Most of us won’t even think of being in this situation. However, have you seen Ridley Scott’s The Martian? Apparently, a lot of people are willing to spend millions of dollars to explore the Red Planet. The movie even earned five times its initial budget. So, it’s a topic that can be interesting to discuss.
If you encounter this question, give it a lighthearted laugh and acknowledge how unusual it is. However, remember to show your ability to be analytic and thoughtful when making decisions. For instance, you can explain how you will conduct some research before offering solutions specifically fit for the unique conditions on Mars. You can even go as far as explaining how you’ll develop a routine or manage tasks on a different planet. Perhaps, you can flex your organizing muscles by saying that you’ll use a time tracker like Traqq to ensure that you’re right on schedule with your work.
5# “Someone gifted you an elephant, and you cannot sell it or give it away. What would you do with it?”
Again, this is the type of funny interview question that doesn’t have the right or wrong answer. It simply gives the recruiter a sense of your reasoning abilities. If you’re asked this question, the interviewer probably wants to know how you prioritize tasks, study issues, and solve problems. Of course, it also loosens things up, enabling you to show your authentic side.
A creative way to answer this would be to assess the situation and find a fun way to answer it. For instance, you can tell the interviewer that you don’t have enough space in your apartment to care for an elephant. So, you’d likely send the pachyderm for an “extended” vacation to Nairobi or Chiang Mai. You can close the answer with a witty remark:
“Of course, as the baby’s momma/daddy, I’d promise child support.”
Why Recruiters May Ask Funny Questions in Remote Job Interviews
You may laugh at these funny interview questions, but let’s be honest: in your mind, you’re probably thinking how ridiculous they are. However, if you want to secure one of the best remote jobs, you need to stay on your toes and get ready to answer bizarre questions. In most cases, when recruiters ask these strange questions, they are not interested in the answer itself.
So, why do interviewers ask these questions? Well, there are several reasons for them to do so. For instance, they might want to throw you out of your comfort zone to see how you react under pressure. Also, it’s likely that employers are trying to gauge how you approach unexpected and new issues.
How to Approach Unusual Job Interview Questions
Generally, even if interview questions have a humorous tone, they are intended to bring out your personality, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Here are some tips we recommend:
Personality Assessment Questions – The key to answering questions like these is to stay calm. You don’t have to think about what the interviewer wants to hear. This is the ideal situation where you can trust your gut. These are the questions where it’s perfectly acceptable to make the interviewer laugh. Don’t hesitate to buy some time. Pause for a few seconds to think about your answer, especially if the question caught you off guard.
Questions for Assessing Problem-Solving Skills – If a question requires a highly analytical answer, don’t beat yourself up too much for not coming up with one. In most cases, the interviewer is more interested in how you’ll approach the problem rather than the actual answer itself. When you encounter this type of question, we suggest that you think out loud. Talk about the scenario and break the problems into smaller parts. You may end up with a wildly wrong answer, but at least, you’re showing that you can work through an issue.
Creativity Assessment Questions – Usually, these questions also require you to flex your problem-solving muscles. The only difference is you need to think outside the box. You don’t necessarily have to provide a viable idea. What’s important is you showcase how you can take an unconventional approach to solving issues.
When encountering funny or bizarre interview questions, it’s important that you stay calm and collected. Let your personality shine through, but make sure that you keep a balance between professionalism and fun.