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When an Interviewer Asks a Ridiculously Tough (or just ridiculous) Question

When an Interview Asks a Ridiculously Tough (or just ridiculous) Question

Clients and recruiters alike have an ability to completely derail a perfectly good job interview by asking a question that totally stumps you. Sometimes it’s a valid question that you hadn’t expected and other times they throw a curveball by asking about a topic completely irrelevant and senseless to the job interview. Even if you are judging them and questioning their intelligence at this point, the situation remains the same — this person is the gatekeeper to your next gig and you need to provide a smart, professional answer.

Natala Pratini wrote an article for Hired a few months ago that provides a helpful roadmap for getting through difficult interview questions. Next time you prepare for an interview with a recruiter or client, rather than try to imagine all possible questions an interviewer might ask, consider these 5 points from Pratini to create a broad strategy:

  1. Take Your Time and Ask Questions: If you already think this response is going to be the death of your interview, spewing out the first thing that comes to mind is not going to make things any better. Think about the question asked to truly understand what the interviewer wants to learn about and start crafting the right response in your head. If the question still is not clear (or makes no sense at all), ask questions for clarification. This will also buy time and demonstrate that you care about providing the best answer.
  2. Walk Your Interviewer Through Your Thinking: Especially if you’re uncertain that your response is answering the question being asked, giving the interviewer insight into how you came to your response will buy you credit. It also provides insight to your problem-solving approach which might be exactly what they want to see.
  3. Practice Humility (judiciously): Know when you’re in over your head. If your answer is going to be nothing more than jargon-filled non-sense that provides no value, then stop yourself right there and admit that you do not have a great answer. Take that opportunity to create a larger discussion about the question, how it relates to the project at-hand, and how you can still provide the best solution or improve your skills.
  4. Remember, It’s Called an Interview ‘Process’ for a Reason: Unless the question was about the core skills required to take on the contract for which you’re interviewing, one poorly answered question will not be your demise. Accept that one portion did not go well and move forward with the interview. Stewing on one terrible response is certain to mess up all other answers.
  5. Use It as a Learning Experience: Everything in life is an opportunity to learn. When you reflect on the interview afterwards, ask yourself if you were truly as prepared as you could have been for this interview and how you could have approached it differently. You should also write down the tricky question so you’re better prepared next time.

Independent contractors go through so many interviews throughout their career, it’s only normal to have acquired a handful of nightmare stories along the way. How have you come out on the other end of a tough question? We’d love to read your experiences in the comments below.

These Brainteasers are Fun (except when they’re asked in a job interview)

Not long ago, Silicon Valley companies were notorious for asking ridiculous and strange job interview questions that they said tested an applicant’s critical thinking abilities. While some technology companies and IT recruiters continue to keep this in their mix, Google and many other leaders have toned it down a bit. Certainly, job interviews at Google remain challenging and nerve-racking; however, there are some questions that proved to be so complicated and unhelpful, that Google stopped asking them.

Check out this video from Tech Insider which reveals a few Google job interview questions (and their answers) that have since moved into the archives.  The challenge is fun but could you survive the pressure of a job interview that included these?

Interview Questions for QA Engineers and Software Geeks

Interview Questions for QA Engineers and Software GeeksPreparation is key, especially for interviews with recruiters and clients. The more prepared you are before going into a meeting, the more likely you are to provide detailed answers that highlight your experience. Without it, there’s a good chance you will stutter, forget vital details and fail to appear as the true, smart IT expert that you know you are.

Some would argue that completely preparing for an interview is impossible because you will never know what kind of curveballs the interviewer will throw at you. While it’s true, you can be guaranteed a surprise or two, there are some surprises you can avoid by doing a bit of research. The good news is, if you’re a QA Engineer or some other software geek, we may have done the research for you.

This web page from TechBearmers lists links to a variety of interview questions for all sorts of technologies. If you’re preparing for an interview and looking for questions about Python, Linux, QA, AngularJS, JavaScript, PHP or others, the we highly recommend checking it out today.

Are you looking for common interview questions for a technology not listed here? Let us know and we’ll work to put something together in a future post.