If You Were A Crayon - And Other Unexpected Interview Questions

If You Were A Crayon - And Other Unexpected Interview Questions

© arinahabich #69505906 Adobe Stock

© arinahabich #69505906 Adobe Stock

By Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - http://stephaniecavanaugh.com

So you’ve finally landed an interview at an amazing company and you really want this job. You’ve prepared your answers for all the typical interview questions. You’ve researched the company in depth and even found some recent news articles about partnerships they’ve recently announced. Your suit is fresh from the dry cleaner and you’ve printed several extra copies of your resume. You’ve also mapped three ways to drive there in the event that traffic becomes an issue. All set. 

The interview day arrives and so do you. You’re feeling confident with just a dash of nervousness and you're ready to impress and show them that you are the answer to their needs. You sit down in the conference room at a large table and look out the enormous window at the amazing city view. In walks the hiring manager. You enthusiastically shake hands and introduce yourself. The interview begins …

The hiring manager looks at you, straight face without any hint of transparency, “So tell me, if you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?” Wait … what?! What kind of question is that? I’ve not prepared for anything like that. You’re taken off guard and you feel a slight sweat beginning to form on your brow.

Having sat on both sides of the interviewing table, I know how these unexpected questions can take you by surprise and also how your reaction reflects on you in the eyes of the hiring manager. So to start, let’s discuss why these kinds of questions are asked at all. After all, they have nothing to do with the position or the company, right? Wrong. These kinds of questions are actually quite common in interviews for a few reasons. They may be questions like the above example, or perhaps, replace what color, with what kitchen appliance or what animal, etc. I’ve also heard the question, “If you were a bumper sticker, what would you say?” The point is, that these questions are meant to take you by surprise and be something you hadn’t anticipated being asked. The other thing to point out, is that there is not a particular right or wrong answer, however, there is a right and wrong reaction. So here are reasons they’re asked in the first place:

  1. It is a way to gauge how you react to stress, pressure or being unprepared. Do you act flustered and panic? Or, do you handle it with a calm and cool attitude?
  2. Your answer gives a window into your personality and likely what you see as some of your strengths.
  3. It helps the hiring manager see how you might or might not, fit in with the company culture. 

When going into an interview, always anticipate there being a surprise question and try to “prepare to be unprepared”. If you can face this with perhaps some humor and a relaxed reaction, you’ll tackle it just fine!

So you may be thinking, “How is this question answered?” It is different for everyone. When I was once asked, what crayon color I would be, my answer was, “I would be aquamarine, because the blue side of the color is calm and the green side has a strength to it.


About the Author:

Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - Hi, I'm Stephanie ... pleasure to become virtually acquainted. Please note the views and opinions communicated here are my own and not representative of any particular group or organization.

Interests, ever-evolving:  Photography, painting, art, science, medicine, astronomy, yoga, travel, the world, culture, language, education, women's rights, human rights, making the world a kinder, more beautiful place.


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