Specialist recruitment expertise

Quirky questions; how to deal with a tricky interview

Difficult and challenging interview questions are the stuff of legend among jobseekers, including those looking for jobs in the construction industry. Ask most people if they can recount an example that has been asked of them or someone they know and you will be given examples from the bizarre ("How many golfballs does it take to fill a double-decker bus?") to the ridiculous ("If I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for me?").

The logic for employers using this kind of questioning is simple; the answer to a difficult question from left field will give a good indication of how you will cope under pressure, and how good you are at thinking on your feet.

This isn't a new phenomenon; this style of questioning has been prevalent since the 1960s, but how can you counter it?

The answer is the same answer as always - it's about preparation. You can't prepare specific answers to the most random questions but if you walk into an interview confidently, and you can answer the more vanilla questions with conviction, you'll react better to the more difficult ones.

Practicing in advance and having a positive attitude can help you to field these challenging questions with ease, and that calmness under fire will demonstrate that you can handle crises on the job just as easily. Interviewers are looking for a competent, confident candidate who not only wants the job, but also understands its requirements and can quickly hit the ground running. Answering these challenging questions with conviction and poise helps you outshine other applicants, and puts you in a good position to land the job you want.

About the Author: Neil Wilkie is the Group Marketing and Communications Manager for the Fusion People group of companies . You can find out more on Neil's Linkedin or Google+ profile.

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