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Going to extremes

If someone asks you an 'unconventional' question in an interview, be sure to give an equally bizarre answer.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2012 22:55 IST

Imagine this: You walk into an interview, all geared up to answer some tough questions. But the interviewer stumps you with a silly one (at least, you think so): “If you were a dinosaur, what would you be?” Puzzled, but undeterred, you think about Steven Spielberg and try to remember scenes from Jurassic Park.

After a few anxious minutes, you answer triumphantly: “T-Rex” (that’s the only one you can remember, anyway). And then the unbelievable happens: the interviewer launches into a chicken impression, flapping his arms and clucking out loudly. This is not an apocryphal account, but what in HR terms is called ‘extreme interviewing’. And, apparently, the great Steve Jobs used this technique very often to pick up unconventional candidates for his company.

There are many more of such ‘unconventional’ questions that are up in the air: on a scale of one to 10, how weird are you? Are you exhaling warm air? Or probably if you are trying to enter the (Indian) media industry, the likely questions could be: can you say something that sounds important without saying anything remotely new or important? (Answer: yes, you said it now); Can you speak without a break for at least 30 minutes at a stretch? (Answer: Ask my friends); Which animal is most like you? (Answer: Owl).

But the truth is, we don’t believe in such interviewing. We feel that all this is some HR claptrap. God knows, they can create more ‘spin’ than even the government spin doctors. Our advice would be simple: when you face extreme interviews, be equally extreme. Because the good thing is: there is no one right answer to any of those questions.