How would you sell sand in a desert?
Nowadays it’s not enough for candidates to just give exceptional answers to the standard competency questions. Interviewers are going beyond the norm to test candidates and see how well they perform under pressure to deliver unique, creative answers that will land them their dream role. Although there may not be right or wrong answers per se, the interviewers can tell a lot about you by the answers you give.
To help prepare for an interview, we asked our Sales Managers across Europe and Australia what questions they and their clients ask candidates. We hope they help you prepare for future interviews.
The main objective for our European offices is to ask questions the candidates don’t expect, to show some spontaneity. The questions are designed to test a variety of skills such as creativity and general knowledge and if they are capable of thinking logically about questions that are intended to throw them off.
Here are the top questions:
- How would you sell hot cocoa in Dubai?
The objective of this question is to see how creative a candidate is.
- If you were the CEO of a company, what are the first three things you would check about the business when you wake up?
To find out if they have leadership skills and a sound business acumen.
- If I gave you €100,000 to start a business, what would you do first?
To find out if they have good business acumen and entrepreneurial traits, and to test their ability to think on their feet.
How would you weigh an elephant without a scale?
This question is designed to test their creativity skills and see if they have a sense of humour.
- Name three Nobel Prize winners?
To test general knowledge is and their interest in global current affairs, and to see how they respond if they have no idea.
Our top question from our Zurich office is:
- Why would you not hire yourself?
This question can easily throw the candidate off but what we’re looking for is how well they can think on their feet to turn a weakness into a strength.
Interviewers want to get a sense of your personality and cultural fit with a business, so often they will include questions to similar to these:
- Tell me about your biggest failure?
- Who is your biggest hero and why?
- What is the main reason you get up every morning?
- Which Game of thrones character would you want to see on the throne?
Our Australian team’s favourite question to ask is:
- What super power would you have and why?
To test a candidate's sense of humour and ability to come up with a quirky answer to a quirky question. Often, clients – as well as ourselves – need to know whether a candidate will fit within our positive and fun business environment.
Interviews can be stressful and difficult, and having a question like this thrown your way can put you off your stride. Our tip is to try not to get flustered when you’ve been asked a question similar to these that are designed to trip you up. Of course, the interviewer knows you won’t have the questions ready at hand, so take some time to think about what they are really asking you and how you can answer these questions the most creatively.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer; the interviewer is looking for your ability to think on your feet and think outside the box, as well as to try and understand the type of person you are. The way you answer the question is the most important, and remaining positive and taking your time are key steps for landing you that role.