Most interviews follow a set routine of expected questions but every now and again, employers will throw in so-called ‘wild card’ questions to gauge personality

Everyone knows that an interview will consist of the ‘standard’ questions – strengths, weaknesses, achievements, why you’re leaving your current job, why you want this job, and so on. These questions are all but guaranteed to arise, and all candidates know to prepare for them accordingly. Every now and then, though, a recruiter will throw a curve ball or a ‘wild card’ question that deviates from the norm and has you thinking on your feet – which is their main purpose. We’ve collected a few of them and provided the answers you should respond with.

Question 1: What would do if you won the lottery?

Answer: “I am driven by work, so I would keep my job and use the money philanthropically. Depending on the size of my winnings, I would give a sizeable chunk to multiple charities, help my friends and family, and put the rest into savings, after buying a few treats for myself!”

What the recruiter doesn’t want to hear is, “I’d retire so quick my desk chair would still be spinning!” They are checking that you are committed and reliable.

Question 2: If you were a colour, what would you be and why?

Answer: “Blue, because it’s elegant, eye-catching, cheerful and stylish.”

The question is essentially enquiring into your personality, so don’t just say your favourite colour, and certainly don’t say something drab like grey.

Question 3: Sell me this chair.

Answer: “To be more efficient in your job, you need to be comfortable – that means you need a high quality chair that lets you sit at your preferred height, but also gives you full support. A good chair will last you a lifetime and help prevent back pain, even RSI at the appropriate height. Please, come and sit in it, tell me what you think. If you’re not fully satisfied I’ll give you the money back myself.”

This question has become extremely popular for sales jobs, as it forces you to demonstrate your sales skills while thinking on your feet. Your answer needs to reflect the key features of the product, why it will benefit them, put a spin on it if possible, and make the customer feel valued.

Question 4: If you could be a superhero, what would your powers be?

Answer: “I would have the ability of healing touch, and be able to fly. This would allow me to cure sickness and pain, while getting across the globe quickly.”

This question is to understand your personality more; if you answer with “Invisibility so I can do whatever I want and not get caught,” the impression of you will be comparable to an adolescent, which isn’t the ideal one to give an employer.

Question 5: If you could have dinner with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be?

Answer: “I would choose [name of the author of your favourite book], because I was a big fan of their book [say the name of the book].”

The automatic thought process may be someone like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr, but often interviewers expect such a phony profound answer, so keep it more honest. It doesn’t have to be an author (especially if your favourite book is the autobiography of Peter Andre), but picking something that truly appeals to you gives you the ability to talk about it further if asked to, without scrambling to find a good response.

There’s nothing wrong with displaying some humour, and don’t get too bogged down with the question. The purpose of these questions is to get you off the autopilot track of the generic questions and to get to see the real you. The interviewer will not expect rapid-fire answers, so feel free to take a couple of seconds to gather your thoughts and take a deep breath before answering.