Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he gives away the perfect responses to unconventional interview questions employers love to ask

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode:

  • First, Isaiah explains why employers ask standard questions about your background and why they toss in a few zingers for good measure
  • Next, he shares three specific off-the-wall questions employers as that they’re trying to challenge you with
  • And finally, Isaiah gives you examples you can answer with to show employers you are the well-rounded candidate they’re looking for

From This Week’s Show…

Conventional interview questions are asked for a reason – they get information about the job candidate’s background, what skills they have, and why they want to work at that company in that particular position. 

But many employers also love to ask off-the-wall questions just to see how you react and how you carry yourself in uncertain scenarios. 

These types of questions help employers assess how you think and act under pressure, as well as what your true personality and professional behavior looks like. 

Be Prepared For These 3 Unusual Interview Questions That Employers Ask to Throw You Off Guard

The first question seems innocent enough, but your answer is actually a powerful tool that employers use to screen for company fit. 

“What expectations do you have of your employer?” 

Here, employers are looking, specifically to determine if your values and expectations align with the company’s mission and brand. 

If you want to hit this question out of the park, frame your answer using the company’s core values as a foundation. 

You’ll find this information on the company’s About Us page or by reaching out to a current employee on LinkedIn and asking them about the company’s core values. 

This will help you answer the question using language that resonates with hiring managers.

Another uncommon question that employers love to ask because it reveals a lot about a job candidate is this: “Tell me about a time you received critical feedback.” 

I’ll tell you what employers don’t want to hear when they ask this question: they don’t want to hear excuses, rationalizations or negativity. 

They want to see you demonstrate accountability. 

Employers Will Use Your Answers To Unexpected Questions To Guage Your Character, Not Just Your Qualifications

In your answer, address what you learned from the experience you share. 

How did you use the feedback that was received, and what was the outcome? 

Try to find an example that demonstrates that you listened to the feedback, asked qualifying questions and were able to make the changes that your supervisor wanted to see. 

Third and finally, this question has stumped many PhDs in the past: “Tell me about your favorite failure.

Employers are counting on the language of this question to catch you off guard. They’re counting on you not having an answer prepared. 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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