News and Insight

Resources, advice and thought leadership from our experts.

Interview Questions You Might Not Expect

Interview Questions you Might not Expect – Courtesy of Amazon, Facebook, and Google

Anyone can Google questions asked in an interview and come up with the most popular responses, such as, what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, why do you want this job, where do you see yourself in five years…you know the drill. All interviewees are well aware of these types of questions and are usually prepared with an answer for each. But what about the ones that are more outside the box, the ones you aren’t necessarily expecting?

Your answer lies here with an inside look from interviewers representing Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Amazon
Since Amazon is essentially taking over the world anyways, it’s only a matter of time until other companies will start to include the following questions in their interview process.

Tell me about a time you worked through a disagreement with a colleague. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?

According to a CEO who hired for Amazon, this question is asked as a way of telling how emotionally intelligent someone is and if they have strong managerial skills. The question brings a pretty common work situation to life and allows the interviewer to visualize how the candidate would react and respond in the workplace.

Name one competitor in our market and what they’re doing better. What can we do to win over their customers?

The answer to this question proves if the interviewee has actually done any homework on this potential employer or not. At Amazon, this question is asked as a way of gauging a candidate’s empathy skills and if they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

When was the last time you downloaded a utility from the Internet to make your work more productive? What was it? Did it help you be better at your job? Why or why not?

Technology is an important part of any workplace and can be found in any industry, so before you think this question wouldn’t apply to you, think again. It’s asked as a way to determine if a candidate’s technology skills are advanced or basic. If someone is applying for a role in the IT department obviously the answer will be different from someone looking to work in sales or marketing. Either way, technology can present itself on different levels for each, and a company like Amazon isn’t going to miss out on determining where a candidate falls on the technology grid.

Facebook
What reaction will you have to these questions… like, love, haha, sad, wow, or angry?

The VP of product design at Facebook says she has one go-to question that she always asks during an interview.

Tell me about a hard situation – something really challenging that you went through in the last year or last two years.

She then follows up the candidate’s response with…

Well if you can go back to the very beginning and change anything about how you went through it, what would you do differently?

This two-part question really pushes the candidate to not only open up about what is challenging to them, but also gives them the opportunity to showcase their evaluation skills. The executive says this question allows her to hear a candidate and how they introspect because it gives her the opportunity to easily tell if this is the kind of person who goes and approaches new opportunities with a grow mindset.

What do you do on your best day at work?

This question is probably an easier one to answer because it essentially lets someone divulge what their work joys are or would be. Facebook’s recruiting director says this question allows the candidate to speak to their strengths and what they like to do. The answer would give the interviewer an idea of where the candidate would excel in the role.

When is it you have lost track of time in the best possible way?

This is another upbeat question focusing on what the candidate enjoys and what makes their day “fly by.” Facebook’s recruiting director mentions this question as one of those where you get to what really motivates somebody and reveals what engages a candidate so much so that they immerse themselves to the point of losing track of time.

Google
As if the world’s most popular search engine didn’t have enough insight on you, get ready for a couple of questions that cut right to the chase.

How did you pay for college?

If I were to look at the web history section of your browser, what would I learn about you that isn’t on your resume?

Google asks both of these questions as a way to catch the candidate off guard… you think? This will avoid the interviewer from getting a rehearsed answer in response and forces the candidate to provide an answer that can only come from a unique perspective. The reason they are so specific is to gauge how well the interviewee listens to, and interprets the questions.

When you are in a crisis, or need to make an important decision, how do you do it?

This scenario-based question is asked to reveal whether the candidate is a “do it yourself if you want it done right” type of person or someone who would be able to delegate and rely on someone else. Your classic individual worker vs. team-based delegator/worker.

You can plan as much as possible for questions you will be asked in an interview, but it really comes down to simply just being yourself. If you honestly thought, If I were to look at the web history section of your browser, what would I learn about you that isn’t on your resume was a question you would see in this blog post, either you’ve interviewed with Google in the past or you’re flat-out lying.

At the end of the day, go out there knowing that preparation is key for any interview, but remember that being genuine is really what any interviewer is looking for… no questions asked.

SHARE IT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email