The Reasons Behind Some of Those Oddball Interview Questions

Job interviews can be stressful. You’re likely to get thrown a few curve balls, so it is best to be prepared. I read an interesting article in Bloomberg Business Week that mentioned the favorite questions eight senior hiring managers like to ask and why they like asking them.

Michael Yormark, President of the Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports and Entertainment likes to ask, “Who do you most admire and why?” He says the answer tells him about who the candidate is, who he or she aspires to be and whether or not he or she is a good fit with his company’s culture.

Andrew Shapin, CEO of Long Tall Sally, likes to ask, “What areas for improvement came up in your last performance review?” He says the answer tells him about the candidates self-awareness and potential weaknesses so that he can get the best out of them.

Bonnie Zaben, COO of AC Lion Recruiting, likes to ask, “So you’re a XXX fan. If you were their owner, how would make the team better?” She says the answer tells her how quick the candidate can think and compose a coherent presentation.

Andrew Alexander, President of Red Roof Inns, likes to ask, “Why are you here?” He says the answer tells him if the candidate has a passion for his company and industry, or is just looking for a job.

Hilarie Bass, Co-President of Greenberg Taurig, likes to ask, “What is your passion?” She says the answer tells her the level of commitment the candidate has to her industry (law).

Susie Dunn, Vice President People of Jama Software, like to ask, “Tell me about a time when you had a delayed project?” She says the answer tells her the level of the candidate’s critical thinking, adaptability, awareness of their impact and creativity.

Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, likes to ask, “Describe an environment in which you would not thrive.” He says the answer tells him about on the spot introspection, personality and the culture in which a candidate would thrive.

Liz Bingham, Partner Ernst and Young, likes to ask, “If you could do anything, what would be your ideal job?” She says the answer tells her about the candidate’s passions and strengths and whether they’re well matched for the job for which she is interviewing.

Interviewers like to ask these types of questions to get at the real you, the person behind the resume. If you’re in the job market, I suggest you review these questions and figure out how you’d answer them. You may not get the same questions in an interview, but by thinking through your answers to these eight questions, you’ll be better prepared to handle similar ones in a real interview.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.



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