How to Handle Unusual Interview Questions

August 30th, 2010

It’s like a bad dream.

You’re in an interview, dressed to impress and feeling totally in control of the situation, when the unthinkable happens – the interviewer asks a question that completely stumps you: 

“If you could have dinner with anyone from history, whom would it be and why?”

“Why is a manhole cover round?”

“Which fictional character would you say best describes you?”

If just reading these questions makes beads of sweat pop out on your forehead, you’re not alone.  In an interview situation, most of us would be stopped in our tracks by off-the-wall questions like these.  But that’s the point:  interviewers ask odd questions intentionally, to see how well job candidates thinks on their feet and respond to stress.

Because unusual interview questions can be about virutally any topic, they’re nearly impossible to prepare for.  Still, here are a few quick tips to help you handle them more effectively:

  • Keep your composure.  The question was meant to throw you off your game – so don’t let it rattle you.  Keep your face neutral and recognize that this is the wacky question you’ve been anticipating.
  • Take your time.  Smile, take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to blurt out an answer.  Don’t panic – if you have to take a moment to gather your thoughts, it merely demonstrates that you think carefully through a situation before responding.
  • Relax.  When it comes to unusual interview questions, your answer is not as important as how you handle the situation.  In fact, most don’t have right or wrong answers.  So take the pressure off yourself.  You don’t have to be brilliant, you just need to answer honestly.

If you’d like some practice answering off-the-wall questions, consider the following popular ones:

  • If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
  • If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
  • If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
  • If you were a _________ (insert:  car, animal, salad dressing – you get the picture), what kind would you be and why?
  • If you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
  • How would you rate me as an interviewer?

Be Prepared for Your Next Interview

Register with ABR Employment Services today.  Our team of staffing professionals will listen to your needs, match you with a perfect direct placement opportunity, and then prepare you to ace the interview.

The BLS Monthly Situation: What It Is and Why You Should Follow It

August 16th, 2010

Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information coming at you each day?

With the barrage of data pouring in from newspapers, TV, the internet, social media, RSS feeds, e-mails, voicemails and good-old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, finding the critical information you need amidst all the “white noise” can be exhausting.

Take the BLS Monthly Employment Situation, for example.  It contains monthly employment estimates for over 1,000 industries from its Current Employment Statistics program.  However, the changes in these overall employment levels tend to be delayed in the monthly labor reports – making it a lagging indicator of economic trends.

Sound like a lot of white noise?

Not entirely.  Temporary help employment numbers, which are part of the monthly BLS report, are generally considered to be a coincident indicator for overall employment.  This means that changes in temporary help employment tend to forecast subsequent changes in overall employment and coincide with changes in economic activity.  Why?  Many companies use temporary staffing as a means to quickly adjust their operations to meet fluctuating demands for their products and services.

Here’s how to get current data for temporary help services in the BLS report:

  1. Go to the BLS Current Employment Statistics home page.
  2. Then select either the HTML or PDF version of the “Employment Situation Summary.”
  3. Data for temporary help services can be found in Table B-1 (page 30 of the report’s PDF version).

Effectively manage the economy’s highs and lows with ABR Employment Services.

Our full spectrum of staffing services for Wisconsin employers can help you run lean – while providing on-demand access to the talent you need to meet surges in demand.

Give Your Staffing Firm Feedback to Get Better Results

August 10th, 2010

Help your staffing service help you.

Continuous improvement should be a goal of any business relationship – your relationship with your staffing provider is no exception.  Help your staffing firm deliver better results by providing them with frequent, measurable feedback.  By letting them know what they’re doing right, as well as how they can improve, you can make your staffing function even more efficient and cost-effective.

Ask internal staff who supervise temporary employees to periodically fill out a simple report card for your staffing service.  It can evaluate quality of fills, ease of working with the staffing specialist, timeliness of service, etc.  Then, share the feedback with your staffing provider.  They will use the information to identify opportunities for improvement, to further customize the service they deliver, and to make your job as easy as possible.

Here are a few sample questions to consider:

The Staffing Firm

  1. How well does the staffing firm demonstrate an understanding of your business?
  2. How well does the staffing firm meet your expectations?
  3. How would you rate the staffing firm’s service, as compared to other services you’ve used?
  4. How would you rate your staffing service representative?

The Employees

  1. How well do the employees fit the assignments?
  2. How would you rate the employees’ attitudes toward their work?
  3. How punctual are the employees?
  4. How prepared are the employees (i.e., how quickly do they get to work)?

How well are we doing?

At ABR Employment Services, we pride ourselves on the quality of both our service and our employees.  We want to know what we’re doing right and where we can improve.  Please contact us with your feedback, so we can deliver even better results for your organization.