Kiplinger Today


How to Ace Today's Job Interview

Fierce competition for jobs is prompting employers to add more-challenging queries to the usual lineup of interview questions. In addition to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” prepare for “What do you do when you see a spider in your house?” or “How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the U.S. each year?”

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Such questions, often based on hypothetical scenarios or involving some data-crunching, may seem outlandish. But they’re tailored to tap specific skills and traits popular with hiring managers: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity or work style, for example. Job-seekers can use the questions to highlight strengths that they might not get to address in a more traditional interview. Questions such as “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?” target leadership, for example. (Possible answer: “Both. I gather information and hunt for solutions.”) If you’re asked, “If I gave you a brick, what would you do with it?” talk about vision and innovation.

Employers want to see how you handle the unexpected, but you can anticipate their questions. Visit to review off-the-wall questions asked of interviewees at a particular company, or go to to see what’s been asked for similar positions in your field.

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