Sometimes, a good life strategy is to expect the unexpected. If you're a recent graduate, or in between jobs, you've probably already Googled "most common interview questions," and may have even rehearsed your answers. Good on you.
But it only takes one weak answer to ruin a perfect interview. Here are a handful of not-so-common interview questions you may want to consider--just in case.
1.Do you have any pets?
This one is surely odd, but I've heard it asked before. Some hiring managers may believe that pets reveal certain personality traits about job candidates.
I keenly remember an Oracle management executive who would never hire a salesperson if they told him they had a cat. Maybe he thoughts cats were wimpy, and no one ever bothered to tell him that house cats and tigers actually share 95.6 percent of the same DNA.
One way to answer this question would be to clap back by asking the same: "Do you have any pets?" A more plausible response: tell the truth, and honor your beloved pet(s).
"I have a teacup Chihuahua, Lucifer. He's a beast." (Hopefully this isn't you.)
2. Are you married?
Red flag--proceed with caution. It is illegal for a prospective employer to ask you this question, and could result in a discrimination lawsuit or an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
A good way to answer would be to say "I'm not sure how this is relevant to the position," but a better approach would be to get up and leave the interview right there. Do you really want to work for a company that is ignorant about employment law at best, or consciously discriminates at worst? I wouldn't.
The one exception may be if you are interviewing for an elite government ops or Spy vs. Spy type role--you know, those organizations that are secretly looking for candidates with no family ties and nothing to lose? Use your best judgment in this case.
Lastly: in addition to asking about your marital status, it is also illegal for employers to ask about your race, religion, or gender as part of their hiring criteria. Know your rights.
3. How would your friends describe you?
This one is harmless--unless of course your friends would describe you as a raging alcoholic or shameless Facebook exhibitionist.
Use this question to your advantage, and highlight traits that might be relevant to the position you're seeking. At the same time, this is your opportunity to show that you're relatable, so don't hesitate to be truly authentic, and even humorous, in your response.
Be sure to smile, too. Infectious enthusiasm is a real thing.
4: Why were you fired from your last job?
If you're asked this question, it's because you've either disclosed it up front, or the guilty look on your face is an easy giveaway. Regardless, be prepared to address it head on.
The best way to respond to this question is to be honest and to the point. You don't want to give a long, rambling answer, which may be perceived as defensive or even dishonest. Be confident, concise, and transition by asking the interviewer a question.
Another savvy response is to share what lesson you learned, and how it's made you more resilient, or how you used it as a teachable moment for personal improvement. Whether you were fired due to layoffs, new management, or even insubordination, there was something you learned--use it as a selling point.
5. Why shouldn't I hire you?
Be careful. I'm all for honesty, but we all have our skeletons in the closet, and none of us are perfect (although my wife would beg to differ). A few things you should not disclose if asked this question: that hash oil vape pen in your pocket, or that your real dream is to be an Instagram influencer--keep this to yourself.
A good way to answer this question is to be clever, and then turn it around. If you know for instance that the hiring company values people who are highly driven, you could say "You shouldn't hire me if you're looking for someone who will settle for average. Because I'm someone who consistently over delivers."