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Employers require interviews with candidates to assess their skills, personality, thought process, ability to handle pressure, leadership potential, and fit. Some interviews are conducted in-person, while others are conducted through online video. Depending on your sought-after job, some interview processes would require testing, while others require a portfolio. Some involve one interviewer, while others involve meeting the team. Getting a job requires going through an interview, answering questions, and perhaps answering ‘nontraditional’ questions.

Here are some nontraditional interview questions Career Edge team members have been asked:

 Tabatha, Director of Marketing & Partnerships

Q: “What type of tree would you be?”

A: “I’d be a sugar maple. Strong, and productive (syrup), yet can accept change with the seasons and growth with new ideas (seasons).”

“I think a lot of people just choose Oak because they want to appear strong. But sometimes strong isn’t flexible. Taking time to think about what your role would be in the organization is helpful.” – Tabatha


Andreea, Talent Specialist

Q: “If you were a crayon, what colour crayon would you be and why?”

A: “I would be the sky blue crayon, as blue skies are associated with happy sunny days. I consider myself a friendly and warm person, and I always try to keep a calm and clear mind, which helps me make the right decisions in difficult (cloudy) situations.”

“These types of ‘fun questions’ are meant to test how you think on the spot and also to see your creativity and fun personality. A big part of getting a position is personality – it is important to interviewers and hiring managers to see if you would be the right fit in their company culture.” – Andreea


Chad, President & CEO

Q: “Name three people, past or present, who you’d like to have dinner with.”

A: “Rick Hansen, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Louise Arbour.

“All Canadian…interesting mix of backgrounds and time periods…all fascinating!” – Chad


Michelle, Talent Specialist

Q: “What is your favourite sport?”

A: “My answer was along the lines of, ‘snowboarding because I’m good at it and the adrenaline rush you get is exciting. It’s something that you can do on your own or with others and you have control of where you go and how you go down the mountain. You can have fun with it by doing tricks too.’”

“I haven’t been asked this personally, but a good question is ‘Why should we not hire you?’” – Michelle


Patricia, Director of Client Services

Q: “Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information. What did you do?

A: “I made the dress I am wearing, and anyone that sews knows that if possible, you measure twice, cut once, and when in doubt – call your aunt (who is an expert). We are often thrown into situations where we are provided with incomplete information. My first choice is always to attempt to gather the requisite information. If you’re unsuccessful in this – defer to an expert opinion.

“When I was working in Dr. Whitnick’s lab, I had to prepare tissue samples, and she had left some rather oblique directions on how to prepare and preserve them. When she was unavailable for follow up questions, I tracked down one of her PhD students and past interns (one of them via Facebook), and connected with them for a suggestion. I’m still friends with that PhD student today.”

“This type of interview question – using hypothetical scenarios and examples from a candidate’s past experience – helps understand their mindset, identify an analytical way of thinking (comparing alternatives and weighing pros and cons), and indicates people who make logical, linear judgments.” – Patricia


Jimmy, Digital Marketing Assistant

Q: “How thick is your skin?”

A: “Very thick?”

Jimmy: “I wasn’t one hundred per cent sure if the interviewer meant professionally or biologically.”

Patricia and Michelle recommend learning about the ‘infamous manhole question’ asked by Microsoft, along with its variety of possible answers, to develop your creativity and non-binary thinking, to prepare for your upcoming interview. The most important thing about answering nontraditional interview questions is to always explain the thought process behind every answer.

Possible Answers:

  • Circular covers don’t need to be rotated or precisely aligned when placing them on the opening.
  • A round manhole cover is easily moved and rolled.
  • Human beings have a roughly circular cross-section.
  • Round tubes are the strongest shape against the compression of the earth around them, so the cover of the tube would naturally be round as well.
  • It’s easier to dig a circular hole.
  • A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover could fall in if it were inserted diagonally in the hole.
  • Round castings are much easier to manufacture using a lathe.