There is no right answer, but your approach is what counts: take a deep breath, pause briefly, be logical in your answer, sound confident, let your personality come through and stay calm. Examples of curveball questions are:
- If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
- How many windows are there in Manhattan?
For a bit of background knowledge, curveball questions are widely attributed to the Italian/American physicist Enrico Fermi who won a Nobel prize in 1938; he used to entertain his colleagues with them, while they were inventing the first nuclear reactor. His most well-known question is: “How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?”
STAY CALM (BUT IT’S EASIER SAID THAN DONE)
We all get nervous sometimes and it’s nothing to worry about. Try not to focus on the getting nervous part, but instead on how to stay calm.
- Firstly, taking deep breaths helps because it slows down your heart rate: when you’re worrying, your heart rate increases, sometimes making you a bit panicky, which in turn interferes with clear thinking.
- Secondly, pause. This can be done by picking up a glass of water and having a sip for instance. Quite often, when we are put on the spot, we start talking but not necessarily at our most articulate. The mini pause will allow you extra thinking time.
- Thirdly, convert nervous energy into excitement energy. Anxiety and excitement are both emotions that raise cortisol (known as the stress hormone) in the body and increase heart rate. Change your mindset by telling yourself you’re excited more than nervous - in part that is probably true.
Lastly, remember that interviewers are often just chatting and trying to get to know you and see how you might fit it. They’re not trying to catch you out. But, sometimes, they try to make you feel under pressure, purely to see how you would cope under pressure. Either way, breath, pause (if necessary), sound confident and be excited, NOT nervous.
Interview Nerves | RCN Careers resources | Royal College of Nursing
Overcoming Interview Nerves With STAR Method & Preparation (colinjamesmethod.com)
Employment Screening Services & Background Check Company - JDP
Interview curveball questions & how to answer them | randstad | Randstad UK