salad

When it comes to job interviews, I’ve seen it all.

Most interview processes are fairly straightforward. You do a phone screen with an HR rep, and then a phone interview with the hiring manager. Afterward, you meet the hiring manager and other folks on the team for an in-person interview.

However, not every interview is so simple. Some companies ask job seekers to do presentations about themselves. Others ask you to complete an IQ test. Some ask you to draft a proposal for how you would spend your first 90 days if you were hired.

And every once in a while, a company will ask you something ridiculous — something like, “What kind of salad dressing best emulates your life philosophy?”

I know this must sound like a joke, but I’m not kidding. Companies have asked questions like, “If you were a sandwich, what kind of sandwich would you be?” and “What font best describes your personality?” to job seekers in the past, and many will do so again in the future.

These types of questions serve a few purposes. First, they test how you react under pressure. Are you able to roll with the punches, even when you’re asked something outside of the box?

These questions can also test you from a culture-fit perspective. Does your answer align with the company’s general spirit and culture?

Finally, these questions test your creativity. How interesting, thoughtful, and unique is your answer?

Although surreal, unexpected interview questions make little or no sense to many people, I can get behind them — but under one condition. That condition is that the interview process is a two-way street.

If the job seeker is willing to go along with a crazy line of questions, then the hiring manager must be willing to treat the candidate with an equal amount of respect in return. If the candidate has done a lot of homework as part of the interview process, the hiring manager should take the time to follow up with them. Hiring managers should keep their appointments with candidates, respond to emails quickly, and let candidates know in a timely and respectful manner when they have not been selected.

Ghosting a job seeker or taking weeks and weeks to follow up on email communications is not acceptable. It is no way to treat a potential employee of your company. When you treat the job search like a joke, you’re treating the candidate as if they were disposable. They will likely feel the same about you in return.

A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at Copeland Coaching.



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