Close Search
News  |  CareersPersonal development

Expecting the unexpected interview questions

8 July 2021 at 12:52 pm
Maggie Coggan
Have you been thrown a curveball question in your job interview? Here’s how you can handle it like a pro 

Maggie Coggan | 8 July 2021 at 12:52 pm


Expecting the unexpected interview questions
8 July 2021 at 12:52 pm

Have you been thrown a curveball question in your job interview? Here’s how you can handle it like a pro 

You’ve done your research, you’ve done practice interviews, you’ve got your notebook handy, and you’re feeling ready to smash your job interview. 

But then, out of nowhere, the interviewer throws a completely unexpected and pretty abstract question at you. 

This could be anything from what kind of tree or animal you would be if you had a choice, or why are manholes round.   

No matter how much preparation you do for an interview, there’s always a chance this will happen. Face it, you’re not a mind reader. 

Answering a curveball question will be difficult, but there are ways you can work around it, which is why we’ve rounded up some helpful tips to deal with the unexpected. 

Keep calm and carry on 

Understandably, the first thing you might feel like doing when faced with a tricky question is to run out of the interview room. This is definitely something you shouldn’t do. Instead, take a few deep breaths, drink some water, and then think about how to approach the answer. You do have time (even if you don’t feel like you do) so make sure you take it before launching into a 10 minute answer that doesn’t really make sense.  

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification

If you really are baffled by the question, there’s no harm in asking your interviewer a couple of follow up questions that might help you reframe what they are asking you in a way you understand. This will not only buy you some time, but show that you are willing to work around challenges even if you’re not sure how to tackle them at first. 

Think about what you do know and what you’re applying for 

It’s important that all of your answers demonstrate why you are the perfect person for the job. So think back to the position description and the key qualities and skills you have that match up with what they are looking for and go from there. Questions like these are often intended to see how you think logically and creatively, so think outside the box and answer honestly. 


Are you on the lookout for a new job in the for-purpose sector? Head to Pro Bono Australia careers for a great selection of job opportunities right across the social economy.  

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at or download our contributor guidelines.


Create a Reconciliation Action Plan/></a></div></div>    </div>





    <div class=

Get more stories like this


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Here's how to say goodbye to your toxic new job

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 7th April 2022 at 4:07 pm

Five ways to overcome the ‘Sunday Scaries’

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 31st March 2022 at 3:42 pm

Thinking of a career change? Here are some goals you should set

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 10th March 2022 at 4:57 pm

How to explain why you’re leaving your current job

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 24th February 2022 at 2:48 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook