What super power would you have?

Ruth Skelton 02.01.2018

Unusual questions in interviews are often asked so the interviewer can catch you off guard and make you think on your feet. Out of the blue they will ask: "What super power would you have?"

Unusual interview questions: What super power would you have? 

Today was a pretty usual recruitment day, and as I took the usual interview feedback from a usual candidate, it became apparent his interviewer had posed some quite unusual interview questions. Here I am going to explore why interviewers ask these "unusual" questions and how best to answer them. Certain job interview questions might come across as weird or unexpected, and one question that has been popping up more and more recently is: "If you could choose a superpower, what would it be and why?" 

If you were a super hero, what power would you have? 

This is the actual question my candidate was asked. I wasn't even there and I can feel the panic rising, and there it is, reason one that interviewers ask such "odd" questions; to throw you off guard and see how you respond under pressure. 

This type of question is asked to see how well you think on your feet and if you can be creative. These kinds of questions are also used to see if a candidate has a good sense of humour, a very desirable trait when you have to work with someone 5 days a week. You should use this opportunity to showcase your personality and make yourself stand out from other candidates. This type of question also warrants logic behind your answer, so make sure you take time to think about your response and if possible, tailor it to the job you are applying for. 

How do you handle this effectively?

Firstly, if you haven't prepared for such a question, you need to demonstrate that you can think logically, be spontaneous and come up with a desirable answer, and fast. Staring into space and not answering is simply not an option, well not if you want to secure the role. 

What else...

Remember, there is no perfect answer. I'm not saying the power you choose is totally irrelevant, but what is more important is the reasoning behind it, and your ability to explain yourself. The interviewer wants to find out a bit more about your personality, and if you are able to think on your feet, both quickly and creatively. Whatever answer you give, the interviewer wants to hear the logic behind why you picked it, so ensure you are able to back up your answer with reasons. As long as you are able to justify why, then this question is really testing your creativity and moving away from rehearsed answers that people give to standard questions. 
 
Still struggling? Then here are my favourite "interview appropriate" superpowers: 

"I'd love to be able to apparate. Why? Because I don't like wasting time, waiting in queues and travelling, so to be able to apparate would be amazing."

Another option would be: "It would be great to have the ability to fly. Why? So I can get to work quicker." 

Some of your answers can be a bit cheesy (like flying to get to work quicker), but the interviewer will see your softer side and may even laugh. It could well loosen up the interview a little bit when this question is asked, you will soon realise they don't expect everyone to take themselves seriously 100% of the time. 

Just remember not to take this answer too seriously, I would avoid saying you like to set things of fire or blow things up unless of course, this is relevant to the job you are applying for.  

My tops tips for successfully answering this type of question are: 

  • Stay calm. Take a deep breath. Maintain good posture and keep eye contact: You want to appear calm and confident, even if you don't feel that way. 
  • Buy some time. If you completely draw a blank, know that it is ok to take a little pause before answering. You can also buy yourself some time with a comment such as "What an interesting question; let me think for a moment."
  • Ask questions. Most interview questions are intended to assess your critical thinking skills. Quite often there is no "right answer". Explaining your reasoning out loud as you respond to the question will demonstrate your thought process, even if you struggle to arrive at the answer. 
  • Think about the job. Remember that interview questions are designed to determine whether or not you have the skills required for the job in question. As you answer a question, think about answering in such a way that demonstrates a skill or quality you have that qualifies you for the job. 
Ruth Skelton's picture
Senior Manager | Accounting & Finance and Office Support Recruitment
rskelton@morganmckinley.com

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