Date: April 10, 2014

The stage is set. You have arrived at the interview armed with your responses to questions you believe will be asked, you have spent time familiarizing yourself with the company website and you have Googled the business on a daily basis since you got past the initial application process.

For the first ten minutes, everything is proceeding as planned, there have been smiles and nods, there has been common ground established and your employee staffing research has paid off.

Then you are asked whether you believe in ghosts or do you think that there is life on Mars. Unsurprisingly, this is a question that you haven’t prepared for. Throwing the interviewee a curve ball is becoming part and parcel of the employment recruiting process. According to the Huffington Post, there is every chance that the interview may take a turn for the strange as companies look to bring in people who can deal with the unexpected.

A recent survey of 2,000 recent job seekers by a nationwide talent management firm found that the majority of them had been asked a question that had nothing to do with their skills or bore any relation to the position in question. While there are a number of areas that are taboo, there is every chance that you will be faced with something out of left field.

Some of the responses to the survey revealed that interviewers are not above making sexist or racist comments under the guise of a question, all of which can make the applicant feel uncomfortable or even think twice about the job on offer. Asking about a person’s sexual history, their relationship situation or views on ethnicity are all illegal, but it is the strange questions that leave interviewees baffled.

One applicant responded that she had been asked whether sewage freaked her out, while another was told to entertain the interviewer for five minutes as they were not going to talk. Time management in relation to the cooling off of a cup of coffee, reaction to being punched in the face by a coworker or even the possibility of the afterlife have all formed part of a formal interview and there is very little that you can do to prepare for these questions.

However, you do have options. If you know there is a chance of a Twilight Zone moment, then you will go into the interview with a strategy and three options; answer it, sidestep it or just refuse to commit. After all, not even NASA knows if there is life on Mars, so how can you?