In honor of National Ice Cream Month, let’s explore an example of an unexpected interview question. Interviewers often toss in an unexpected or offbeat question, which can be disarming. One example is, “What is your favorite cream flavor?” You may be thinking, “Why are they asking me about ice cream?” However, you want to take the question very seriously. (They are not planning to serve you a frosty treat.) This may not be the determinant for the interviewer’s decision to select you, but, your answer and how you answer can be very revealing.
Have you ever thought about what your favorite ice cream flavor suggests about your personality and work style? Baskin-Robbins sponsored a study and the following are some of the results.
What it suggests about you: Impulsive, easily suggestible and an idealist
What it suggests about you: Dramatic, lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive and gullible
What it suggests about you: Tolerant, devoted and an introvert
Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip
What it suggests about you: Argumentative, frugal and cautious
Flavor: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
What it suggests about you: Ambitious, competitive and a visionary
Flavor: Jamoca (coffee)
What it suggests about you: Scrupulous, conscientious and a moral perfectionist
Flavor: Chocolate Chip
What it suggests about you: Generous, competent and a go getter
Flavor: Rainbow Sherbet
What it suggests about you: Analytic, decisive and a pessimistic
Flavor: Rocky Road
What it suggests about you: Aggressive, engaging and a good listener
Does that mean you should select a flavor that is the best match for the job? Not necessarily. It is important to be genuine in your responses. This is not a “hire” or “pass” question. You may not get the favorite ice cream question. You may be asked, “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” Or, they may ask your favorite color. The answer really isn’t that important. The interviewer is paying attention to your attitude and your delivery. The key is not to deflect the question. You also shouldn’t try to second-guess the motives or determine the “right” answer. And commit to an answer. Don’t vacillate or undermine yourself by saying, “Uh…I don’t know. I guess…”
So, what is your favorite ice cream? Go out and celebrate National Ice Cream Month with a scoop! Consider it necessary homework for your next job interview.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.