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Asked by chance on October 5, 2016

When asked random questions in a job interview such as, "if you could remove any state from the U.S., which state would it be and why?", what are employers looking for in a response?

Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on October 7, 2016

More than anything, when these questions are asked, the interviewer is interested in how you react versus the content of your response.  Often times, it is easy to prepare and 'rehearse' for interviews.  Many interviewers will throw in these odd questions in an attempt to throw you off and see how you react.  If you remain calm and thoughtful in this situation, it tells the interviewer that you will do the same when something unexpected happens on the job.  If you become flustered and nervous, they assume you would negatively react to an unexpected situation at work.  Most importantly, keep calm and composed and respond with something like 'I have never thought about that before, but I don't believe that any state should be removed because they all add.....

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Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on October 19, 2016

Random or unusual questions are designed to make you think creatively and quickly, and reveal your true personality and how your mind works. While the question seems random, the odd questions serve an important purpose to the interviewer. Although this will not be the only factor, it will help the interviewer gauge whether or not you would be a good fit for the company.

Before you answer, take a deep breath to regain your composure, then answer candidly. The interviewer does not necessarily have the right answer, but wants to see how you answer it. These types of questions are a great way to assess how quickly you can think on your feet, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and, most importantly, whether you can remain positive and proactive and make progress in the face of a challenge.

Good luck with your interviews!

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Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on October 19, 2016

Questions such as this are typically asked to understand your thought process and/or problem solving. How you respond to this question can tell a lot about your personality, work style, etc. This is also an opportunity for the interviewer to throw you off with a non-traditional interview question. You can't easily respond with a canned answer so it allows the interviewer an opportunity to get to know you better.

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Answered by Taylor, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on February 7, 2017

Most of the time they are simply asking a question to throw you off a bit, maybe even lighten the mood, and see how quick you are on your feet. Typically there is an "answer" for these types of questions, but they are more looking to see how you respond when you are caught off guard.

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