Out of the Box, Weird Call Center Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

When the interviewer asks, “Can you describe color yellow to a blind person since birth?”, and you can’t figure out— for the life of you—how the interviewer could ask such a question in a call center job interview, this post is for you. Some call it weird call center interview questions”, some “out of the box questions” with a touch of crazy. Others believe interviewers ask them because they’ve run out of questions to ask but still want to appear intimidating to the applicants.

Here’s really why they ask weird call center interview questions

1.) To test how you fast you can think your way through an unexpected situation

Contrary to what other people think, call center agents don’t get through a shift just by mumbling English sentences off a script. They need initiative. Lots of it, actually.

For instance, when you work as a customer service or sales representative, there are times when customers ask unusual and unexpected questions that your Knowledge Base cannot answer.

They aren’t necessarily questions concerning the company’s products and services. Sometimes, they’re personal questions and even weird ones that usually catch someone off guard.

Interviewers ask these weird call center interview questions a little bit more extreme and weirder to see how far your imagination and creativity can stretch.

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2. To gauge your communication skills and spontaneity during conversation.

Which is important if you are to talk to customers for a living.

3. The interviewers feel that your answers are scripted to a T.

Call center interviewers know that most applicants prepare answers for the anticipated common interview questions. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, they appreciate applicants who prepare.

But sometimes, there are some whose answers are always on point without any stammers, which either means said applicants are that good, or they rehearsed their answer from the first word to the last.

To find it out,they ask questions applicants wouldn’t anticipate. Hence the out-of-the-box, weird call center interview questions.

What if you don’t know the answer?

The good thing is, there are no wrong or right answers. You’re only wrong when you reply, “I don’t know” or doesn’t answer at all because you thought the interviewer asked a ridiculous question that she must be joking. I bet you, they aren’t.

The key to effectively answering these questions is to be spontaneous as possible and don’t mind accuracy too much. And of course, deliver your answer with confidence.

Being spontaneous and confident with unexpected questions is going to be hard, though. That’s why I’ve scoured the internet of these 14 weird call center interview questions and answers you need to know to pass.

Weird call center interview questions and sample answers

1. Why should we NOT hire you?

You’ve heard about the infamous interview question, “Why should we hire you?”

You’re so focused on positive interview question and forget that the recruiter might turn the question, translate it into its negative equivalent and from there, the context takes on a completely different context.

There are a few angles to approach this sneaky question:

Provide an honest but harmless weakness

I have a hard time talking to new people face to face, but when I’m speaking with strangers over the phone, you won’t ever notice it all. I could be the most outgoing person over the phone, but could be the most uneasy when in a face to face setting.

Remember to choose your weakness wisely. If you’re applying for a Phone Support, your weakness to talk to people face to face isn’t a deal breaker as it won’t interfere with your job. But if you’re applying as a department store manager where you have to talk to people face to face, then this answer will surely disqualify you from the job.

I realize that I’m a fresh graduate with no work experience. However, in college, I was tasked to be the school paper’s editor-in-chief. That responsibility gave me a realistic expectation and experience of how it is to work professionally. You can’t just give up and say, “whatever”. You really have to finished what’s supposed to be finished.

It was challenging, but I sure did enjoy the learning experience. Besides, every excellent employee in any company started as a complete beginner. I may be inexperienced, but given time, I can, and will perform a top notch service for the company.

This right here turned a negative question positive by responding a positive answer. It directly addressed the question while not dwelling on the negative, by quickly flipping to positive the moment the second sentence started. Besides, why focus on your weakness when you can turn it around and discuss it to your advantage?

(If you’re still looking for a job, check out Jobhero’s database for call center jobs. Here’s a list of call center job fairs that might be close to your area.)

2. Why are manhole covers round?

weird call center interview questions

Manhole covers are designed as round for convenience. A round cover cannot fall through the circular opening no matter which position it’s placed. Placing it back on is also easy because it doesn’t have to precisely align like it should be if it were a square. Lastly, moving it is easier since you can just roll it instead of carrying its full weight.

Optional addition

Rectangle manholes actually exist. That said, you can always add this:

But now that I think about it, manhole with square and rectangle covers actually exist. I remember the manhole just in front of (_insert place_) that was surprisingly square. I’m not sure about their purpose but I still believe the round covers are more practical.

3. Describe color red to a blind person since birth.

Using visual representations to describe a color to a blind person is impossible. Therefore, make use of the remaining senses that a blind person doesn’t have trouble understanding like touch, smell, taste, and feel physically and even emotionally.

Think of red as something warm and nourishing. Like fire which helps us cook our meals and keeps us from getting cold.

Red is also a sign of love and tenderness, like a mother’s warm embrace to her newborn child or that nice feeling you get everytime you hug someone you love.

Too much red is potentially dangerous though. It could mean intense anger. It could burn homes, start a fight, and destroy relationships. A bad blood.

Just in case the interviewer asks you about yellow, green, blue and some other colors, here’s a post dedicated to the subject with more examples: How to Describe Colors to a Blind Person: Complete Examples

4. Why are pizzas round?

Pizzas are round because it’s more convenient to form them that way. The centrifugal force that’s involved in the process of stretching, flattening, and spinning the lump of dough is more convenient to form it as round than rectangle or square.

Also, circular shaped pizzas means they’re easier to divide and cut diametrically into equal pieces.

You can also add this:

But I certainly did eat some pizzas which were rectangular. They’re just not that as common as the round ones.

5. Why does round pizza come in a square box?

Because creating round boxes is more expensive and complicated than creating square boxes.

While a round box requires at least four separate sections and may even need to pressed together by special machinery, a square box can be easily made from a single sheet of cardboard using bare hands. How’s that for easy and cheap?

Lastly, square pizza boxes are easier to store because they tend to be more stable than round boxes during delivery transport.

6. Why do donuts have holes in the center?

The hole in the middle of the dough, allows the insides and the outsides to cook evenly, creating a perfect donut. Before people started punching holes, donuts’ outsides and edges were crisp but the centers were used to be greasy and doughy due to the uneven exposure to heat.

The hole in the center of the donuts came as the solution.

7. Why is there a butter in a butterfly?

This question is really weird, if not silly. In that case,  you can answer silly as well.

I don’t know much about butterflies, but now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if you tell me that butterflies do love to eat butter.

Or perhaps, centuries ago, a curious, courageous fly, first of its kind, decided to sample a butter. And then one really influential person, probably a duke, saw the whole thing, and decreed a law to name the curious fly “butterfly“.

I’m just guessing. It really is hard to guess the origin of words as there’s plenty of possibility. In fact, I wouldn’t even be surprised if you tell me it has nothing to do with butter after all.

This is the kind of answer you wanna go for if you don’t know what the real answer is. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Talking silly (if the question is silly) but spontaneously and confidently will save you here.

Giving an accurate answer isn’t the purpose here, and and interviewers ignore accurate answers if their delivery is poor.

Say something, no matter how silly and ridiculous you think it is, and say it with gusto.

The worst you could do is keep quiet and pretend you heard nothing. You’re applying as a call center agent, not as an etymologist, so you don’t have to know everything.

If you want to lean more on the factual and a slightly accurate side of the answer, here it is:

The original word really was ‘buterfleoge’, an Old English, which eventually became “butterfly” in our English today. There’s also some stories that say they were named so because it was thought that butterflies, or witches that took on the shape of butterflies, stole milk and butter.”

8. Can you give me 5 non-traditional uses for pencils?

This was a personal experience for me and it sure took a long time for me to come up with 5 answers immediately:

I could use the pencil to tie my hair, sort of like a chopstick style.

Pencils are a real gem for detectives who doesn’t happen to bring their gloves but need to pick up objects they shouldn’t touch with their hands to avoid contamination of evidence.

It’s a stress reliever. I’ve seen an experimental videos in YouTube showing subjects who claimed they felt more relaxed and in better mood after holding in place a pencil between their teeth. Holding the pencil forces the face to mimic and trigger the facial muscles that are responsible for smiling. This then sends a signal to the brain that says, “I’m happy, I’m smiling.”

Use pencils to play drums.

9. Picture out your greatest fantasy.

Here, the interviewer wants to test your command in the English language by asking you to describe an imagery. Your best bet is to describe a very vivid and specific imagery. Also, keep it rated G. You don’t want to talk about a sexual fantasy in an interview, do you?

Here’s mine:

I’ve been toying with the idea that someday, I’d live in a tiny bungalow house. It would be situated at the top of a mountain, overlooking a meadow dotted with wild flowers of random colors, sporadically sprouting everywhere.

Everyday would be summer and I’d cool off the heat with cinnamon and pineapple drink freshly harvested and squeezed from my garden in the backyard.  Every lunch would be a soup, usually a steaming, antibiotic-free native chicken tinola freshly butchered from my poultry farm.

Of course, there’d be internet. So I could still enjoy Game of Thrones.

If I feel that I’m in a need of good cardio, I’d hop onto my bicycle, pedal my way through the breathtaking landscape and breath in the scenery. The sweat wouldn’t bother me at all as five kilometers away, a beach would be waiting for me.

10. Sell me a second hand toothbrush.

Most things, when they get older, become less useful. Not a second hand toothbrush. You see, when a toothbrush is brand new, it only has one purpose: to brush your teeth. No more, no less.

But a second hand toothbrush? Oh it’s multipurpose alright. It’s a great house cleaning tool as it can brush places around taps and spouts that a big cleaning brush can’t reach.

Stuck hair in your favorite hairbrush? Use your second hand toothbrush to loosen those hairs and pull them out.

What about those greasy and sticky grime in your oven and toasters? Go get them out in no time using this second hand toothbrush.

11. If you can go invisible for one day, what will you do and why?

Sample 1:

If I can go invisible in a day, I would certainly go and visit North Korea. I’d like to observe their county without the prying eyes of their government. I know it’s tough but seeing it would probably redefine the meaning of tough. Maybe I’ll also drop by to watch how Kim Jun-un, the most powerful man in the country lives his life for a day, just for curiosity’s sake.

Sample 2:

I’ll definitely check out Area 51. Lots of speculations of alien experiments and conspiracy have been buzzing around and I’m very curious. I’d really love to confirm that myself.

12. What did you have for breakfast?

Remember: imagery. Just like in number 9.

Rice and omelet sound pretty boring, but describe the process of how you cooked it, along with the ingredients, and it’ll add more color to your words.

Before coming to interview today and meeting you, I made sure I ate the best breakfast of my life: rice and omelet.

The rice, by the way, was an organic brown one, given to me by my aunt who owns a 10-hectare rice field.

The omelet took a little bit of cooking time because I mixed in some veggies in it: the spinach and basil from my garden, freshly harvested cherry tomatoes from our farmer’s market, and melted cheddar cheese for a richer flavor. Lastly, I garnished it with green onions from my garden.

13. How would you hide a dead body?

You might wanna pause for a while and pretend to take some time thinking about it. Don’t blurt out your answer as if it’s a question of yes or no. You don’t want your interviewer to think you’re a serial killer.

For the record, I haven’t hidden a body before but I’ve watch my fair share of crime and mystery movies. The most unforgettable movie for me is The Usual Suspects. Although the story didn’t touch on hiding bodies, I couldn’t forget a quote said by the main character, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

I’d like to apply that concept in hiding bodies. I’d probably hide it in plain sight. Let’s say there’s a freshly dug hole ready for a burial. Before the day of the burial, I would sneak into the cemetery, dig deeper than the already dug 6 feet, enough to bury the body. The next day, the burial would continue as expected, they’ll bury the second body, and nobody would ever know about the first body.

14. What is your spirit animal?

Here, you want to relate your spirit animal characteristics to a call center agent job description.

My spirit animal would be an ant. Not because I’m hardworking but more because I’m a bit more paranoid than the usual human. Ants prepare for rainy seasons and save foods as much as they can.

I prepare for financial troubles and I don’t spend money unless I have to. Not saving at least 30% of my salary is a no-no for me. When grocery shopping, I always make a list because I hate it when I forget an item necessary for me to function in my everyday life.

The same with talking to customers over the phone. I always make sure that they get the complete info during the first contact because I don’t like it when they go looking for me again for a question that could have been answered the first time.

Remember:

The more you can elicit a positive reaction from your interviewer, the better. If she nods, she smiles, that’s a good sign. If she laughs good-naturedly at your jokes, even better, but the laughing isn’t necessary.

I’d like to end this post with a clip of the movie Pursuit of Happyness in a job interview scene. This shows much how uncomfortable a job interview could be and how an applicant could turn it around.

Click the “CC” at the bottom right side to see the subtitles while watching.

Interviewer: What would you say if a man walked in here without a shirt on, and I hired him, what would you say?
Chris: He must have had on some really nice pants.

Goodluck, and go get that job! 🙂

How about you? Was there a weird call center interview question that you want to add? How did you answer it? Drop it in the comments below.

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