Turning the Tables: How to handle interview question curveballs

Job interviews can feel like walking on a tightrope. You’re trying to balance your expertise, your poise, and your personality, all while the interviewers toss out questions that can sometimes seem out of left field. Here at META Employment Services, we understand how challenging that can be. That’s why we’re here with some surefire tips on how to navigate those tough and unexpected questions with grace.

Why the Unexpected?

Before we dive into our tips, let’s answer a question you might be asking yourself: why do interviewers ask such surprising questions anyway? The answer is simple. They want to see how you handle unexpected situations, gauge your problem-solving abilities, and understand your thought process. These questions help them assess your flexibility, creativity, and resilience, all crucial traits in the modern workplace.

Tip 1: Stay Calm and Composed

When an unusual question comes your way, your first reaction might be to panic. But remember, your reaction to the unexpected is part of what the interviewer is assessing. So, stay calm, take a deep breath, and compose your thoughts before responding. Your calm demeanor will reflect your ability to handle stress and uncertainty, which is a big plus in any job.

Tip 2: Seek Clarification

If a question leaves you puzzled, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer for clarification. This shows that you’re detail-oriented, have good communication skills, and are not afraid to ask questions when necessary. It also buys you a bit of time to think about your answer!

Tip 3: Show Your Thought Process

Even if you don’t have a ready answer, you can explain your thought process to the interviewer. This approach showcases your problem-solving skills, even if you don’t land on a perfect answer. It’s your chance to demonstrate how you approach challenges and work towards solutions.

Tip 4: It’s Okay to Not Know Everything

Remember, it’s okay not to know every answer. In fact, admitting you don’t know something, but expressing your willingness to learn and find out, can be more impressive than bluffing your way through an answer. Honesty is always the best policy in a job interview.

Tip 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Finally, the old saying holds true – practice makes perfect. While you can’t predict every unexpected question, practicing responses to common challenging interview questions can help you feel more confident and prepared.


Navigating the tricky waters of job interviews is not easy, but with a calm mind, clear communication, and the right preparation, you can turn those difficult and unexpected questions into opportunities to shine. At META Employment Services, we’re committed to providing you with the resources and support you need to ace your job interviews.

You don’t have to face this alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of interviewing or if you simply want a practice partner, META is here for you. We invite you to book your free appointment with us. Our team of dedicated professionals is ready to assist you with interview preparation, career counseling, and job search strategies.

Ready to turn those difficult questions into your secret weapon? Schedule your free appointment with META today!

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357

Durham Office

Unit 6, 15 Thickson Road N.
Whitby ON L1N 8W7

Phone: 905-725-0087
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 905-725-0935


META Services