Although many questions in a job interview are meant to gauge your experience level and skillset, some questions are just meant to be fun ways to test your creativity. A statement that often comes up is, “Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than writing.”
This question is asked to see if you are able to put in a good amount of thought to an outside the box inquiry. There are no wrong or right answers, the interviewer just wants to know if you are creative in any way and if you can come up with solutions that maybe no one else can come up with.
Points to Emphasize
Being creative is the most important thing when you are asked something like this.
- Have some fun with your answers
- Make sure to give exactly 10 uses
- Feel free to take short pauses to think about more uses
- Feel free to laugh at a particularly silly use
Chances are high that you will have to work with your interviewer on a daily basis if given the job, so if you are able to show that you are able to kick back and be silly, then that can definitely work to your advantage.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It is difficult to answer a question like this incorrectly, but you should avoid making these mistakes.
- Don’t give less than 10 uses and then say you’re unable to think of anymore
- Don’t take too long to think of answers
- Don’t give violent or inappropriate uses
- Don’t get nervous or flustered if you’re unable to think of anything
It is important to remember that the exact uses you give are not what the interviewer is looking for. He or she is looking to see that you think through problems and can come up with creative solutions.
You should frame your response to this question like this:
Hmm…well, you could use the eraser of the pencil. You can use a pencil to point at someone or curl your hair or press a button that is just a little too far out of reach. You can use it to pick up a bug from your desk and let it outside. Using it as a makeshift back-scratcher can also come in handy. If you have two pencils, you can use them to play the drums or use them as chopsticks. The tip can be used to reset a wireless router. And you can put a ruler on the end and make a helicopter.
Interviews can get pretty serious, so feel free to have some fun when the opportunity comes up.