If you’ve had a few professional interviews under your belt, you probably know that questions can range from mundane to absolutely baffling. For instance you might be asked to, “With your eyes closed, tell me step-by-step how to tie my shoes.” It is a strange request, but there is a method to the madness. First of all, the hiring manager wants to see how you handle an unforeseen situation. Can you remain calm and get through it. Second, the interviewer wants to see if you can choose between relevant and superfluous detail. Third, the hiring manager wants to see how well you can communicate.
Points to Emphasize
The important thing in this situation is to not get flustered. It is a bit of a strange request, but you’ve probably tied your shoe fairly regularly over the years. You should be able to explain the process with ease.
- Focus on remaining very clear in your instructions.
- Emphasize the order of the process’ steps.
- Highlight any humor in the situation.
- Be confident as you list steps.
If you encounter this question, go along with it. The hiring manager will likely be impressed if you show a good deal of adaptability.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Even if you don’t enjoy the exercise, treat it with professionalism. The hiring manager wouldn’t have asked this question if he or she didn’t believe that it was important.
- Do not forget important details such as left versus right hand.
- Do not answer as if the question is unimportant.
- Do not over complicate the directions.
- Do not frequently back track as you respond.
Clear and concise communication is one of the main abilities the interviewer is looking for in your response. Take your time to list the steps so you don’t have to repeatedly go back or correct yourself.
Here is an example of a good response after being asked to describe shoe tying:
First, you need to take one lace in each hand, then cross the left one over and under the right. Pull both lace ends to tighten the resulting X. While keeping the X tight, fold the right lace in half and wrap the left lace around the right lace’s overlapping point. Make sure to leave space in the loop created by the left lace. Bend the remaining left lace through the loop and pull the bent portions of the right and left laces to tighten into a bow.
Remember, this is a drill in communication skills, so be as clear and succinct as you possibly can.