Live Q&A: Careers advice clinic

Now, unfortunately for job-seekers, unusual or bizarre interview questions are nothing new.

However, I’ve got to share with you the latest crop making the rounds online, as they are particularly good. Yes, even better than Oxford University asking candidates to describe a cactus or asking them to explain what kind of musical instrument they would invent, both examples made the news last year.

You might just find yourself facing similar gruelling questions as many of the latest examples came from popular companies such as Google, Facebook and Goldman Sachs, according to, a stateside career community website.

So, if you find interviews stressful at the best of times, it might be the time to start thinking ahead about how you’d react if you were asked to sell an invisible pen (Proctor & Gamble) or explain your strategy at table tennis (Citigroup).

My personal favourite though is from Diageo North America: “If you walk into a liquor store to count the unsold bottles, but the clerk is screaming at you to leave, what would you do?”

Me? I’d probably run away, rather alarmed by the whole situation. But of course, it’s not always about getting the right answers, rather how you tackle a challenging problem, explained Rusty Rueff,’s career and workplace expert in a recent CBS Money Watch article.

These are just a couple of the challenges facing job seekers in the current market, so, keen to help with all the careers-related issues you’re facing – from tricky interviews to shaping the perfect CV – we’re running another of our regular careers advice Q&As where we’ll be throwing the floor open to you. Whether you want to change career from accountancy to cosmetics, or you’re musing over how to ask for a pay rise or wondering if you should take a career break, we’re here to help. Regardless of the sector you want to make headway in, join a panel of career coaches and advisers offering their advice on Tuesday 5 July from 1pm until 4pm – advance questions welcome below.

To keep up-to-date with our regular Q&A sessions, you can now sign-up for our newsletter here.

Our panel:

Rebecca Jenkins is a personal consultant at employment and skills organisation Working Links, specialising in helping long-term unemployed people get back to work.

Elizabeth Bacchus is a career coach, change management consultant and founder of The Successful CV Company – a CV and covering letters provider.

Clare Whitmell is a qualified business communication trainer who specialises in writing and presentation skills coaching. She also blogs CV writing and job hunting tips on

Deborah Simmons is a founding director of London Coaching Associates, which provides coaching and training to professionals. As well as being an experienced coach specialising in both career success and work-life balance, Deborah is also a licensed NLP practitioner and a qualified solicitor.

Owen Morgan is commercial director of HR consultancy, Penna. His key focus is around active career management, career resilience and the changing nature of work and society.

James Eder is co-founder and commercial director of, a website for students in the UK. James is also a guest lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

Nisa Chitakasem is the co-founder of career change specialists, Position Ignition. The company provides personal career support to professionals around areas such as career planning, getting the right job, promotions and choosing the right career direction.

Christopher Barrat is an international consultant and business coach. He has worked for the past 10 years at Greystone Consulting.

Sarah Byrne is online editor at Careershifters, an organisation which helps motivated people to change career into work they enjoy. Sarah has been involved with Careershifters since 2009.

Neil Owen is the director of the London operations of Robert Half International, a recruitment firm specialising in the finance, accounting, IT, management and administrative industries

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