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Tell me a joke. Or a funny story. Actually, what's your favorite food truck on campus?

These questions may not seem out of the ordinary to the average person, but when they appear in the middle of an On-Campus Recruiting interview this week, students may be thrown for a loop.

Strange questions are not a staple of the OCR interview, but they can help recruiters get a better sense of a student's personality so they may be mixed in with the traditional inquiries about why a student is seeking a particular position.

For the lucky students who score the coveted interview slots, knowing what will make or break one's interview is essential, counselors say.

"I think students really need to be able to specifically articulate why they're interested in and are a good fit for the position," said Barbara Hewitt, the senior associate director at Career Services.

And while Hewitt's department exists to help students be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible, sometimes they just have to know how to field the unexpected.

"The questions really depend on the interviewer's personalities - sometimes there will be a random brain teaser question, but most of them are specific to the related industry," said Wharton senior Jun Park.

After the usual questions on personality and fit, the rest of the interview will differ from field to field, students say.

"Penn is a great resource for doing your homework on every industry because of the alumni network," said a recruiter for a major firm who requested to remain anonymous because she is still conducting interviews. "Interviews are like riding a bike. The more you practice at it, the better you get at having them," she added.

The investment banking firms will ask about financial techniques, knowledge of the industry's current issues, and the more technical questions, whereas consulting firms tend to be solely concerned with how you think, said Wharton senior Doug Kenney, who is participating in OCR this semester and has interviews all week.

"It's like consulting firms want to put a clear glass window on your brain and look at your thought processes," he added. "Present yourself as knowledgeable, but be humble at the same time."

Interviewers will remember the students who sound like they know too much, and sometimes, those are the ones who are in for a surprise.

"The students who seemed the most prepared today were the ones who got the random questions just to see how they would think on their feet and handle something unexpected," the recruiter said.

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