This is not so much a curveball, but a standard interview question asked repeatedly...
Consulting role, operational improvement/management consulting stuff, lots of interaction with clients.
The Interview Question
Say you were at a large chain restaurant, and there is this improvement you want to implement, say automatic ordering machines should be installed.
This has been agreed with senior management, and you are at the restaurant going through the changes with the managers.
The manager is very against this change, even after explaining the logic behind the change, and how beneficial it will be to the company. The manager is almost irate, what do you do?
I would take ownership of the situation, I obviously did not explain this well enough, or I have misunderstood. I would take a step back, ask specifically what the manager did not like, and try to address the concerns.
The interviewer then, and repeatedly says, your approaches don't work, what do you do?
I continued to answer honestly, by taking a few different approaches, for example, trying to look at it from the managers perspective, employees will lose their jobs etc.. Showing the manager how his current employees will benefit from the up-skilling, additional training, more prosperous company... Even as a last resort going back to the senior management to get them to help. But this was met with,
"This is your job to explain etc.."
This is a great company, clearly full of smart people, I would like to know,
- What I was missing here?
- What improvements should I make, if a similar question comes up?
- A general approach to deal with a repeated question in an interview?
- Another approach could be: Leave the situation, come back after 10 mins, go grab a coffee, change the environment?
- It seems an indication they are looking for either a specific answer, or just a different one, so maybe pause and try to think more laterally?