25 weirdest job interview questions
The key purpose of a job interview is to identify the best candidate from a group of applicants.
Meghan Casserly from Forbes observes that interview techniques for some roles are changing and that, in 2013, candidates may need to be ready for challenge-based interviews. For example, if you're an editor, expect to edit during the interview; if you're a programmer, come ready to code. Putting people on the spot can help to sort the talented and capable from those who are all talk.
However, in many cases, this type of approach is not as effective or simple to apply. Behavioural interviewing skills, such as those included in iHR's Selection and Interviewing Skills training program, enable the employer to evaluate the applicant's abilities and assess their suitability for the role and the team. A good interview will also fill in any missing information, such as employment history gaps and relevant experience, and provide an accurate job description for the candidate to assess if the job is right for them.
In general, applicants don't expect job interviews to be easy but some companies are taking the challenge to the next level:
To help job-seekers prepare for job interviews, U.S. career guidance company Glassdoor compiles an annual list of questions that companies ask. They also pick out odd and unexpected questions. Here is what the firm identified as the 25 strangest interview questions of 2012:
1. "If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?"
- research associate candidate.
2. "How many cows are in Canada?" - local data quality evaluator candidate.
3 "How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?" - pricing/revenue management analyst candidate.
4. "A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he
say and why is he here?" office engineer candidate.
5. "What songs best describe your work ethic?" - consumer sales candidate.
6. "[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?" product development candidate.
7. "What do you think about when you are alone in your car?" - associate analyst candidate.
8. "How would you rate your memory?" - front desk associate candidate.
9. "Name 3 previous Nobel Prize winners." - office manager candidate.
10. "Can you say: 'Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper' and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?" - call centre candidate.
11. "If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?" - crew candidate.
12. "How would people communicate in a perfect world?" - software engineer candidate.
13. "How do you make a tuna sandwich?" office manager candidate.
14. "My wife and I are going on vacation -- where would you recommend?" advisory associate candidate.
15. "You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be
on [the TV show] 'Iron Chef'. How do you prepare your team for the competition,
and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?" business analyst candidate.
16. "Estimate how many windows are in New York.", associate consultant candidate.
17. "What's your favourite song? Perform it for us now." Adventures City manager candidate.
18. "Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when the time is 11:50." developer candidate.
19. "Have you ever stolen a pen from work?" software architect candidate.
20. "Pick two celebrities to be your parents." sales associate candidate.
21. "What kitchen utensil would you be?" marketer candidate.
22. "If you had turned your cell phone to silent and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?" biomedical engineer candidate.
23. "On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer." general labourer candidate.
24. "If you could be anyone else, who would it be?" sales representative candidate.
25. "How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelette?" – analyst candidate
Given the uncertain economic climate, the costs of hiring inappropriate candidates and potential difficulties around unfair dismissal claims, iHR believes that recruitment decisions are crucial and, to help you, offers Selection and Interviewing Skills training, job and competency profiling and recruitment support.