I remember attending several training courses on the subject of interview and selections techniques. Particularly in house training when I worked for some very large corporations.
Whilst perhaps stating the obvious, a large part of the process is of course asking questions with the intent of generating the sort of answers that give the interviewer the information they are looking for.
All that seems to be changing though. The concept I have read about is to put applicants “on the spot” and see how they respond to difficult questions, often having nothing at all to do with the job they’re applying for.
Being asked for (example) to calculate how many tennis balls are used during Wimbledon might sound stupid and how the heck could you do so? But actually you could give some structure or methodology to the calculation – what good it would do you, I fail to imagine.
Barclays Investment, has been known to ask a candidate to calculate how many cars there are in the UK! Well come on, do you mean those with an MOT that can legally be driven on the road? lets not be sloppy with these questions now.
From Dropbox, and one I love… If you got to your office in the morning and opened your in-box to find thousands of e-mails, how would you choose which ones to answer? Love it and very relevant I think.
Here’s another we love… From Spirit Airlines – “please describe the colour yellow to a blind person” – Wow, just wow.
Google famously asked one candidate how many calories there were in a food store. Of course one could try and formulate how much food there was there, how many calories there was in each, or perhaps an average? And multiply those calories by the number of products. Alternatively you could think out of the box (I hate that term) you might consider that there was no calories in the store because the calories were in the food it sold – take your pick, but I doubt we’ll ever know what the employer felt (or expected) was the right answer.
The moral of the story is if you are going for an interview expect the unexpected and think laterally. Good luck!