Are unusual questions effective in a job interview?
During the interview process, the old fashioned questions have a tendency to become a little stale. Many companies have experimented with left-field questions that challenge or surprise the candidate.
However, are these unexpected questions effective in finding the best candidate for the role? Or is it better to stick to tradition and simplicity when hiring staff?
What are the strangest questions firms have asked?
In the book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?, William Poundstone described a particularly peculiar situation that occurred at the famous institution.
Examples of strange questions include how a candidate would unload a 747 full of jellybeans and their favourite 90's song.
The interviewer asked the candidate what he would do if shrunk down and thrown into a blender set to start in 60 seconds. According to Poundstone, this was asked in earnest and the interviewer scrutinised the answer closely, pointing out flaws in logic despite the absurdity of the question.
A May 18 Mashable article also outlined some other strange examples. These included asking candidates how they would unload a 747 full of jellybeans, their favourite 90's song, what they had for breakfast and how they would survive a plane crash on a deserted island.
Questions like these are aimed at identifying personality traits that regular methods can't uncover, but are they effective in this regard?
Are these questions worthwhile?
The key to whether an odd question is worth asking is figuring out what exactly the response will provide. It's all very well to try and test for quick thinking and creativity, but these types of questions may not reflect well on your company. If the tone of the question is not in-keeping with the rest of the interview, a prospective candidate may become confused and uncomfortable.
According to research from San Francisco State University, candidates often avoided companies that asked puzzling questions. Associate Professor of Psychology Chris Wright stated that while the candidates gave decent answers to strange questions, they often reacted negatively, viewing the company as unfair.
If you want to test a candidate without sending them off balance, situational-based questions may be an effective alternative. Selecting a real-life example from your workplace can offer a point of comparison as well as giving a candidate a question they have unlikely heard before.
Seeking the help of recruitment services can be useful in determining the effectiveness of potential questions and what information they will truly yield.