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Are crazy questions actually useful?

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HC Online | 16 Oct 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Google CEO asks people to teach him something he doesn’t know. Are these interview tactics helpful, or hindering?
  • Harley | 16 Oct 2012, 02:12 PM Agree 0
    Like all questions in an interview, you need to place them in a way that they won't tarnish the rest of the results. If you are going to throw a curve ball during an interview, do it after the majority of questions are asked.

    My faviorite crazy question is 'if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?', and I would ask it as the last question in an interview. It does test creativity, and it lead the interviewee to describe themselves without realising (or at least describing the attributes they like about themselves), but like all interactions you should be looking at more than just the question's answer. How do they go about answering the question? Do they approach an odd question with interest or dissaproval? Do they like answering the question? Sometimes how they answer the question is more telling to an interviewer than the actual answer, and crazy questions provide a great range of responses.
  • rob wise | 16 Oct 2012, 02:21 PM Agree 0
    a subject question can only elicit a subjective response. And such a response may be useful to someone who is trained to interpret the meaning behind them but for most of us, who are not formerly trained in this way, the best questions are Behavioural questions.

    That is ask a person to recall their [recent] behaviour during a circumstance which exemplifies a particular competency that you are trying to gain an insight into.

    If you keep in mind while they answer that you are looking for the circumstances of the example, the action that the candidate took and finally the result (or the CAR) of the answer. You will have a much more robust insight into that person's behaviour / competency.

    Boring I know - but effective and scientific - at least more scientific than " can you tell me about your strengths".

    Oh and a manhole is round so it can't fall into the hole no matter which way it is fitted. Not that I worked that answer out - I have read it recently and remembered the answer - I leveraged someone else's cleverness which talks to a different competency than the one for which that question was designed.

    Rob Wise
    Wise Recruitment
    Behaviourist Recruiter.
  • Matthew Cummins | 16 Oct 2012, 03:30 PM Agree 0
    I actually think the one "If you were a Microsoft Office program, which would it be?" is quite brilliant!

    If a person thinks about it - Outlook = a communicator/networker, Word = strong writter, Excel = strong mathematically/logically, Access - good at storing and using information etc.
  • Juanita | 19 Oct 2012, 09:52 AM Agree 0
    I have never been asked an oddball question - thankfully, or I probably would have burst out laughing and destroyed all hopes of employment! I don't think questions like that have any real relevance to the workplace, it may are have some value in creative industries, or as a snapshot as to how the person will cope with the unexpected. I agree that behavioural based question are more scientific and therefore more accurate, having said that, it is quite easy for a candidate to prepare for such standard questions with the answers they think you want hear, rather the honest answer.
    The answer to the manhole question is interesting but not really accurate. The manhole is the hole and therefore could not fall into itself. That explanation would work for the manhole cover, but not for the hole.
  • Harley | 23 Oct 2012, 04:29 PM Agree 0
    Manholes are round so that their lids, which then have to be also round, cannot fall into them. It looks like Rob might have just missed writing 'it's lid can't fall'.
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