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I’ve long felt that so-called “oddball” interview questions are just plain stupid. They do little, if anything, to improve applicant vetting and selection and make the people that ask them — and the companies they work for — seem pompous, boorish, and ridiculous.

Glassdoor, “a free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies,” released a list of the 25 of these gems, and Toni Bowers over at TechRepublic listed them all. Here are a handful of them:

  1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?” – Asked at Forrester Research, Research Associate candidateMore Forrester Research interview questions.
  2. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero.  What does he say and why is he here?” – Asked at Clark Construction Group, Office Engineer candidateMore Clark Construction Group interview questions.
  3. “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?” – Asked at MasterCard, Call Centre candidateMore MasterCard interview questions.
  4. “How do you make a tuna sandwich?” – Asked at Astron Consulting, Office Manager candidateMore Astron Consulting interview questions.
  5. “On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.” – Asked at Kraft Foods, General Laborer candidateMore Kraft Foods interview questions.

Oh, brother!

Well, finally, we’re seeing some progress on this front as ABC News reports the Google, one of the worst-of-the-worst when it comes to this practice, is now skipping its “waste of time” brainteaser interview questions.

Per Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google:

“On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

THANK you!

In stark comparison to this nonsense, actual research published in the June 2013 issue of International Journal of Selection and Retention (Bartone, Kelly, Matthews) shows that a short 15-question assessment can predict leadership adaptability – “the ability and willingness to anticipate the need for change, to prepare for that change, and to implement changes in a timely and effective manner in response to the surrounding environment.”

Interested in ACTUALLY upping your applicant interviewing, vetting and selection skills? Send me an email and ask about the DRS-15 — the 15-question Dispositional Resilience Scale.


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