Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why do Employers Ask Bizarre Interview Questions

Glass door recently published its top 25 oddball interview questions. You can see the full list here, but here are some of the highlights.

  • What song best describes your work ethic? - asked by Dell 
  • What do you think about when you are alone in your car? - asked by Gallup 
  • How many windows are in New York? - asked by Bain & Company 
  • What two celebrities would you pick to be your parents? - asked by Urban Outfitters 

This menagerie of off-the-wall questions is quite entertaining, but more importantly you need to know why companies ask these types of questions. Unless the interviewer is inexperienced, unprepared, and just "winging it" by asking random questions, the motivation behind the oddball interview question usually fits into one of these three categories.

They are evaluating how well you can "think on your feet." Interviews are already pressure-filled situations. Add in the extra stress of an odd question and many people believe the candidate's true colors come out. They don't really want to know what kind of animal you would like to be, they simply want to see how quickly you can formulate an intelligent response.

They are assessing your problem solving skills. Microsoft was one of the pioneers of the "puzzle" questions. These questions are designed not to elicit the true answer to the original question (i.e. how many windows are there in New York) but are asked to assess the logical process through which you can solve a problem.

They want to know if you fit into the company's culture. The question asked by Urban Outfitters about celebrity parents is a very strategically asked question. Urban Outfitters is a hip and trendy retailer that wants to hire people that it into its culture. If your answer is that you would want Mike Brady (from the Brady Bunch) instead of Tom Brady (the quarterback married to a supermodel) you probably will not fit into their company! By researching your potential employer's culture and values before you go into the interview you should be able to show that you will fit in nicely.

No comments:

Post a Comment