"What do you think of garden gnomes?" is just one of many which businesses are now using in interviews in order to seek out ‘the good candidates from the great’.
The Sunday Times has called it ‘extreme interviewing’, but at a time where unemployment is at its highest in over a decade and every graduate job has an average number of 83 applicants, do questions such as "if you were a colour what colour would you be?" really help find the right person for a job?
In the past, many experts have categorised interview questions as either behavioural, business or work sampling exercises, with these new approaches said to be curveballs thrown in to make you think on the spot and potentially catch some candidates out.
Engineering and maths students have less to worry about as they are said to appear more in the creative industries such as marketing and media, but many interviewers said they do have a point to them.
People who are asked things such as "what did you eat for breakfast this morning" are being tested on how prepared they are, if their answer is something like a packet of Malteasers, this probably wouldn’t go down too well, even if it is the honest response.
Sometimes, if interviewees are given some sort of challenge such as; "if you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?" they are meant to measure your flexibility of mind and how logically you can solve problems. (I’d have gone for crawl to the bottom and wait for the blades to stop but apparently the ‘correct’ answer is that if you still had the same body mass of a fully grown human you could just jump out…).
Some have commented that these sorts of questions are used by less experienced interviewers who may be enjoying a little bit of a power trip and taking too many ideas for the infamous Oxbridge interviews.
Sales and Marketing company Acosta simply said to some interviewees ‘just entertain me for 5 minutes, I’m not going to talk’, it’s hard to imagine anyone who would be quite prepared for an interview question like that, would you use the time to explore your own achievements with regards to the job or just show how entertaining you can be with a few jokes and a song?
Sometimes it pays to take a risk, if an interviewer gave you his watch and told you to sell it back to him, you could try and demonstrate all the great features of the watch or do as one person did and offer to sell them the watch for £5.
The interviewer apparently said, "but it’s worth much more than that" to which the seller replied ‘yeah but you would buy it for £5 if I offered it to you wouldn’t you?’ It was a sale and got him the job, but I’m not sure Lord Alan Sugar would quite approve of the business technique.
Questions like these are said to be asked if the interviewer is bored, so it’s a chance for the candidate to make an impression. So if you were asked, ‘if you were a dinosaur, what type of dinosaur would you be?’ what response would you give?