10 Bizarre Interview Questions: Useful Hiring Tools or Waste of Time?

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July 5, 2017 by Lisa Brammer

Last weekend my husband and I were looking for something to watch on TV and stumbled across the movie, The Internship. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a feel-good Bad News Bears meets Silicon Valley kind of movie. In the beginning, the wannabe interns (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) have a video-chat interview with Google where they are asked this question, “You are shrunken down to the size of nickels and dropped into a blender. What do you do?” Playing off each other, Vince and Owen’s characters launch into an amusing diatribe about how they would handle the situation.

Google is the company most notoriously known for bizarre, brainteaser interview questions like this one. These types of questions are said to test an applicant’s creativity and intelligence. And are given to see how quickly an interviewee can think on their feet when given an unexpected question. Over the years, they’ve gained popularity and books have been written to advise applicants on how to answer these thinking-outside-the-box questions.

Glassdoor.com compiles an annual list of oddball questions from the hundreds of thousands of submissions they receive from job candidates. Below are several of the highest ranking questions from over the years. (The name of the company that asked the question is provided in parenthesis.)

  1. If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors? (Apple)
  2. Are you a hunter or a gatherer? (Dell)
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you? (Zappos Family)
  4. You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why? (Urban Outfitters)
  5. What would the name of your debut album be? (Urban Outfitters)
  6. What’s your least favorite thing about humanity? (ZocDoc)
  7. Do you believe in Bigfoot? (Norwegian Cruise Line)
  8. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? (Whole Foods)
  9. If you were a Muppet, which one would you be? (TicketNetwork)
  10. Why is a tennis ball fuzzy? (Xerox)

 

As popular as these types of bizarre interview questions have become, research has proven they are actually less useful than traditional ones. Google themselves say they no longer ask these types of interview questions since they’ve found they really do not predict how well someone will do on the job.

I, for one, am happy these types of questions are being phased out. Job interviews are stressful enough for applicants without adding ridiculous questions to the mix. In my opinion, in many cases, the only thing questions like these do is allow the interviewer to feel smug.

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