Companies are increasingly asking these types of brainteaser questions to determine a candidate's ability to think on their feet
Many companies pose oddballs questions to their candidates in a bid to assess qualities that a conventional set interview questions may not illuminate
And here are a few more: What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
How would you rate your memory?
Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?
These are picked from the 25 top oddball interview questions posed by companies like Google, Marriott and Mastercard to their candidates. They were compiled and released by Glassdoor, a jobs and careers community. Glassdoor compiled this list from the numerous questions shared by candidates over the last year.
Such questions may look like a deliberate attempt to catch a candidate off guard, but Heather R. Huhman, a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, believes that recruiters plan such questions to asses a candidate’s response to certain situations. In her article on the Glassdoor website, she writes, “Companies are increasingly asking these types of brainteaser questions to determine a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, think critically, problem solve, and effectively talk through a response(sic).”
Oddball questions may be one approach to deal with these requirements. But there is no denying the fact that it can’t be seen as a standard recruitment practice per se. This is just one of the various ways used by the recruiters to gauge hidden potential in a candidate. The focus, in fact, is on the skills that they’re looking for. Amogh Deshmukh, Head, Sales and Marketing, DDI, a talent management firm, believes that oddball questions aren't seen as a reliable, result-oriented tool when it comes to recruitment. During interviews, companies use them to gauge a candidate’s thinking but they are seen in relation to his experience, background, and the skills required for the job.
Though a candidate’s experience still continues to be one of the top short-listing criteria, a lot of things are coming under the scanner now. Besides work skills, culture fit is turning out to be a major requirement for companies. Deshmukh explains why this is becoming important. He says, “The success chemistry for two companies isn't the same. For argument’s sake, if we take two FMCG companies, both will have different success chemistries. Both have unique cultural and business requirements. That is the reason the best performer in one company may not turn out to be the best performer in the other company.” It is this aspect that is getting a lot of focus.
In recent times, hiring managers’ attention seems to be shifting towards critical thinking. Saurabh Singh, Head, Talent Assessment, Pearson TalentLens, shares two trends that have emerged in companies’ preference list for a new candidate. “I am seeing an increasing focus on a candidate’s critical thinking and learning quotient.” Singh believes that it is this requirement that is encouraging companies to look for recruitment options beyond campus recruitment. “Companies know that if they go for campus interviews, they may end up hiring candidates with good aptitude,, while what they need in a candidate is higher order thinking and learning ability.’’
There seems to be a lot of discussion around the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of present recruitment systems in a company. Deshmukh says, ‘In the last two weeks, I have met at least six clients who have asked us how they can augment their selection process. One very large conglomerate admitted the fact that selection is a challenge for them at senior leadership levels. These are some conversations that clients are having with us.” Interviewing is only one part of this entire exercise. It is the approach to recruitment that seems ripe for a major over-haul.