questioningStudies have shown that structured interviewing is more than twice as reliable a predictor of future performance than unstructured interviewing. That is why most of you today use structured interviews as the key assessment tool within your selection processes. The trouble with this systematic style of interviewing is that the interview questions, while originally taxing, have been continuously recycled and over used. Many of the questions have become hackneyed, making it easier for candidates to research on-line and prepare ideal responses for each question, and hide potential weaknesses or to over play strengths.

Employers have upped their game, and have started to introduce weird questions, designed to act like a curve ball and throw the candidate off-guard, allowing the interviewer to discover hidden truths about the candidate.

Below, we have highlighted some of the weirdest, curve ball interview questions that are actually in play today and outlined how you might use them to assess candidates.

1. Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.

Yes, this question was asked by a manager at Acosta for the role of Leadership Development Program Associate.  This might be a very useful skill for a trainer/facilitator working with senior managers,who may find themselves put on the spot during an intense leadership program.

2. Would Mahatma Gandhi Make a Good Software Engineer?

This intriguing question was asked by Deloitte when hiring for Analysts.  It allows you to see if the candidate values communication and negotiation skills (something that Gandhi was known for) as part of the software development process. These are of course skills which are likely to be vital in a consulting organization like Deloitte.

3. Room, desk, car, which would you clean first?

This question was put to candidates at Pinkberry who were interviewing for the position of shift lead. It can show how well or how badly a candidate prioritizes, and what processes they adopt when setting priorities.

4. How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?

This question was asked of Project Engineering intern candidates at Disney Park and Resorts. This can be used to assess creative thought, creative energy and creative problem solving, as well as ‘out of the box thinking’.

5. How do you weigh an elephant without using a weigh machine?

This question was put to Software Engineer candidates at IBM. This is a great way to assess a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, and to think creatively while working within rational constraints.

6. How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?

Office Assistants at Horizon Properties faced this question at interview. This question assesses how well a person can deal with unpredictable problems and situations which is a core requirement of an office admin.

7. If you could be any superhero, who would it be?

Customer Service Representative interviewees at ATT faced this question. This is a great way to see what a person’s ambitions, goals and aspirations are, as they will usually choose a superhero that will help them achieve something they cannot achieve now. It will also reveal insight into their perceived weaknesses as they may compensate for this personal limitation in their choice of superhero.

8. What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?

This question was asked at Volkswagen, for a Business Analyst position. This question will reveal how well the candidate understands business as well as different markets that they have no experience of. It will also assess their commercial decision making, e.g., how do they decide whether to sell, manage, or close the business. What is their decision making process?

9. What is 37 times 37?

This interview question was asked of a trader at Jane Street Capital. This is a great question as it shows how well a candidate’s mathematical abilities stand up under pressure.

10. How would you cure world hunger?

This question was asked at Amazon.com during software developer interviews.  This can simply assess whether the candidates have a social conscience and how creative they are in their thinking. If you are an organization with a strong social agenda or if the position requires big-thinking, then this question would be very useful for you.

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