The companies that use unique interview questions are highly selective.

With a surplus of qualified candidates and impressive resumes, employers and recruiters needBrainy Man a few interview tips and tricks to gain the insight they want about candidates. Tired old interview questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your career goals?” just don’t reveal what’s important to employers and hiring managers: candidates’ passions, interests and unique qualities beyond technical skills and training. Difficult but thoughtfully crafted unique interview questions reveal as much about the interviewing company as about the interview candidate.

Employers and recruiters want a way to gauge a candidate’s creativity, flexibility, performance under pressure, sense of humor, and adaptability to new experiences. To reveal that quality of information about candidate character and personality, the interviewer must use some wacky and thought-provoking questions. Some of the biggest companies out there are doing it. And “I don’t know” is always the WRONG answer!
Glassdoor.com Annual Survey of Oddball and Unique Interview Questions

Job site Glassdoor.com surveyed job seekers about what unique interview questions they faced in interviews in 2012 and published a list of the top oddball interview questions for 2013. Among those listed are Dell’s “What songs best describe your work ethic?”, BenefitsCONNECT’s “Name 3 previous Nobel Prize Winners,” and Trader Joe’s “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?”. Some odd questions, like Urban Outfitter’s “Pick two celebrities to be your parents,” are designed to get an idea of your awareness of the wider world and preferences for media personalities. Others, like Marriott’s “How would you rate your memory?” are tied to skills and abilities.

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Why Ask Unexpected Interview Questions

Education180.com, an online education resource that helps people decide what education path is right for them, surveyed employers to find out why they ask non-traditional, unique interview questions. They crafted different unique interview questions to use in their survey, asking employers to explain their reasoning behind using unexpected questions. “If you don’t get this job, what will you do?” is a question designed to understand the candidate’s job search goals and possibly find out what other employers and positions the candidate is considering. “If you’re doing a terrible job, how do you want me to tell you?” elicits how candidates react and respond to criticism and confrontation, and how they want to be treated at work. “Would you be willing to assemble IKEA furniture for the office?” is designed to test the “not my job” mentality, the candidate’s attitude toward teamwork, and confidence in the ability and willingness (or lack thereof) to do something outside of the job description.

Is Google Master of Unique Interview Questions?

In “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy,” author William Poundstone delves into “today’s supertough interview questions” at some of the most innovative companies in the world. Could you answer this unique interview question Google poses to candidates: What number comes next in this series: 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66? The answer(s) is(are) 96, one googol, and ten googol, rated okay, closer, and correct, respectively. What do you think Google gains from asking this combination logic and company history unique interview question? Do you think candidates for Google positions should know what a googol is? Or how to figure out the last number in a seemingly random string of numbers? Do you want your employees to know how to answer the supertough, unique interview questions in your interview, or at least try?

Whatever you call them, trick questions, supertough questions, riddles, puzzles, or acid tests, non-traditional, unique interview questions are quickly becoming a sorting tool in recruiting to spot creative and innovative candidates. Unique interview questions are quickly becoming the new normal. Are you using them in your recruiting process?

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