Fun Friday: Bizarre Interview Questions

Do you have clients who ask crazy questions when interviewing your candidates? Here’s a link to a post highlighting some of the most bizarre questions companies have asked job-seekers, 15 Ridiculously Hard Job Interview Questions From Top Employers Like Google, Goldman Sachs. Below are my personal favorites —

  • “What do wood and alcohol have in common?” (asked at Guardsmark for a Staff Writer position)
  • “How are M&M’s made?” (asked at US Bank for a Leadership Program Development position)
  • “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” (asked at Goldman Sachs for an Analyst position)
  • “Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.” (asked by Capital One for an Operations Analyst position)

The idea of asking seemingly silly interview questions is supposed to be to get candidates to think critically about various situations. They are questions designed to figure out your thought process, and if you can think abstractly.

One commenter shared:

Management consulting firms typically ask “case study” questions like “how much beer is consumed in New York in one year?” or “how many diapers are sold in China each year?”

Contrary to popular belief, the purpose is NOT to test creativity or out-of-the-box thinking (these firms are way too cookie-cut­ter to encourage out-of-the­-box thinking).
The purpose is to show that you can look at a problem, structure it, make assumption­s, be comfortabl­e with numbers, and present findings.

So what are your thoughts on off-the-wall interview questions? Do you consult with your clients and hiring managers on appropriate interview questions to truly determine candidate fit for a position? Do you think these types of questions help effectively weed out average candidates? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Also — can you answer any of the above questions?

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, and, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.


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