Recently an article was published on www.mainstreet.com about the Ten Companies with the Toughest Interview Questions, questions that would make anyone nervous if they were put on the spot and asked these questions in a job interview. The idea is to see how people think on their feet, how they decipher a problem or issue, and how they go about processing a problem. It's not necessarily about if they got the answer "right" (many of the questions don't even have a right answer), but what was the candidate's thought process? The interview is one of the most important pieces of the recruiting process, so you'd better ask questions that are going to be able to help you assess if a candidate is going to be right for the job. Common interview questions ask about strengths/weaknesses, past job experiences and goals for the future. Behavioral interview questions, another type of interview questions, force a candidate to tell the interviewer how they performed in a given situation in the past. For example, “Tell me about a time you had a very difficult customer to deal with and how you dealt with that customer?” As the saying goes, “past behavior predicts future behavior.” You can learn a lot about a person by listening closely to how they handled a situation. This new line of questioning, however, offers another view into the person being interviewed and how they might perform. One example of this new line of question is “How many ping pong balls can fit into the overhead compartment of a 747 plane?”, a question asked by Bain & Company.
Maybe it is time to think about the positions you hire for regularly and if a new line of questioning could better help you find the best candidate? In a manufacturing setting, questions would be very different for a quality engineer, than for a software engineer in a software company, where innovation is an everyday occurrence. What kind of culture do you have? What kind of thinking do you want to perpetuate? An organization where employees have to think quickly on their feet or solve very complex issues may have the right environment to change up the interview questions. Or maybe an organization is looking for new ideas and this is a way to go about finding those employees who can think out of the box.
Additionally, many of the organizations mentioned in the article also are great places to work, where employees have a lot of job satisfaction. Questions such as those mentioned, really help weed out candidates who might not be a good fit for that company or committed to business objectives. So maybe it is time, as a manager, recruiter, or HR professional to think beyond the traditional interview questions and find a question that you can add into your interviewing repertoire. It may help you find that superstar candidate.