Weird interview questions: genius or pointless?

Job interview in diaryWe’re all used to curveball interview questions. You’ve almost certainly answered them, and you may well have asked a few. But how truly useful are they for companies like yours using recruitment firms in Dublin?
Are you wasting your time asking wacky questions that a candidate couldn’t possibly give a meaningful response to? Or are they the perfect way of throwing your interviewee off guard and getting them to reveal – however unwittingly – important aspects of their personality?
Both schools of thought are worth listening to.

Defining an ‘unusual’ question

Sometimes, a question may seem too weird to be worth asking, but may still be effective in getting interesting answers from your candidates.
You may ask the candidate what they would do if yellow was in one corner, and blue in the other, and they may respond that they would be stood in the middle, getting yellow and blue to work together to make green. It’s an odd question, but it’s a potentially insightful answer.
Some questions, though, like “If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself?” or “What’s your theme song?”, may seem too off-the-wall to produce a useful response.

Why weird questions can be worthwhile

Ask some recruitment firms in Dublin, particularly those seeking creative candidates, and they’ll tell you that no interview question is pointless, pretty much any helping to draw out the candidate’s personality and revealing what kind of person they are, what drives them and their approach to work.
For roles where personality fit and culture are all-important, there’s nothing like a wacky interview question for getting to know more about a person, bypassing the over-rehearsed answers.

Where odd questions can go wrong

Sometimes, you’re just going to get better results from the more obvious questions – such as “Give an example of a stressful situation you found yourself in and how you dealt with it?” – than a more unusual, but also more aimless line of questioning.
Even if you want to get an insight into a candidate’s personality, psychometric tests may make more sense than offbeat questions, and are at least scientific in their approach.
But what are the worst questions that you can ask in an interview? They’re probably the ones that, regardless of oddness, have no relevance to the role. Is it, for example, worth asking an applicant for a low-level role how they would fix a specific problem if they were Prime Minister or chief executive? Probably not.

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