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Interview questions you’d ask for no reason

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by amadeus, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    I *love* that fastest object ever launched from Earth surface is accidental manhole :lol:
     
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  2. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    Griggs v. Duke Power Co.

    An interesting case!

    There are a couple of reasons why they're round from a practical perspective. If the covers were square, they could fall through if inserted in the wrong direction and it's also easier just to slide it back in when you don't have to worry about corners.
     
  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Someone in another forum had mentioned that he was once asked in a work interview if he had ever killed anyone ^_^
     
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  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    This is why programmers hate these sorts of random questions. The sort of stress we have on the job is just.. different. If you really want to test a programmer, give him/her an unexpected logic problem to solve, even if it has nothing to do with programming. Don't ask them what plant they would become if they could be a plant.
     
  5. civvver

    civvver Deity

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    Tell me about a difficult problem you encountered before at work (or school) and how you handled it. Did you find a solution?

    -Gives you a gauge on what the candidate considers a difficult problem.
    -Depending on if they answer with a technical issue or a people issue can say a lot about a person.
    -I'm not so interested in if they managed to fix the problem or not, but how they approached it. Was the approach logical in my view?

    I actually do interviews for software engineers at my company from time to time. I interviewed this one engineer and we hired him and he's actually my boss now (he didn't pass me on the ladder, it's like a lateral move into management while I remain a tech specialist).
     
  6. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    Hertz rent-a-car?
     
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  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    If I want to throw someone off, I will give them a novel situation that either plausibly could happen or (even easier) has happened somewhere at their position and ask how they would solve the issue.

    Not only does it give at least as good a read on critical thinking skills as a question like why manhole covers are round, it does so in a way directly related to what they will actually be doing. Obviously this can't simulate day to day practices by the person by itself, but nothing you can do in interviews will accomplish that.

    Random brain teasers don't have much predictive value so I'd not be inclined to use them. At least if I give them a situation they can actually encounter I can see how they think about said situation.

    Round covers can't fall through the hole, but there are other practical reasons for it also.

    The supreme court didn't forbid written intelligence tests in that decision. The ruling was that the test must be "reasonably related to the job" *if* the test disproportionately affected minority groups. The ruling was made in the context of a company trying to get around the civil rights act.

    The wiki article does mention that the strictness of the ruling was lessened later. And to this day intelligence tests do have some predictive value for employee performance. Cognitive ability is the strongest predictive measure of performance on average, though for some positions conscientiousness beats it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  8. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    it's also the smallest chunk of metal for the most radial space for a person's shoulders and body below.

    In thinking of answers for this question it's increasingly clear that there are numerous reasons why you want a round manhole covering.
     
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  9. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    They're dumb trivia questions. Their purported purpose is to see how people can think quickly or react, but really all they do is filter for people who've heard that piece of trivia before. It's as useful as asking "on which street is the town hall of <insert random city on different continent> located?"

    Not for professional employers, it simply introduces far too many biases.

    Employers with good hiring practices have interviewers write interview feedback including:
    1. Questions they asked.
    2. Answers.
    3. Their assessment of answers.
    4. Scoring on a predefined rating system.

    Interview feedback is then giving to the hiring committee, stripped of any personal information that could introduce bias (names, age, gender) who makes the actual hiring decision without having any contact with the interviewer or interviewee - the only resources they have available are interview feedback and standardized information from the recruiter.
     
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  10. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    Meow. Meow meow meow. Hisssssssss.
     
  11. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    The only reason I might ask a trivia question is to observe the person's attitude. If it's an irritated "WTF? Why is she asking me that?" I would not be impressed (even if it's a not unreasonable reaction in most circumstances since the interviewee doesn't know why).

    What would impress me would either be an accurate answer or an honest, "I don't know, but I will find out for you."

    The latter assumes I'm interviewing someone who will be dealing with customers or clients, and it shows a willingness to put in a bit of effort to answer their questions.

    I've had so many instances of BS treatment from clerks and salespeople who don't want to bother answering questions, and either disappear, ignore the question, or tell me "we don't sell that/we've never sold that" and I know they're lying to cover ignorance or apathy. I explained this to the manager at the local Staples one time a few years ago, when I wanted to buy a Sony Discman, to replace one I'd had before. I'd looked it up on the store's website, knew they sold it, and decided to go to the store and buy it in person rather than wait to get it in the mail.

    When I got to the store, the person I normally dealt with was busy with another customer so I asked someone else - a young woman: 'I'm here to buy a Discman; which aisle do you keep them in?"

    She got a blank look on her face, informed me that "we don't sell those, nobody's sold them in 20 years, you have to go to a pawn shop."

    When I told her I'd seen one listed on the store's website the previous night, she just shrugged.

    In that case, I think I was justified in being severely annoyed. The right answer from her from the get-go would have been "I don't know, but I'll find out for you/I don't know, but I'll find a manager to help you".

    I informed both her and the manager - when I was able to get hold of him 3 days later - that her ignorance and lazy, apathetic attitude had cost them a sale. I'd purchased the Discman from London Drugs and got great customer service from that store.


    On the matter of which cat I'd be... DSH (Domestic Short Hair), aka ordinary house cat. Not Persian, because it would be more likely that some people would be allergic to me and I'd end up in a shelter, or possibly at the vet because my humans wouldn't know how to properly groom me so I didn't get too many hairballs from my own grooming. And I wouldn't want to be a blue-eyed, white-haired cat due to the increased possibility of being or becoming deaf. And yes, I would drink milk - Whiskas cat milk (it's slimy, brown, and disgusting to smell and touch, but Maddy loves it).

    As for 'why is it called a manhole'? Waaay back when, it used to be referred to as a "sewer hole". 'Manhole' sounds better.
     
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  12. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    Could Wilt Chamberlain have negotiated a better agreement at Munich and why?
     
  13. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    I'd probably ask them a nonsense question and see if they pointed out I was wrong.
    "In 1961 Joseph Mobutu praised the Soviet Union and called for closer economic and military cooperation with them. What effect did that have on UN policy in Zaire?'
     
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  14. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    “U Thant seriously be asking me that question.”

    Not only would I not be hired, I would also likely be subject to tomatoes hurled at me ala Garfield.
     
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  15. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    If I was in charge of hiring decisions, anyone making UN Secretary General jokes would get hired on the spot.
    Probably explains why I shouldn't be allowed to hiring decisions.
     
  16. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    If you want to ask challenging questions that are atypical in interviews then here are some guidelines:
    • Know your reasons for asking them and make sure the interview team does too.
    • Alert the candidates ahead of time that they can expect a non traditional process
    • Unless your goal is to determine how quick thinking a person is, you should give them the questions ahead of time so they have time to think about them. You could hand them a list of five questions to think about while the interview team takes a 5 minute break. You could let them choose two to answer or let them know you will ask x number.
    • Don't make the questions such that google can easily provide an answer.
    • You want open ended questions that require thoughtfulness.
    • Don't put low level employees though this process; save it folks for whom you have high expectations of leadership and judgement.
    Your goal in adding this to an interview should be one of discovery and not just to screw with the candidates.Spring unexpected surprises on candidates for key positions will not present your process in a good light. If you structure and plan your non traditional part of the interview well, you can learn a lot and build confidence in your candidates that your company is a great place to work. Test it and then refine it. If this part of your intake process is important to the decision making, make sure the candidates know that.
     
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  17. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Mercatrix Citrorum Moderator

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    "Have you ever seen a ghost?"

    The one that comes back to me with "What kind of stupid question is that?" does not get hired. Then I look for tells while the person answers the question, like a poker player does. Body language and tells paint a much more accurate picture of an interviewee than practiced words do. If someone is legitimately creeped out by ghosts, they have a tell (shivers). If they think your question is stupid but don't say it, the body won't lie for them. If you know what to look for you can find out all sorts of interesting things about a person. That's usually the reason that you are asked idiotic questions in interviews. It's to gauge your patience, intellect, honesty, and how much smarter you think you are than the interviewer.
     
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  18. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    @Lemon Merchant raises an interesting point. Her skill set is different than most people's so when she asks questions, she is looking for answers that most of us would miss. One should take the personal skill set of the interviewers into account.

    Question: "Have you ever seen a ghost?" No. That would be my answer. If I was feeling good about the interview so far, I might add: "Have you?"
     
  19. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    What kind of stupid quest...

    “I don’t think so. I’ve seen things that I think were optical illusions, but I wouldn’t say they were ghosts.”

    My body language as I’m sitting answering this question indicates thought and interest in your question, but not shivers.

    But I’m also biasing myself though because I’m already aware that this topic is for “stupid” interview questions.
     
  20. bernie14

    bernie14 Filter Manipulator

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    Hmm...a ghost....square shoulders, tilt head while raising eyebrows b/l, pursed smile; " no, I can't say I've ever seen a ghost", slightly and slowly nodding in a diagonal manner. "But I had a very strange experience on one occasion. It was late at night, cuban coffee in hand, trying to get through an interminable batch of dictations, sitting at my small desk in the loft outside my bedroom. Ready to start the next section, I hear "babe", over my right shoulder and respond "what?". No answer. I turn towards the door of my bedroom and it's closed. I stand, move towards the door, open it....my wife is fast asleep. Hmm.. a ghost?...nah. I was tired, stressed and ascribed the incident to some auditory illusion. Took a deep breath, stretched my neck around, unclasped my jaw, turned off the light in the loft and went to bed. I needed to sleep
     

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