Interview questions you’d ask for no reason

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

  1. Valka D'Ur

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

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    Hm. Depending on my mindframe at the time, I might answer:

    1. Yes, many times during my childhood when I read Casper the Friendly Ghost comics.

    2. No, I don't believe in ghosts.

    3. I might mention the weird thing that happened the summer when my grandmother died. I kept her ashes in the broom closet on the front porch, and one Saturday morning I discovered the front door open... around the time when she would normally have left to go shopping. There was no reason for the door to be open, and I know I'd closed it the night before.

    The actual explanation? To this day, 23 years later, I have no idea.

    4. Or, if getting really personal, I might mention the time when I absolutely felt the presence of one of my cats who had died some months before. It's like she was on the bed beside me, wanting a pet and cuddle. That was unsettling.

    As for body language during all this, who knows? I can't predict that. And as we were informed, the actual words don't matter as much as how the person acts and reacts. Are the body movements, the facial expressions, etc. congruent with the words being spoken?

    I watched an interesting video a few days ago about how to spot if someone is lying. Some of the signs displayed by the subject were obvious, even before the presenter explained what signs some interviewers tend to miss.
     
  2. dusters

    dusters Emperor

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    Cheetah. And yes, we do drink milk.
     
  3. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    "Answering which one will get me the job and why?" :dubious:
    "Are all your questions going to be this pointless?"
     
  4. amadeus

    amadeus ▲ Quiddity Crunch ▲

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    Henry! And why not?

    Why yes, thank you. :cool:
     
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  5. Ferocitus

    Ferocitus Deity

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    The one on Red Dwarf. Why would the crème de la crème drink milk?
     
  6. Valka D'Ur

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

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    William Wallace, because men in kilts... :mischief:
     
  7. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Do you have the darkness?
     
  8. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    William Wallace because I know who he is and the next question might be why?

    My understanding is that curveball questions are considered poor interviewing practice nowadays, you are supposed to put the interviewee at ease, so they can demonstrate what their qualities are.
     
  9. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    It all depends so much on the kind of vacancy.

    From my experience in metal industry incl adm people some context before answering:
    In my company, active in very niche techs, high retainment of people, of skills, experience, knowledge relatively important. Also the tension between needed teamship and the need for nerd like individuals.
    For most vacancies, especially the more senior, more managerial, more high-ranking, it is about vertical promotions or horizontal function shifts of existing people.
    It was only when we as company acquired badly HR managed companies that we needed to add new blood at various levels. Normally it was almost all home-grown starting with young people.

    For additions to the employee base I always used the principle that during that interview employer and employee are at "equal" terms and both need to find out whether it makes sense to marry up. Both have not only that responsibility but also means to judge that. After all... both invest and want some reliability of the choice. "we together try to find out"
    Why would I as employer take the risk to narrow the base of the hire decision to only my judgment ?
    Why would I hire someone who did not bother before and during the interview to try to make a proper judgment based on what is reasonable available and possible ?

    And when a candidate, which happened more than once, simply states that much is unclear or he just needs the job regardless... he got rewarded by me with a big smile, invited to shoot as many questions as needed, and we had a nice interview together and often the candidate got the benefit of the doubt if that was needed.
    My two best hire decisions for then still young talents, later high-ups started BTW that way :)


    The typical profiles for new employees I saw pass by over time:

    * Is it about an apprenticeship with a 16 year old candidate ?
    Likely you have a recommendation from a contact at a school or from a colleague or customer.

    * Is it about a simple job description ?
    Likely you already hired that person as temp lease and colleagues that worked with the candidate made the proposal to hire as permanent including arguments.

    * Is it about a medium level skill job, say from craftsman to non-manager engineer ?
    The letter and CV will tell a lot about the bread and butter qualifications needed. If that is not good enough you or HR have already skipped that person for an interview.
    In the interviews I moreover took up the role of a kind of a coach to get during the interview the most important elements and aspects clear. To get candidates out of their often cramped mindset.
    That involved, depending on level, often "moderate" versions of unorthodox questions from my side. But not of the upsetting kind.
    And usualy the first interview by me plus HR and the second interview with future colleagues. Chemistry between people is important.
    In badly managed acquired companies, it could however be that I simply massaged my candidate through because "the chemistry" of the existing people had to be changed.

    * Is it about a bread and butter selling person job ?
    Give that candidate at least room to make a bit of a presence show... is part of the daily job routine when at visitors or when defending "his" customers against production people who are always squeezed.
    And observe how well the homework was done upon you, your company, the described profile. And how well the candidate checks this more directly with questions or indirectly by observing your reactions on what he tells. If he does not... why would I believe that he does that with customers ?
    The main other check, living in cost-up thinking engineering world, is to find out how well they could be "educated" to understand technical solution value thinking to prevent them selling high tech as nuts & bolts commodities.
    This latter part involved more unorthodox questions from my side, like OP mentions.
    Higher ups, certainly selling persons, must be able to handle that. If they sit on the table with a customer they get exposed to similar questions and tricks to knack, to intimidate them. Intimidated selling persons are lossmakers for your company, despite all their usual top-line bravado.

    * Is it about a non-manager pure specialist ?
    Has that candidate the internal drive, purpose, holy flame to pull something through when basically being alone among many inertia and time squeeze forces... backing from upstairs far away.
    Specialists need long interview time (at least in my world).
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  10. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    I don't ask random or irrelevant questions, I just try to throw them off balance in the interview and get them outside their comfort zone. Usually I do this through rapid fire questioning (asking another question before they have the chance to answer the previous one). The reason I do that is because that is a common situation they will find themselves in on the job when dealing with the public so I want to see if they can handle it and take control of the conversation. I'll also test their ability to multitask by having them read the manual describing their duties while also still asking them questions. Again, this is because having their attention being torn between several different tasks is another common situation they'll find themselves in.
     
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  11. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    You would first see a glitter in my eyes

     
  12. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    I believe it was Isaac Newton who opined there might be ghost since no one had ever disproved their existence.
     
  13. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I've generally asked candidates the round manhole cover question. Out of maybe two or three dozen applicants over the years I've had two tell me "because the cover can't fall in". But I'm not asking to see if they know the answer, I'm asking to see how they react to such a stupid weird question.

    In interviews generally (and I try to make my real hiring interview a team interview, with as many of my network engineers - especially senior ones - that I can free up to join in) I'm looking for two things, one is does their skillset really pretty much match their resume/CV, and two do they have any red flags apparent, personality characteristics or anything else that will negatively disrupt the chemistry of my team.

    If I was to ask a question for no reason, it'd be "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow", possibly followed up by "What is your favorite color?"
     
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  14. amadeus

    amadeus ▲ Quiddity Crunch ▲

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    There was a time when “disrupt” meant negatively impact work. Now I think it means “VCs, give us more startup money.”

    It sounds like you work in some technical field, @IglooDude; would you score someone who uses a lot of technical buzzwords poorly? I’ve been out of that for years, so when I heard “cloud computing” for the first time I didn’t realize they were making up a fancy name for running an FTP server.
     
  15. amadeus

    amadeus ▲ Quiddity Crunch ▲

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    What was that stain on Gorby’s head anyway?
     
  16. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    That is the big advantage of being an alchemist with a curious mind.

    As a kid I always wanted very much to meet a real ghost... and invite that ghost for a cup of tea... wondering how that ghost would handle that.
    And then my older brother spoiled it all by telling that there are good, harmless and bad ghosts.

    The Brown Hand of Conan Doyle BTW a nice story how I saw it as child.
     
  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Yeah, if the position is one where you're interacting with hectic customers, then that makes sense. But if you're looking for a programmer that approach won't really work.
     
  18. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I've never learnt anything from those sorts of questions so I don't ask them. I've never been part of an interview process where that sort of question has provided me with the information to distinguish between two or more candidates. In my experience it's always been a waste of a question; better to ask a question like "have you ever had to wing it?" or similar.
     
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  19. Morty

    Morty Prince

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    African or European?? Blue!....no Yellow!
     
  20. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Yes, cellular and wired networking. And yes, they'd score very poorly, as we're engineers, not marketing folk. "Cloud", "IoT", and for that matter "4G" are all terms that are too vague to actually do anything with under the hood.

    You're hired!! :deal:
     
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