'Multi-tusking' | Is this the MOST 'bizarre job application question' ever?

Is this the MOST 'bizarre job application question' ever?

In an interview or job application, it isn’t uncommon for employers or recruiters to ask an array of questions to see how a candidate thinks.

Some of these could be relative to the task at hand, while others could be curveball questions that are designed to see how well candidates can think on their feet.

One candidate has taken to Twitter sharing what she claims to be the “most bizarre question” she has ever seen on a job application.

The question listed on the job application, as was reported by Newsweek, read: “You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?”

Coming up with a good response for this curveball question may have required a fair bit of ‘multi-tusking’ on the candidate’s part – thinking about how their answer would align with the skills that the role was looking for whilst they also dealt with interview pressure.

While this curveball question was listed on a job application, candidates have been presented with curveball questions from potential employers during job interviews in the past.

In fact, in a previous Reddit thread reported on by HR Grapevine, one candidate shared that they had met an interviewer who had asked them a terrifying question.

User sm0kemonster815 recalled being asked: "You've suddenly been shrunk down to the size of a quarter and dropped into a blender. It's turning on in 10 seconds. What's your plan?"

Another candidate writing under the username of Laterdude had an interview over lunch where they were met with an unexpected question.

The interviewer asked the candidate: “Who was our server today?”

A third candidate was asked how they would respond to a life-threatening situation. Reddit user WeirdWolfGuy was asked by the interviewer: "In the event of a fire in the building is your first priority to pull the alarm or call 911?" 

Should employers use curveball questions?

Recruitment firm REED says on its site that curveball questions can be a good way to gauge a candidate’s creativity and to also determine how well they would work under pressure.

Mandy Watson, Managing Director of Ambitions Personnel, told HR Grapevine that recruiters and employers will often ask “curveball questions to get a reaction from the candidate”.

The recruitment expert added: “Sometimes it’s to break the tension and have the candidate relax, where they’re more likely to show their true personality.”

Despite this, Watson went on to explain that, on the other side of the coin, curveball questions can “put a candidate on the spot and make them feel uncomfortable”.

She added: “There are no right answers to silly questions, which can throw the candidate off. The more silly the question is, the more difficult it is for the candidate to provide a useful answer.”

In some instances, Watson explained that curveball questions can help settle the nerves of candidates and make them feel more relaxed.

Yet, the recruitment expert said that she can’t imagine that asking these unusual and made-up questions will actually be valuable to prospective employers.

“It’s best not to make your interview process too difficult, and stick to what works," she concluded.

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