HR Dilemma: Do confusing job interview questions work?

HR Dilemma: Do confusing job interview questions work?

Business leaders seem to be queueing up to reveal their favourite job interview questions.

They range from the bizarre to the brain-boggling to the self-reflective. But do they work?

YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, told The New York Times that her go-to interview question follows on from her detailing a specific YouTube product: “How would you make it better?”

Elon Musk, Founder of SpaceX, told the World Government Summit in Dubai that he grills candidates in the following way: “Tell me the story of your life, and the decisions that you made along the way, and why you made them, and also tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on, and how you solved them."

This isn’t the only head-scratching question they ask at the space tech company. Ashlee Vance, author of a 2015 biography on Musk, detailed another of Musk’s interview conundrums: “You're standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

This is in the vein of Google’s ‘ice cream’ humdinger - revealed by Yasmin Green, Head of Research and Development at Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, at Marie Claire's Power Trip summit last year. She said she liked to ask candidates: “How would you make money from an ice-cream stand in Central Park?”

Research by Accountemps found that creative interview questions help differentiate applicants from their preordained spiel. Glassdoor also backed this up, with findings that indicated a statistical link between a tough interview process and greater employee satisfaction.

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to personal preference. The hiring process should reflect both the interviewer and company culture – and not every firm has a madcap, zany culture. Tell applicants the truth, and you will find the best cultural fit.

What do you think? Creative job interview questions: hindrance or help?

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