Glassdoor, which is my absolute favourite site in terms of everything HR related, every year publishes the weirdest (they call it oddest) interview questions. Although there may be some discussion in terms on why the companies are looking for by asking them (from "see how quickly you can switch from one subject to another random one" where the thing is quick response to "see how you justify something nearly impossible to justify" where it is about finding strange arguments for even stranger points of view) I think all of us who did perform interviews in the past both as interviews and candidates will agree that this approach definitely makes us know the candidate (and the company) far better that the "standard" questions everyone usually ask. They show the way you think without you having to subjectively judge the subject. And they are absolutely brilliant.
I am going to publish all the list of weird interview questions in here, not only Glassdoor one from 2015, but also from previous years, along with Michael Page list, so you can all get prepared. Ready? Here it goes:
All of them have links to answers (directly in Glassdoor, and if you haven't signed up yet or even worse, if you don't know the site, I strongly recommend you do sign up and follow it), and I have a favourite one in all on them as well, which I do not publish on purpose, since it's all about you trying to respond them quickly yourselves before viewing the possible answer.
If you have not, than check them again and write an answer to every single one of them before the 2014 favourites come.
The Best Ones from 2013:
At the end, I want to share with you the "Expert´s opinion" on the 2015 ones, so you can see what HR specialists think that other HR specialists seek in the candidates when asking these kinds of questions. I will also add my favourite possible reply, since it is all subjective and is supposed to show the others how you really are (and yes, know you better, because if you are not selected, it means you were not meant for the job).
1. "What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?" --This question was asked of an Airbnb trust and safety investigator job candidate.
As with all the oddball questions, interviewees should relate their answers back to the workplace, Dobroski noted. In this case, a potential response could include how to ensure the survivor's safety, as well as checking the rest of the plane to make sure there were no other survivors. Asking about nearby resources, such as radio or cell phone towers, could also help show the interviewer that the applicant can think ahead and plan for emergencies.
My favourite answer: Be glad that I was flying solo that day.
2. "What's your favorite '90s jam?" -- A Squarespace customer care job candidate.
While this might seem goofy, Dobroski notes that this open-ended question is a way for a candidate to show off their positive qualities. "I could answer, 'All Star' by Smash Mouth. This reminds me to keep reaching for the stars,'" Dobroski said. "These can be very short responses, as long as you relate it back to the workplace."
My favourite answer: Virtual Insanity (or anything else, really, you can fill that one with whatever)
3. "If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?" -- Dropbox rotation program job candidate.
This is the type of situation that almost everyone deals with today, but it also allows the candidate to show how he or she would prioritize in a potentially stressful situation, Dobroski noted. Candidates could note that they'd search for names of people and subject line terms that would need attention first, for example.
My favourite answer: The automated pre-filtering I have setup should group the most important ones into key folders and then I just scan through the sender names and subject lines for the most critical ones first.
4. "Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?" -- Stanford University medical simulationist job candidate.
This is a circumstantial type of question where a candidate could ask the interviewer for more information, such as whether the fight is in a cave (giving Batman an edge) or the top of a building (Spiderman). "This shows how you assess an unexpected challenge," Dobroski noted. Giving a one-word answer such as "Spiderman" isn't what employers want to hear (no matter how much you love Spidey.)
My favourite answer: It already happened, and Spiderman won. Why else do you think Batman has to wear his underpants on the outside? That was the losing bet...
What one *can* extract from this question is an interesting Case Study of cross-IP ventures between the two extant leading comic book publishers: Marvel and DC. Here, there are much clearer metrics: generated grassroots excitement in the social networking spaces and in print, online, radio, and television media. Sales of print and digital copies of such a crossover. Critic reviews and user based reviews. Overall profit. The lasting legacy of exerting some form of influence on pop culture and future comic book artists and writers, as well as the corporate strategy of comic book companies themselves.
The Case Study itself will evolve depending on what question you deem most important is. Do you simply want to know whether cross-IP ventures are profitable or not? Do you want to measure marketing vs grassroots advertising effectiveness and reach in an effort to maximize the impact per dollar spent on advertising? Or do you want to tackle the more nebulous topic of the comic book battle's lasting legacy in pop culture and comic book fandom?
The questions you're interested in define the metrics you'd be most interested in gathering. You can then discuss *how* exactly to measure each metric, what your data sources are, the accuracy and quality or veracity of such data sources, the cost of data gathering, and so on.
Penultimately, such metrics would be next to pointless unless you also developed a model for cross-IP ventures. What are the variables associated with such a venture, and how would tweaking them affect the metrics outcomes? Perhaps you discover that anonymous seeding (or astroturfing) social networks has value as long as you don't exceed a certain threshhold and get caught, at which point it has a negative effect on your marketing campaign. Instead, you invest more in teasers and cleverly orchestrated and short vignettes, optimized for the chances to stimulate a viral response.
All this is, of course, relevant to Medical Simulation. The creativity, the will to embark on novel scientific inquiries, the discipline of defining metrics, the analytical skill behind developing a working model of the entire enterprise, and the determination to refine all these with further investigation.
Lastly, Batman of course. Strength of will and mental aptitude always trumps being able to shoot proteinaceous silk out your butt.
5. "If you had a machine that produced $100 dollars for life, what would you be willing to pay for it today?" -- Aksia research analyst job candidate.
Candidates could ask the interviewer for more information, such as whether there is only one of these machines available or if there's a glut. Asking about whether there is risk involved -- such as whether the owner could be targeted by criminals -- could also help show analytic skills, Dobroski noted.
My favourite answer: Considering that the question is asked wrong, first we need to know if it it 100 USD for life or per year for life. As soon as the interviewer gives us an answer, assuming it is per year, we need present value of a perpetuity with a $100 annual payment.
PMT= payment per period
r= discount rate
Given current US fed reserve discount rate is 0.75%, the Present value of such a device would be $13,333.33
Answer varies obviously if discount rate changes or if proper phrasing was meant to be $100 for a different time period.
6. "What did you have for breakfast?" -- Banana Republic sales associate job candidate.
This sounds like small talk, but it allows the interviewer to gauge whether the candidate is an upbeat person and can relate to other people. Sales associates are asked questions all day long by customers, and keeping upbeat energy is important.
My favourite answer: This job's requirements (watch out though, you can not answer that way if there is no good feeling between the interviewer and yourself AND if it is not true).
7. "Describe the color yellow to somebody who's blind." -- Spirit Airlines flight attendant job candidate.
This question tests a candidate's sensitivity and how they gather information. An applicant could ask whether the person is partially blind and when they became blind, helping to formulate an answer and deal with someone's disability. "There are times when they have to work with passengers with special needs," Dobroski noted.
My favourite answer: You can't. But if you had you, it is best to use other senses to describe it. Yellow is a bright colour that fills a person with happiness and joy. It is the colour that warms us up in summer, as it is the colour of sun. It is also the colour of sunflower and banana, so it smells like a shake in the summer. Yellow is laughter, joy, youth and happiness. It is a warm handshake or a friendly hug.
8. "If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jellybeans, what would you do?" -- Bose IT support manager job candidate.
Unloading a plane full of jellybeans is no small task, so this allows a candidate to show off their project management skills. An interviewee could ask what the budget is, when the deadline is for unloading the plane, and whether they have machinery or staff to work with. That will help demonstrate the candidate's ability to think through all the possible dimensions of the challenge.
My favourite answer: Assuming they are loose jelly beans, and their unloading needs to be managed rather than just dumped on the tarmac ... Start by phoning the people at the other end, of the process. They managed to load an entire plane with jellybeans! Any group that can figure out how to fill a plane with jelly beans may be a big help in undoing this mess.
9. "How many people flew out of Chicago last year?" -- Redbox software engineer II job candidate.
This question for an entry-level engineering job is, not surprisingly, geared toward assessing a candidate's analytic skills. The interviewee could walk through their thinking, such as how many flights go in and out of Chicago each day, how traffic surges at the holidays, and come up with an answer. The interviewer isn't interested in the correct answer, Dobroski noted. Rather, it's all about how a candidate handles such problems.
My favourite answer: There is 3 mln people living in chicago, but there is 12 mln in Illinois and some of them are going to be flying as well, if we take 10% plus all the ones that pass through the city we can get 15 planes/hr x 24 hr/day x 365 days/yr x 150 people/plane (avg) = 20 Millions aprox.
10. "What's your favorite Disney Princess?" -- Coldstone Creamery crew member job candidate.
This question is all about getting a candidate to show off their personality. Responses should link back to the business, Dobroski noted. "You might say, 'I like Cinderella. She epitomizes someone who works hard, is well liked and has overcome some challenges. That's how I approach work,'" he said.
My favourite answer: Why be a Princess when one can be a Queen? Besides, I prefer old-school Maleficent. She was decisive and stayed on point for 16 years.