Impossible to prepare for; unrelated to the job: jobseekers are facing tougher and weirder questions than ever in job interviews.
Employers are turning to tricky questions to quickly sort through high numbers of candidates, so that only the very best shine through, according to Joe Wiggins, spokesman for Glassdoor in the UK.
"Often it is to see how you react under pressure," Wiggins said. "It’s to see what happens when the rug is pulled from under you – how do you prepare for the completely unexpected?"
Consultancies and tech companies tend to use these kinds of questions more than other sectors, Wiggins said, while interns and entry level candidates get asked more brainteasers, or 'oddball', questions than those higher up.
"The number of candidates for interns is so high that the idea is to throw a grenade in and see what happens," Wiggins told the Independent.
Glassdoor, a site where people anonymously review companies and employers, sifted through user contributions to work out the toughest interview questions in the US and the UK. They ranged from the kind of questions that sounds like they should be debated on a Friday night down the pub, to mathematical conundrums that could be on exam papers.
Candidates at ASDA say they have been asked which superhero they would be, while one candidate at Jefferies, the investment bank, said they were asked their opinion on the ‘Blair Witch Project’.
Google, famous for its weird and wonderful interview questions, once asked interviewees to calculate how many calories are in a grocery store. Some tried to figure out a mathematical formula to work out the answer. Others said none – because the calories are in the food.
HR professionals find that the ‘back to school, back to work’ mentality that sets in in September can make it a busy time for interviews. “The message for candidates is to be prepared for anything and try to practice these sorts of questions, but not to worry too much,” said Wiggins. “No one is going to know the answer to these things.”
Here are the ten toughest interview questions in the US and the UK:
The ten toughest interview questions in the UK in 2015
1. “Can you calculate how many tennis balls are used during the course of Wimbledon?” -Accenture
2. “Estimate the total number of cars in the UK.” – Barclays Investment
3. “How many calories are in a grocery store?” – Google
4. “How would you sell a fridge to an eskimo?” – Harrods
5. “What would you take to a lonely island with you and why?”– Urban Outfitters
6. “Is batman a super hero?” –AlphaSights
7. “You have 17 red and 17 blue balls, and you remove 2 at a time. If the two are the same colour, add in one extra blue ball. If they are different colours, add in an extra red ball. What colour is the final ball removed?”– Geonomics
8. “What cartoon character would you be and why?” – ASDA
9. “What is the wildest thing you have done?” – Metro Bank
10. “What was your opinion of the film Blair Witch Project?” – Jefferies & Company
The ten toughest interview questions in the US in 2015
1. “What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?” – Airbnb
2. “What's your favorite 90s jam?” – Squarespace
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
4. “Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?” – Stanford University
5. “If you had a machine that produced $100 dollars for life what would you be willing to pay for it today?” – Aksia
6. “What did you have for breakfast?” – Banana Republic
7. “Describe the color yellow to somebody who's blind.” – Spirit Airlines.
8. “If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?”– Bose
9. “How many people flew out of Chicago last year?” – Redbox
10. “What's your favorite Disney Princess?” – Cold Stone Creamery