Are Your Interview Questions Getting Stale?

By Small BusinessFOXBusiness

Business owners looking to grow their teams in 2014 should think outside of the box when it comes to interview questions, says online jobs and career site Glassdoor.

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On Friday, Glassdoor released its list of the top 25 oddball interview questions, based on tens of thousands of questions shared with the site by job candidates during 2013.

“You can benefit from using these questions for the right role, and judge the candidates you’re interviewing better,” says Glassdoor senior vice president of people Allyson Willoughby.

While candidates are likely prepared to answer classic questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” or “Why do you want to work here?,” asking more unique, thought-provoking or even bizarre questions can provide much more insight into the applicant, says Willoughby.

Her favorite questions from the list included: “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” and “How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?” Seem too crazy to be real? The first question is asked by Bed, Bath & Beyond when interviewing for sales associates, and the second query comes from Goldman Sachs.

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With the first question, there’s clearly no right or wrong answer, but the way in which a candidate answers can be revealing about their personality, and how well they would fit within the company.

Another question that falls into this category is asked by Zappos, which has applicants answer the question, “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?”

For questions similar to the pizza query asked by Goldman Sachs, Willoughby says the candidate’s answers helps provide an understanding as to how he or she approaches a problem.

“It’s all about how the logic process works,” says Willoughby, who explains that interviewers should have candidates walk them through each step of their reasoning as they answer the question. “It’s about looking at people’s analytical skills,” she adds.

While employers should be ready to entertain a wide variety of answers to these types of questions, Willoughby says it’s a definite warning sign if candidates refuse to answer a question they haven’t prepared for.

“The worst thing [for a candidate to do] is to be a deer in headlights, or say a really quick, “I don’t know,” or give a quick answer that’s not thoughtful,” says Willoughby. “I totally understand that people feel put on the spot … but then they may not be the best fit for the role.”

Here are five more of the oddball questions Glassdoor compiled:

• “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” – Apple • “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” – Xerox • “What was the last gift you gave someone?” – Gallup • “What's the color of money?” – American Heart Association • “You're a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?” – Urban Outfitters

See the full list of questions at Glassdoor.

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