To get annoyed with pointless interview questions?(53 Posts)
A thread asking for help with thinking of interview questions for a teaching position has led to people saying that in their school they ask things like "why are manhole covers round?" and "if you could be an animal what would you be?". Really??? For a teaching job?? I'd just laugh at the interviewer and consider if I wanted to work for somewhere that considered that relevant. Or perhaps I am behind the times and things have moved on since I last went for interviews many years ago...probably OK if you go for an interview at Google though.
I agree - I think it's ridiculous. It's not that many years since I was interviewing for staff and ok, it was the leisure industry but I found "Can you speak English" "Can you start tomorrow" and occasionally "Are you on the run from the Police" just about covered it! Thankfully I no longer go to interviews but if I did I'd be in all kinds of trouble. How does one keep a straight face when some jumped up oik in a shiny suit asks such fuckwitted questions?
I think these kind of interview questions are designed to test the ingenuity and 'thinking on the spotness'
that's not a real thing of candidates. Cringey but kind of maybe fine in City-type jobs in marketing and PR but in teaching, not so much.
Thinking on the spot and expressing it is a thing. From trusty google:
compose or perform something such as music or a speech without preparation; improvise.
"he extemporized at the piano"
synonyms:improvise, ad lib, play it by ear, think on one's feet, throw/cobble something together, make it up as one goes along, take it as it comes;
Children will ask creative questions, so why not see how a potential teacher responds to this? Teachers will need to think on their feet a lot and deal with the unexpected.
Some manhole covers are round and some are square
I prefer the round ones because you can't drop them down the hole as you lift them out to do an inspection.
I was asked on a course once to draw what animal I would be if I could be any animal. I drew a person and said I would be a human animal because humans are amazing - the only animals we know of that can run, swim, fly, love, grieve, do theoretical physics and brain surgery, survive in almost any part of the planet, etc. and I wouldn't want to be anything else.
I have a friend who was asked in an interview for a shop assistant job if he was an animal what sort of animal he'd be. He said he would be a dog because he's loyal, hard working and a good team player. He didn't get the job, and says he was told it was because they didn't like his answer to the animal question.
I don't know if they just said that because he didn't seem right for the job and they just couldn't put their finger on why, so they just gave a random reason, or if there really was something wrong with his answer.
I would be a bear. I would finally get a fur coat, and I wouldn't have to watch my waistline.
A lot of the "quirky" questions like
The manhole one came from tech companies like Google because they were trying to look for lateral thinking & creativity. I think they were used as a pre-interview exercise where the candidates were given a few questions & 20 mins to think about them/answer them rather than on the spot in front of the panel. I recently read that Google have stopped using them for the simple reason that they didn't give an indication as to whether someone had those skills or not.
All research has shown that the best indicator of "will someone be good at this job" is asking for evidence of where they have used the skills you are looking for eg "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult parent". Even that isn't particularly accurate (only about 60% I think), but it's the most reliable method found so far.
I'm with you OP.
Once some twat asked me what I'd do with 10,000 ping pong balls.
'Shove 'em down your throat' isn't the answer that will get you the job, btw.
Loved my last interview just me and the MD, we discussed the outline job,the company, what I had done in the past, how suited we were and whether we could work together.
2nd interview met my prospective team leader discussed the role and what I would need to do.
No predetermined interview questions, no ridiculous presentations to prepare, no tests to do, I didn't have to find my 'animal' or decide what I wanted to be
in 5 years time when I grow up.
Job offer within 24 hours. Bliss.
When I interview I look primarily for people who I'll happily work with every day without wanting to scream. Some form of spark, and an absence of that soul destroying over-prepped quality. I'm afraid Mr Dog would have been out on his ear before his coffee cooled. It sounds like something an Apprentice candidate would say.
Oh in the past I've been asked to give a 1 minute pitch no warning before I sat down, or had met the panel. Been asked to prepare a 20 minute presentation on how I would improve a business area - never asked to actually present it guess I failed before we got to that part if the interview.
Been given a job following a telephone interview, I should have known when I was able to name my price, working hours and holidays that they were desperate as the company was so shit to work for - sussed it out after 2 days and walked away. And the best left waiting for 30 minutes in the meeting room on a boiling hot day with no open windows or air con when I had asked if the time could be put back and been told no. Got offered that job too but turned it down didn't need another disrespectful boss.
Worst interview I ever had was for a solicitor in a medium size county town. I wasn't living in the country and had to fly in for the interview, which the firm was aware of. I got there and they said that as they had received so many good applications they were going to do an initial sift based on a presentation. They gave us all 20 mins to come up with a presentation on 'Our best friend'. I felt about 7. It didn' t help that I actually had to make up the best friend as I don't really have one. If I had already paid for my flights I would have turned round and walked straight out. Luckily I didn't make it through the first round.
YANBU. I was asked "how long does out take to boil an egg?" in an interview for a lowly bureaucratic position in local government recently. Creative? Fun? No, actually. Just bloody irrelevant, as the job was neither of those things.
Argh Crocodile that is horrendous! I would have walked out right away.
I've been asked the biscuit question
Should have just walked out
What is a good answer to the animal question? I can hardly say "cats, because they don't give a fuck" can I? Stupid questions.
I can hardly say "cats, because they don't give a fuck"
Love it I'd love to have a candidate saý that, I'd hire them on the spot.
If these are the types of questions HR comes up with now they do not deserve to be in a job and schools should know better. How on earth any of this tells the interviewers the people can teach is beyond me. Thankfully I have never been asked anything like this and during all the interviews I conducted in schools ,I would not have dreamt of asking anything so banal either.
YANBU. I interviewed recently for role on board of trustees of local play charity. Nothing customer-facing, just six annual board meetings, entirely voluntary, child and community focused. I was given the full PR style interview including the question: what three words do your friends use to describe you? All I could think of was things like "knickers off now" or "open another one" or even "fuck right off".
Told them it was a terrible question, none of their business and fudged the answer. Didn't get the post. Lucky escape. Bunch of self-important cunts. still bitter
Luckily they didn't ask me if I could tell the difference between underline and strike out!
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