While many companies are opting to ask ‘oddball’ interview questions to encourage candidates to think on their feet, over half (52.1%) of professionals in the UK don’t think this is the right approach to take, with one third (35%) believing that they do not reveal whether the candidate is right for the job or not. That’s according to a recent study from the independent job board, CV-Library.
The research, which surveyed 1,200 UK workers, set out to explore how professionals felt about oddball interview questions, and to discover the craziest questions workers had been faced with. The study found that two thirds (62%) have been asked a tricky interview question in the past, with 57.2% admitting that they struggled with their answer.
Below are ten examples:
Jake from Swansea said: The weirdest question I’ve ever been asked was “when a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?” I was stumped.
Sean from Farnborough said: I was asked “how would you deal with an explosive being thrown through the window in the workplace?” I’m just hoping I’m never faced with that situation.
Kevin from Newcastle said: The hiring manager said to me “are you able to deal with banter?” I immediately began questioning what the company culture would be like there.
Siobhan from Belfast said: The interviewer asked me “how lucky are you and why?” I hope it wasn’t because I’m Irish!
Natalie from Brighton said: The weirdest thing I’ve been asked was “if you were a Disney character which would you be and why?” I knew the answer straight away of course, but it was still very odd!
Alex from Yorkshire said: When applying for a summer job in a pub I was asked “if the bar was busy and a local came in from a farm smelly from muck spreading with his pet goose on a lead would you refuse to serve him?”
Alice from Reigate said: I found it quite humorous despite being a little lost for words when I was asked, “if you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be and why?”
David from Bristol said: I was honestly lost for words when they asked me “what would be your preferred shoe size?” I couldn’t work out what that had to do with being an accountant (or with any job for that matter!).
Charlie from Leeds said: To this day I don’t know what the right answer to this questions is – “what would you serve for a breakfast for an African king?”
James from Doncaster said: I was asked “would you be prepared to break the law?” Needless to say I would not, and I quickly declined the job offer.
Other key findings include:
- A quarter of workers (25.9%) think tricky interview questions don’t cover the important facts an interviewer needs to know
- And one in 10 (9.6%) would be put off applying to a company if they knew they notoriously asked these types of tough questions
- That said, 8% do think oddball interview questions are a good approach to take
- Of those, 63.7% believe it shows an interviewer that you’re able to think on their feet
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “There are some big organisations out there that have become known for their crazy interview questions and while these may feel like a good idea to get candidates thinking on their feet and being creative, it’s clear that job hunters are feeling the pressure.
“In fact, with one in 10 being put off applying for a role because of these types of question, businesses could potentially be losing out on some talented new recruits. If you insist on including quirky interview questions, just be sure you have collected all the important information first, so you can make a fair judgement based on the candidate’s ability to do the job and to contribute to the business.”