Are brainteasers the way to go?
A new list of the toughest interview questions in the UK in 2014 has been released by Glassdoor and it’s topped with ‘brainteaster’ questions. But do these types of questions give you insight into the candidate or do they reflect more about the company?
A brainteaser question asks interviewees for a solution to either a scenario or ‘would you rather’ type questions. It is less about the candidate providing the right answer and more about how the person approaches the question. Some of the questions really make you think: How would you describe an atom to a child? How many golf balls could I fit in this cubicle? And if you play a game of Russian roulette, is it better to go first or second?
Brainteasers are often industry specific. If you are interviewing as a sales associate at Harrods you may be asked how you would sell a fridge to an Eskimo, but if you are interviewing for an engineering position with Palantir Technologies you may have to work out how much water flows under London Bridge in 24 hours.
However, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, has said that brainteasers are a “waste of time”, and in general just serve to make the interviewer feel good. They have since been banned at Google. Structured behavioural interviews are the way to go, Mr Bock said in an interview with The New York Times.
“The interesting thing about the behavioural interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information. One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable ‘meta’ information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult,” Mr Bock says.
Whether you decide to ask brainteaser questions or structured behavioural assessments, recruitment is an important part of the HR process. HRMS software can help walk you through the process and ensure you are in full control.