Extreme Interviewing: how to handle weird techniques



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Teri Bernstein, MBA, CPA has been teaching full time in the Business Department of Santa Monica College since 1985.  Prior to that, she worked in Internal Audit and Special Financial Projects for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, CBS, Inc., and Coopers & Lybrand (which is now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers).  She attended the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

from beautyriot.com  interview disasters

To get the job, you have to get through the interview. Tiffany Hsu writes about the out-of-the-box techniques that some interviewers are using to hire the individuals the company thinks they want. The article: "Extreme Interviewing," in the Sunday Los Angeles Times.  According to Ms. Hsu:

"Firms increasingly want a real-time look at how prospects tackle problems, gin up new ideas, handle change and work as part of a team. To assess these amorphous qualities, interviewers at some firms have adopted aspects of reality shows, quiz programs or Broadway auditions."

All kinds of unusual questions might be asked, such as:

  • Name five uses for a stapler, without the staples
  • Would Gandhi have made a good software engineer?
  • Does life fascinate you?
  • Room, desk, or car--which do you clean first?

"Companies are being more innovative not just in finding people who fit the work but also those who fit the culture," said Charles Purdy, a career analyst for the Monster job listing website. "As the workplace changes because of society norms and technology, the classic job interview is going to change as well."

Follow up:

  • Check out the "Top Mistakes Made by Applicants" sidebar in the article linked above. Which of these mistakes have you made during interviews? What other mistakes have you made?
  • Check out the Glassdoor site to sample some brain teasers and baffling questions that interviewers might use. If confronted with some of these questions during an interview, and no way to answer them, how might you otherwise demonstrate your critical thinking skills during an interview?
  • How would you answer Tony Hsieh's (CEO of Zappos.com) interview question that was mentioned in the article?
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