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Posted on January 27, 2012
Job applicants say and do the darndest things during interviews.
Come to think of it, so do companies.
The employment interview is a unique social kabuki dance that allows employers and prospective employees to learn about one another. It is also a serious business where funny things happen as applicants attempt to distinguish themselves and companies use baffling questions to find the most creative and intelligent people available.
The online job board CareerBuilder.com surveyed hiring managers about their funniest experiences. The responses included:
But employers are not above adding their own brand of fun to the job interview. William Poundstone’s recent book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? documents the efforts of a growing number of companies to emulate the practice at Google of challenging applicants with brain teasers, logic puzzles and mind-bending riddles.
Here are some of the toughest and most off-beat questions, as compiled by Glassdoor.com:
Other companies ask applicants how many ping-pong balls would fit in the Mediterrean Sea? Can you swim faster in water or syrup? When there’s a wind blowing, does a round-trip by plane take more time, less time, or the same time?
Technology companies such as IBM were the first to use logic puzzles in job interviews, but the trend has recently spread to companies in non-technical sectors of the economy.
The best thing that a job candidate or an employer can do when confronted with an unusual approach to the interview is not to rush or get flustered. Take your time, take a breath and concentrate on your objective or the answer.
What funny or unusual stories do you have from job interviews? We invite you to share them in the response area below.