Interview questions remain a source of fascination for many people – even those not currently hunting for a new job. Everyone has a perspective on the ‘right way’ to answer ‘what’s your biggest weakness?’ or ‘tell us about yourself?’ And those facing an imminent grilling can spend hours coming up with model answers to dozens of questions they expect to be asked.
Of course, interviews aren’t supposed to work like exams. They’re as much about demonstrating your personality as they are about coming up with a good answer. Your enthusiasm, approachability and ability to remain calm under pressure are as important as ticking the core competency boxes (or at least they should be if the interviewer is any good).
Today the job site Glassdoor, which allows users to rate employers and submit questions they have been asked in interviews, published its list of the 20 toughest it has seen this year. One candidate at TES Global was asked ‘What am I thinking right now?’ – a classic in the genre of impossible questions, designed to see how unflappable you are under pressure. In this case your best bet is to take a leaf out of a politician's book and steer the answer towards something you want to talk about - 'You're thinking about how my 7 years of experience at ACME Plc make me uniquely qualified for this role.'
See the full list below:
1. ‘What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?’ - Marketing and Communications Employee, The Phoenix Partnership
2. ‘What am I thinking right now?’ - Regional Director, TES Global
3. ‘How would your enemy describe you?’ - Advertising Sales Grad Scheme, Condé Nast
4. ‘If you had a friend who was great for a job and an identical person who was just as good, but your friend earned you £2,000 less, who would you give the job to?’ - Associate Recruitment Consultant, Hays plc
5. ‘What's the most selfish thing you've ever done?’ - Graduate Consultant, PageGroup
6. ‘You are stranded on the moon with a group of other astronauts and you need to travel 200 miles back to base, here is a list of 15 items salvaged from the wreckage of the spacecraft you were travelling in. List them in order of importance.’ - Sales Employee, Turnstone Sales
7. ‘If your best friend was here what advice would he give you?’ - CCP, American Express
8. ‘Describe your biggest weakness. Then describe another.’ - Forward Deployed Software Engineer, Palantir Technologies
9. ‘How do you cope with repetition?’ - Product Specialist, Tesla Motors
10. ‘How would you describe cloud computing to a 7 year old?’ - Graduate Scheme, Microsoft
11. ‘There are three people, each with different salaries, and they want to find the average of them without telling any of the other two their salary. How do they do it?’ - Technical Delivery Graduate, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
12. ‘Who is your hero, and why?’ - Product Quality Employee, GE
13. ‘What’s your the biggest regret managing people so far?’ - Area Director, Regus
14. ‘What would you ask the CEO if you met him one day?’ - Performance Analyst, British Airways
15. ‘You have 50 red and 50 blue objects. Split these however you like between two containers to give the minimum/maximum probability of drawing one of the colours’ - Operations Analyst, Clearwater Analytics
16. ‘What does social justice mean to you?’ - Content Marketing Manager, ThoughtWorks
17. ‘What is your coping mechanism when you have a bad day?’ - Consultant, Switch Consulting
18. ‘Are you a nice guy?’ - Product Manager, Badoo
19. ‘Provide an estimate for the number of goals in the premier league.’ - Management Accountant, VAX
20. ‘Tell me about your childhood.’ - Learning and Development Employee, Next