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Graduate Careers Advice Video: Difficult Interview Questions
Is life a comedy or a tragedy?
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What is 70% of 7? Which I was asked once asked in an interview - it's 4.9, I worked out afterwards.
I don't necessarily want to see an answer; I don't have a set answer to the question. In fact, I don't think I can answer it myself and that's the point actually, I want to see how the person reacts. If they react to be completely flustered and they fall apart then what you're actually finding out about them is that they are not going to perform well under pressure. If they smile, take it in the spirit that it's meant and give you a reasoned answer then whatever the outcome of that answer you know that they're the kind of person you can work with.
I think we like to see people on the back foot, see how quickly they react under pressure. We will always get asked difficult questions by our clients who will expect us to be the font of all knowledge.
Fundamentally an interview is not about how long you can spend asking people questions so whether you spend 45 minutes, 10 minutes or half an hour interviewing someone, actually what you're doing is trying to work out fundamentally is whether that person is right for the company and right for the job at hand.
People prepare for an interview which is great but part of it, you want to pick out the things they haven't prepared and get an honest response. You want to see under pressure how their personality emerges.
I think taking time out to think about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with there being a long pause while you think and ponder rather than launching straight in with the first thing that comes into your head because inevitably you may sit there afterwards and regret it.
It can be, maybe not always, but it can be the sign of a not very professional interview because how on earth do you measure any answer to the tragedy/comedy thing in terms of a particular job.
To be honest I've never used that technique in interviewing because I don't think it demonstrates either party in the best possible light. I would rather ask direct questions which are relevant to the job and I've generally found that you can get a very good understanding of a person and their skill set just by being quite open about what the role is and what you want them do.
People ask curveball questions in interviews all the time and it's really a way of seeing how you react rather than actually really what your answer is, so if you do get a curveball questions, just don't let it phase you, take your time, consider it, give your answer and then ask them the same question back.
If you're having a horrible time you're probably either never going to get on with the person interviewing you or you're not right for the company. So it's a good near miss and you'll go onto the next one and you'll find the right interview for you.
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