Do Weird Questions in Job Interviews Really Bear Fruit?


If I were a fruit, I would be a banana; nice thick skin on the outside, but peel into me and there is a softer side. Or maybe I would be a grape, I work great in groups; or a lemon, tart and feisty.

Come to think of it, that question is pretty easy. But maybe not if it came during a job interview. You think I am kidding? Human resource guru Mark McNulty says you should think again.

As he sat at Starbucks last week, he says, he couldn't help but overhear a young man being interviewed for a job. Question: If you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?  "I couldn't believe my ears," says McNulty, president of HR Dimensions in Indianapolis, the Career Partners International – Indianapolis firm. "I actually looked around the room to see if there was a hidden camera filming this for a TV reality show."  The man answered: watermelon. McNulty strained his ears to hear why, but try as he might, he just couldn't hear.  "I didn't want to be too conspicuous," he says.

Silly, outrageous interview questions. There are plenty out there. Forget the usual "Where do you want to be in 10 years?" or "How do you work in teams?" or "What is your best quality?"  interviewers are getting trickier and more, well, goofy. After asking friends and colleagues, I found some whacked questions are circulating out there.  "What movie star do you think would make the best employee?" "What color describes your personality and why?" "Which character on 'Seinfeld' are you most like?"  And my favorite: "Are you more like a placid pool of water or a running hose?"  This one was posed to the brother of William Butch Fennema, an associate professor of business at the University of Indianapolis.

"The people who ask these types of questions believe themselves to be experienced psychologists or worse," he says. "They believe that by asking a few questions completely out of context they can do a good psychological profile of an interviewee."

Kevin Fosso has plenty of stories of crazy interviews.  During one, he says, he wasn't asked a single question but instead listened to the interviewer put down subordinates. At a lunch interview, one boss showed up 15 minutes late wearing mismatched shorts and T-shirt and no socks. His excuse: He had been at a garage sale.

In a recent column, I suggested job candidates' behavior had gotten out of hand. But Fosso believes employers need some rehabilitation themselves.  At times, "the interviewers simply behaved like jerks," he says. But Fosso did appreciate my heads-up on the fruit question.  "I would be a star fruit, because I am such a star performer," he says. "Thanks. Now I'm ready for that one."

Source: Indianapolis Star

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