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This was an interesting little clip I saw in the Globe and Mail newspaper some time ago ...
Job seekers report being asked these brain teasers in interviews according to glassdoor.com.
How many tennis balls are in this room and why? (Asked at yahoo)
If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it? (Apple)
If you were a brick in the wall which brick would you be and why? (Nestle, USA)
How would you move Mount Fuji? (Microsoft)
What do you think your eulogy would say about you? (Nationwide insurance)
Source: Wired, UK and The Globe and Mail Wednesday May 12th.
Generally speaking there are no definitive answers to these questions, but there are many right or wrong answers! These companies were looking for their applicants to be creative, to think "on their feet", to be sharp enough to think through an abstract problem and to come up with an answer that is in some way "right".
This is an excellent example of why it is important to be prepared when heading to an interview. If you know that the company asks these type of questions then you can practice a few to get in the right frame of mind. You are less likely to be "thrown" by questions that might seem "oddball" if not expected.
So ... the moral here is to be prepared before you go. Gather as much as possible of the basic information, as well as any "insights" into the company's interview techniques!
1. Know about the company. What they do, how they are doing, who are the key players ... a little research on the website. Know who the competitors are and how they stack up. Have they been in the news lately?
2. Know about the job. Before you go find out as much as possible, what does it entail, who does it report to, what is the atmosphere/culture like (relaxed/formal, large team/small team etc).
3. Have some questions thought out before you go. It is a little lame to get to the end of the interview and not have anything to ask ... there are always things to ask. Certainly you want to understand the process and when you can expect to be contacted. You will want to know if there is anything you could do to prepare before joining the company ... research, documentation (passports etc). You could ask about future direction, about charitable involvement of staff, about training programs, about company sports teams etc.
4. Work at the logistics. Know where to go, and give yourself plenty of time. Dress appropriately and ensure you are "bright eyed and bushy tailed". Arrive with a positive outlook and maintain it throughout.
There are lots of sites that give information about preparing for interviews ... here are some to check out:
10 Tips via Monster
Job Interview prep via Live Career
Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions
31 Common Interview Questions and answers
Lots of good information in here, and it all supports the idea that the better prepared you are the better chance you have for success!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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