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Why do interviewers ask crazy questions?

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A study by Glassdoor has revealed the 10 hardest interview questions that candidates have been asked. The questions vary from the pseudo-mathematical (‘can you estimate the total number of cars in Britain?’) to the pseudo-philosophical (‘is Batman a superhero?’), via some that seem like an obvious trap (‘what’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?’).

Do interviewers really expect you to know how many cars are in the UK? Well, unless they are some sort of car-related think tank, no, they don’t. They just want to see how you approach the problem.

Will you pull a number out of thin air, or will you try to work it out with an application of logic? Or maybe you’d get your phone out and Google it.

None of these are a wrong answer – there isn’t a prize for having the closest estimate. But your answer says more about you than you perhaps realise. If you just guess a number, you’re clearly someone who makes quick decisions. If you try to work it out, you’re clearly something of a problem-solver. And if you whip your phone out, you’re a born researcher.

It’s not about the answer, it’s about the way you answer. It’s a personality test, and a chance to see how your thought-processes work. The information gained from asking questions like these is especially valuable to roles where the candidate would be expected to act under pressure.

We don’t really go in for the outlandish questions – we prefer to chat to our candidates about their experience and what they’re looking for in a job. But many of our clients may well find that questions like these provide useful insight into a candidate.

So if you get asked a question like these in an interview, don’t panic. Don’t worry about giving a right answer. Just answer it in whatever way comes naturally to you.

Although it’s always worth remembering that, technically, Batman is a vigilante.

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