I’m posting this article more for fun than for serious thought. My niche is construction recruitment and I’ve found over the years that very deep interrogative interview questions are mostly off the mark. When it comes to construction the focus should be on: 1) cultural fit; and 2) ability to deliver on projects. Delivery incorporates: Did you finish the project? Was it profitable? Were there comebacks?
The construction industry is very conservative. If you’ve already delivered 6 successful projects then it’s likely you’ll deliver the 7th. If you’ve been promoted from Senior Site Agent to Contracts Manager then it’s almost definite that it was done on merit, based on years of assessment. There’s no way I can better that in a 60 minute interview. If you’ve worked for a company that has a collaborative management style, it’s unlikely that you’ll make a successful move across to an authoritative regime.
A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
Here are the 20 toughest interview questions asked by the world’s top firms (sourced from Glassdoor, a global recruitment company):
- “What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?” – Marketing and Communications Employee, The Phoenix Partnership
- “What am I thinking right now?” – Regional Director, TES Global
- “How would your enemy describe you?” – Advertising Sales Grad Scheme, Condé Nast
- “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
- “What’s the most selfish thing you’ve ever done?” – Graduate Consultant, PageGroup
- “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
- “If your best friend was here what advice would he give you?” – Central Clearing Counterparty, American Express
- “Describe your biggest weakness. Then describe another.” – Forward Deployed Software Engineer, Palantir Technologies
- “How do you cope with repetition?” – Product Specialist, Tesla Motors
- “How would you describe cloud computing to a seven-year old?” – Graduate Scheme, Microsoft
- “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
- “Who is your hero, and why?” – Product Quality Employee, GE
- “What’s your the biggest regret managing people so far?” – Area Director, Regus
- “What would you ask the CEO if you met him one day?” – Performance Analyst, British Airways
- “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
- “What does social justice mean to you?” – Content Marketing Manager, ThoughtWorks
- “What is your coping mechanism when you have a bad day?” – Consultant, Switch Consulting
- “Are you a nice guy?” – Product Manager, Badoo
- “Provide an estimate for the number of goals in the premier league.” – Management Accountant, VAX
- “Tell me about your childhood.” – Learning and Development Employee, Next