Wacky interview questions – what would you do?

Thursday, September 18th, 2008 - Job Interview

Robert asks: A few weeks ago I saw a job posting for a corporate in-house attorney position. They had an automated online “interview” (in reality, application) procedure which was pretty straightforward (e.g.. “do you have experience in the following areas?”) but then they got to the goofy stuff. Here’s the question that took the cake:

Q. Which of the following is the all-time best lawyer movie (or possibly “courtroom movie”)?

1. “To Kill A Mockingbird”
2. “Twelve Angry Men”
3. “A Civil Action”
4. “The Firm”
5. “My Cousin Vinny.”

They actually asked this, and of course you could not skip it. What reason can there be for asking this question? Would YOU ask this question in an online application?

In answer:
It’s either a psych question, or a stumble/WTF question! Does the answer matter – if its a psych question, possibly, but under European law could be considered highly discriminatory on age grounds.

A stumble question is meant to trip you up, lose your concentration and – see what happens afterwards in the next question: would have been interested to know what the question after this one was.

Any question in an interview is meant to create a different situation where the potential employee can be assessed on both their answer and choice of. It is often difficult creating pressure situations, so many job application processes and interviews try either the psych path or the goofy to create a situation in a different way.

The answer on how to approach all such questions in a job application process is – take a breath or two and think; then pick an answer you can stand by and know the reason you choose it over other options. That way, you will have shown your best, and although you may not be “right” for that employer, you will never again question if you got the answer wrong.

Good Luck!

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