Presenting a resume full of skills and accomplishments, along with answering questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” just doesn’t seem to be enough for some interviewers. Asking brainteaser interview questions is a trend that has been emerging in the last few years says John O’Connor, president of a professional career-coaching and branding company in North Carolina. Popular question examples include:
· How many pounds of breakfast cereal are sold in the U.S. every year?
· What are the decimal equivalents of 5/16 and 7/16?
· How many rocks are on the face of the moon?
· How many jellybeans can fit into a gallon jar?
· Why are manhole covers round instead of square?
John says that the purpose of this style of interviewing is to see what candidates are able to walk them through their way of thinking. They are looking for an applicant who will be thrown a curve ball and not freak out.
Hire Up Staffing knows that not all interviews are ideal and we want to prepare all of you job seekers for the curve ball! Here are some tips to help you stay in control of the interview and keep calm when asked these unexpected questions;
Bring tools – Show up to the interview with pens, paper, markers, calculator, stopwatch and ruler to work out a possible brain teaser. It’s unlikely that you’ll be asked, point blank, how many times heavier an elephant is than a mouse and be expected to answer it on the spot. You’ll have time, and depending on the job and the field, what you do on your scratch paper is more important than the conclusion you reach.
Don’t be shocked – A question might surprise you or seem silly given the job for which you’re interviewing, but don’t let it throw you. Again, the answer is usually not the destination. Sometimes the wackiest question deserves an equally wacky process to reach a conclusion, but do take the questions seriously. Don’t assume that it’s being asked to tick you off or make you the butt of a human-resources joke.
Question the question – Show your ability to think through a problem by asking a clarifying question regarding the brain teaser, suggests Paul Bailo, a New York-based recruiter and author of “The Official Phone Interview Handbook.”
“Asking a follow-up question will give your mind a break and buy you time to help you fully understand what is being asked so you don’t solve the wrong problem,” Bailo says.
Speak out your logic – Listen to what you are thinking, Bailo adds. “Sounding out” the process of reaching an answer can help you think through the process in a different way. “Leveraging the logical speaking method will allow for a quicker answer and faster mental processing,” he says. “Think of it as reading a book out loud, only the book you are reading out loud is your mind thinking through a problem.”
See what you are thinking – Just like sounding out a problem can give your brain a productive whack, drawing it out can help you edit and improve your approach.
Practice – You can’t prepare for the exact question unless you’re sure you know what they’ll ask. But you can exercise your mind by reading philosophy books, playing mental games, doing crossword puzzles and thinking about big problems, O’Connor says. “How would you solve the world energy crisis? What would the world do without drinking water? Think of these exercises as a workout for your mind.”