Five of the most creative interview processes

Have you heard of any of these creative interview techniques?

Do you want this job? 

We’ve all heard the classics – “what are your greatest strengths?” and “if you could be one animal what would you be?”. But what are some of the ways that innovative companies are engaging their candidates through creative interview processes? Let’s examine five of the best:

1 – Dealing with unpleasant curve-balls through a food order

Before every new executive hire, CEO of Charles Schwab Corp Walt Bettinger, would invite candidates out for a breakfast interview. What his potential employees didn’t know is that every time, Bettinger would show up early, asking the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order.

Bettinger told the Times that the “Wrong Order” test is to gauge how his hires deal with adversity.

“Are they upset, frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that,” he said.

2 – Staring into the unknown through a Martian's eyes.

Amazon are known for literally thinking inside the box (or parcel) usually, but this creative interview question is an excellent one.

They are known to ask “How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?”.

This isn’t a test of the candidate’s problem-solving skills really – more of how the candidate can think imaginatively under pressure. What are the issues a Martian faces on a daily basis? What would your new species be like? How the candidate answers says a lot about their imagination.

3 – Describing colours to a blind person. 

Spirit Airlines asks potential hires to describe the colour yellow to somebody who's blind.

Try to do it – it’s very difficult! However according to the Head of HR for Spirit, as long as you’re positive and confident, there isn’t a right answer.

"It's not as much about the answer to the question as it is about watching the individual process it very quickly and give us interesting answers," Villa says.

4 – Telling them they can't do the job. 

Now this isn’t a tactic that can be used liberally. However, during a sales interview, seeing how a candidate can deal with rejection or pushbacks is a very important indicator of their suitability, according to Andy Bailey, President of Petra Coach.

“I’ll lean forward and state they can’t do the job. I need them to counter back. Sales is difficult, and they will be rejected time and time again; they need to be tough and this helps me assess their mettle.”.

5 – Answering thousands of unread emails. 

Used by Dropbox, this interview question tests your reasoning, ability to think on your feet, and prioritisation.  “You wake up to 2000 unread emails – but can only answer 300 of them. How do you choose which to answer?”.

Some of our favourite responses to this one include:

“The ones from my boss”, and “I’d start by unsubscribing to unnecessary mailing lists because nobody should receive 2000 emails in a day”.

So as an employer, how do you stand out from the crowd through your interviews? And if you’re a candidate, what are some of the best interview questions you have been asked? 

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