Matt Stevens from TalentLens UK reveals the 10 toughest UK interview questions in 2015 and examines why employers are increasingly asking them.
Imagine the scene - a fresh faced graduate, armed with A-levels and a 2:1 who has successfully negotiated several ability tests, an application form, telephone interviews and a personality assessment is having an interview with their dream employer.
They have prepared assiduously, feel slightly nervous, but ready. Then they are asked one of the below questions.
1. “Can you calculate how many tennis balls are used during the course of Wimbledon?” -Accenture
2. “Estimate the total number of cars in the UK.” – Barclays Investment
3. “How many calories are in a grocery store?” – Google
4. “How would you sell a fridge to an eskimo?” – Harrods
5. “What would you take to a lonely island with you and why?”– Urban Outfitters
6. “Is Batman a super hero?” –AlphaSights
7. “You have 17 red and 17 blue balls, and you remove 2 at a time. If the two are the same colour, add in one extra blue ball. If they are different colours, add in an extra red ball. What colour is the final ball removed?”– Geonomics
8. “What cartoon character would you be and why?” – ASDA
9. “What is the wildest thing you have done?” – Metro Bank
10. “What was your opinion of the film Blair Witch Project?” – Jefferies & Company
Compiled by the anonymous review site, Glassdoor, the vexing list is a simple reflection of current candidate trends.
As discussed previously, the sheer volume of graduate candidates has led employers to look at factors away from academic qualifications.
Indeed, several large firms in the UK have removed A-levels from their graduate entry requirements.
As explained by Joe Wiggins from Glassdoor in The Independent, "Often it is to see how you react under pressure. It’s to see what happens when the rug is pulled from under you – how do you prepare for the completely unexpected?"
The above companies are looking for candidates' ability to problem solve by thinking critically, in order to complete the new and complex task they have been presented with.
To illustrate this point, for the Google question (3), 'How many calories in a grocery store?', answers varied from some people trying to apply a mathematical formula to the problem (thus attempting to apply their learned knowledge and experience) to others simply replying 'none - because the calories are in the food' (thus demonstrating an ability to think critically and solve the problem).
The objectivity that measures of critical thinking or numerical and abstract reasoning provide employers during the recruitment process continues to endure.
Recruiting good graduates is fairly straight-forward. We can help you to find the best. Download our graduate recruitment brochure and explore how we can help you to determine the general ability and personality traits of your applicants.
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