Job candidates no longer have only their CV and expected
interview questions to prepare for when it comes to winning
their dream job. It seems they may also need to know what
sort of dinosaur they are.
An increasing number of overseas employers are ditching the
traditional questions in favour of 'extreme interviewing',
the Daily Mail has reported.
The technique, pioneered by Apple co-founder late Steve Jobs,
involves throwing odd, unrelated questions at candidates to
see how they react.
Examples include, 'If you were a dinosaur, what would you
be?', 'Name five uses for a stapler, without the staples' and
'Name three Lady Gaga songs'.
The questions are designed to get a sense of someone's
personality, make them think on their feet and to distinguish
the average from those who are exceptional.
It may be some time before the trend catches on here, however
- few recruiters or employers spoken to had heard of it - and
it drew mixed responses about its usefulness as a tool.
"A T-rex might be really good as a team leader. But do you
want lots of T-rexs working for the company? It depends on
the job and the company,'' said Alpha Recruitment divisional
manager Joanna Rapley.
One UK employer revealed it frequently asked the dinosaur
question. Most people answered 'T-rex', and were unlikely to
get the job.
Those candidates were told: "a cannibalistic predator preying
on the weak, are you?''.
Madison's Julie Cressey had not heard of the technique but
said interview questions were constantly evolving as
employers tried new ways to get an insight into candidates'
ability to fit a role.
"I think a lot of it is probably attitude - trying to elicit
as much as possible about the attitude of a person and their
energy, passion and ability to get into a role,'' she said.
She questioned the relevance of asking questions like which
dinosaur they would be.
"I think there are concerns around the validity of the answer
in connection to the job they're applying to do. How many
types of dinosaurs do people actually know?''
Other recent examples used by UK employers were Google's:
'You are stranded on a desert island. You have 60 seconds to
choose people of 10 professions to come with you. Who do you
choose? Go!' and Hewlett-Packard, which asked 'If Germans
were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove
Telecom New Zealand head of talent acquisition Antony Hall
said he would not to encourage managers to use extreme
"While an 'out of the blue' question like that may give you a
sense of how a candidate reacts to being put on the spot, we
don't believe it's very useful beyond that,'' he said.
Company interviews instead focused on questions that revealed
behaviour or, such as 'How many petrol stations do you think
there are in Auckland?'.
"This is not a question that seeks a 'right' answer, but
looks to see what methods the candidate uses to reason out