Job-seekers asked: What kind of dinosaur are you?

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 it?'.

Telecom New Zealand head of talent acquisition Antony Hall said he would not to encourage managers to use extreme interviewing.

"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 the response.''


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