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Oddball Interview Questions Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 4:44 AM


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Abu Dina (2/7/2014)
Had an interview on Monday morning which I thought went quite well until the last two questions:

1) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
2) Your salary expectations for the role?

The second question in particular really bothered me. I mumbled a few words but in the end I just told them to speak to the recruitment agency about it!


I hate the second question. I even had one interview where either the client changed their mind or the agent hadn't been truthful (or a combination of the both). At the end of the interview I was basically told that I would have to take a rate which was significantly lower than the one I agreed to be interviewed on. My feeling was that it was totally unprofessional and improper as the rate I get is what the agency pays me and what the client pays the agency is nothing to do with me. Also, in this country at least, the rate is always negotiated before interview. Adjustments are sometimes negotiated afterwards if either party thinks that what is on the table differs from what was verbally offered (skills not as good as advertised or role different, for example).


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1539094
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 5:02 AM
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Agreed. In fact you want to avoid the money question as long as possible.

There is only one thing certain and that is whomever mentions money first loses. If the candidate says X the employer hears "Less than X". If the employer says Y the candidate hears "More than Y"

So do your homework first. If the recruiter says what the range is, and you don't like it - then find out if it is *truly* negotiable or don't go.

You have to start off with an idea of what you are worth - else you will be flying blind when the Q comes up. Put it off as long as possible because you want them to see how great a candidate you are FIRST. Then they can see that your money demands are at least reasonable, even if it's more than they wanted to pay.
Post #1539099
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 5:07 AM


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Well here is the thing. When the recruiter approached me about the role he told me the salary would be X per annum. No range or up to blah blah.

oh and I also forgot to mention that yesterday the company's HR department contacted the recruiter to find out what my Salary expectation is and how much I'm currently on. WTF?!


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Post #1539101
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 5:08 AM
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A question i received on a pre-interview test:
How do you eat an elephant?

here is my prepared answer:
I would skin it first as the skin is extremely tough. Naturally, I cannot eat the whole elephant in one sitting so I would store most of it in the freezer and take out bite size portions in order to cook/prepare and then consume. I may also flavour it in various ways on the different occasions – this helps me to continue to enjoy every bit of it without getting bored. I may also take some cooking tips from my wife, she is great at cooking and additionally hunt down some more recipes from google.
If a time limit (deadline) is given by which I must eat this elephant then I may appropriately divide the portion up according to the number of days I am permitted to take to eat this elephant. With this managed approach, I will eventually eat the whole elephant!

my thoughts:
I am a mid-range developer who enjoys the technologies and not a rockster so I don't really like these sort of questions.
Post #1539102
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 5:26 AM


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Knut Boehnert (2/7/2014)
"How would you fill a coffee cup in T-SQL?" There is no straight right answer, more of a way of showing how the interviewee thinks and tackles a problem that is not as straightforward as an Inner Join.
Kind of expected answer in case you wonder yourself:
SELECT [Top 1] coffee INTO coffee.Cup FROM coffee.Machine
I heard endless variations on this and it seems to be a question that makes nearly all T-SQL developers think hard.


You're filling your coffee cup wrong! Every time you fill it, you end up with a new cup!

Try using:
UPDATE
[coffeemug]
SET
[mug] = [coffeepot].[coffee]


(Yeah, I know, cruddy T-SQL...)

On topic: I've not run into any oddball interview questions, and quite glad I haven't. I'm way too literal-minded to put up with things like "how many manhole covers are there in the metro-Detroit area?" sort of thing (my answer would probably be either "one per manhole," or "how many haven't been stolen for scrap yet" depending on my mood)
Post #1539107
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 5:53 AM


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A guy I've worked with for about 12 years was asked on an interview, "What is your biggest fear?"

He answered, "Kryptonite."

He got the job.


Regards, Mike
Post #1539113
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 6:22 AM


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akthar hussain (2/7/2014)
A question i received on a pre-interview test:
How do you eat an elephant?


I believe the best answer to this is the classic

One bite at a time'









Jason Carter
Tampa, Florida

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young" - Henry Ford
Post #1539130
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 6:36 AM


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The goal of these questions seems to pull you out of your comfort zone, place you in some kind of an unforeseen situation.

I do not remember who said it, that the best way to know someone is a game. In my view, this is a game.
Post #1539140
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 6:46 AM
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I'm of the very strong opinion that these novelty questions are basically ego stroking on the part of interviewers. There is absolutely NO scientific or statistical reason to expect they measure any real world performance attributes, of have any predictive behavior whatsoever.

My concern, if asked a bunch of these, would be that this is an organization governed too much by woo and flimflam.

Over the years various aptitude tests, honesty tests, character tests have come into fashion and eventually faded. They tended to work on the theory that 'clever' questions, or looking at what colors they liked could elicit real information about the applicant. Typically the only 'scientific' testing of these was alleged evaluations clothed in proprietary secrecy by the vendors of the tests. Typically when and if they were exposed to REAL scientific testing the spectacular results somehow disappeared.


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Post #1539145
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 7:02 AM


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jay-h (2/7/2014)
I'm of the very strong opinion that these novelty questions are basically ego stroking on the part of interviewers. There is absolutely NO scientific or statistical reason to expect they measure any real world performance attributes, of have any predictive behavior whatsoever.


If an interview was made up of nothing but these questions then I tend to agree, but one or two of these questions can provide valuable information as to how a candidate thinks. While the question may be silly and the answer inconsequential, how the candidate tackles the problem can speak volumes about how they will solve problems at your company when they don't immediately know the answer.

The answer doesn't matter as much as the method in which they get to that answer.










Jason Carter
Tampa, Florida

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young" - Henry Ford
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