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Confusing/Odd Questions

Such questions are especially put to judge your mental make-up, alertness and consistency in thinking and behaviour. These are again of two types, viz., (a) main question, and (b) off-shoot questions. A few examples are given below.

EXAMPLE

Candidate
May I come in, please?
Chairman
Yes, come in Mrs Sharma.
Candidate
Thank you and good morning to you all, sirs.
Chairman
What is good about the morning Mrs Sharma? It is quite warm and there’s nothing special about this morning.
Candidate
(Without showing any sign of nervousness, smiles and says) Sir, the time is to wish good morning. As far as the goodness of this morning is concerned, I must say, the atmosphere inside the room is very good and comfortable.
Chairman
That’s fine. Please take your seat.
Candidate
(Pulls the chair to an angle, and calmly sits down, saying) Thank you, sir.

Note: The question is meant to startle and confuse the candidate but the answer given by the candidate is commendable as it indicates her self-assurance and ability to handle the conversation. She does not get thrown off-balance. Nor does she show any sign of ­being taken aback by the apparent rudeness of the question.

 

EXAMPLE

The candidate has come in, wished all the members and on being asked to take the chair, smiles and sits down saying, “Thank you.” Then the question-and-answer session begins.

Question :

How did you reach this room? By taking the lift or the stairs?

Answer :

Sir, I took the stairs.

Question :

But why did you not use the lift? You know it saves

time. Isn’t it so?

Answer :

Sir, there was no power and the lift was not working. (It is true that there was no power at that time.)

Question :

But you can see for yourself that our fan is working and so are the tube lights in this room. How can you say there was no power?

Answer :

Sir, the lift attendant told me as well as the other

People who wanted to use the lift that there was a

power cut.

Question :

You are correct. Power has, in fact, just come. Mr Sinha, you said that you took the stairs. May we know how many steps you climbed for coming to this floor?

Answer :

Sir, I climbed sixteen steps. (In fact, the candidate did not count the steps and has just guessed.)

Question :

No, Mr Sinha, you seem to be wrong. There are more than sixteen steps.

Answer :

Sir, you may be right, but as I was climbing sometimes two steps together, I casually counted approximately sixteen steps.

 

Note: Here the candidate shows not just his confidence but also his presence of mind.

 

EXAMPLE

The time of the interview is 10:00 am. There is a wall clock in the interview hall which has been purposely set to show the time as 9:00 am and its pendulum set to strike eleven times as the candidate enters the interview hall.

Candidate
May I come in, please?
Chairman
Yes, Mrs Bose, you may come in and take your seat.
Candidate
(Enters the room with a smile, says) Thank you. (…and wishes the board members) Good morning, sirs. (The moment the candidate takes her chair, the wall clock in the hall strikes eleven times whereas the reading on the clock shows 9:00 am. The actual time by the wrist-watch of the candidate is showing 10:00 am which is the time given to her for the interview. The candidate curiously looks at the wall clock and then looks at her wrist-watch. She is being observed by the members.)
Chairman
We noticed that you checked the time on your watch and also looked at the wall clock. Could you please tell us what is the time by the wall clock?
Candidate
(Smiles and says) Sir, this is the time to get the clock repaired as it seems to be out of order.

Note: The candidate shows good observation. As soon as the clock strikes eleven times, she notes the time by the clock as well as checks her wrist-watch. Her answer “to repair the clock” is really commendable, amusing and shows her ability to handle a conversation.

 

EXAMPLE

This is the actual part of an interview conducted by a multinational company for the post of Corporate Personnel Manager.

Candidate
(The peon opens the door and the candidate enters, saying) Good afternoon, gentlemen.
Chairman
Good afternoon Mr Chawla, please take your seat.
(The chairman keeps looking at the candidate’s bio-data file while the candidate takes the seat.)
Candidate
(Pulls the chair and sits down, saying) Thank you very much.
Chairman
Mr Chawla, I find from your bio-data that you have not held one job for more than a year. I note that in your total working career of five-and-a-half years, you have worked in four organizations and now you have applied for the fifth one.
Candidate
Yes, you are right sir. I will be able to settle down once I find an organization which gives me an opportunity to show my talent, gives me job satisfaction and where I have better career prospects.
Chairman
Mr Chawla, don’t you agree with the saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss, and that your changing jobs so frequently shows your dissatisfaction?
Candidate
But sir, you will agree that a rolling stone gets its Edges sharpened. By the time I ultimately settle in a job which combines job satisfaction with better career prospects, I would have gathered sufficient experience and exposure to different types of work cultures. It would help me to perform my work more efficiently.

Note: Note the quickness with which the candidate contradicts the chairman and defends himself and at the same time, replies one good proverb with another. This exhibits the candidate’s ability to explain his point of view without showing any signs of self-doubt or embarrassment.

 

MYTH: Candidates must be able to clearly describe the value they bring to an organization.
FACT: It is critical that the candidate demonstrate how he/she is the most qualified person for the job. This comes through clearly explaining answers and illustrating the answers with interesting examples.





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