I was once asked ‘How many traffic cones there are in the UK?’ for a job at a consulting firm. I started trying to work out the number of miles of road in the UK, what proportion were likely to be coned at any one point and the average distance between the cones. I was wrong. The ‘right’ answer was to ask the interviewer all of these questions, rather than assuming. Apparently.
These types of question have always been a source of controversy on interview skills courses: some people love them, some people hate them.
Well, the latest research seems to suggest that using these questions reveals more about the interviewer’s own personality than that of the candidate. See more here: