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Interviewers throw ‘curveball’ questions to throw off candidates

Interviewers ask curveball questions to throw off candidates

Is it okay to snitch on a co-worker? What tree do you resemble most? If you could have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be, and why? These are the curveball questions employers are using to throw off candidates, according to new research.

A new study by GoDaddy polled 1,000 recent graduates and 250 hiring managers from across the industry and found more than half (53%) of the hiring managers polled said they like to deliberately ask a thought-provoking ‘curveball’ question during an interview to throw those they’re talking to. Other questions include the classics ‘what animal do you resemble most?’ or ‘why should I hire you?’, while another interviewer asked his candidate to estimate the number of computers in Manhattan.

GoDaddy commissioned the research to mark the launch of GoCentral, which enables people to build a professional website for their resumes and portfolios in less than an hour.

Those heading to a job interview don’t have long to make a good impression – the average time cited for a hiring manager to form a hard-to-change impression was just four minutes. More than half of the interviewers polled build a first impression based on the quality of the handshake, while two thirds said the ability to simply show up on time screams volumes.

But the assessments are made online as much as off and the study found many candidates are surprisingly still being undone by their online presence. In fact, even though as many as three quarters of bosses now regularly check a candidate’s social media and online presence, just half of grads actually bother to ensure theirs is up to scratch before an interview.

That might be why more than half of the industry-wide hiring managers polled have rejected a candidate purely based on their social media and online presence. This is especially true for Millennial hiring managers, with more than 60% saying having a website or online portfolio is important.

Checking there are no discriminatory comments around race, religion, or gender understandably tops the things bosses are keeping an eye out for – an overall professional demeanour is the next most important element to present. Burning bridges is never wise and ensuring there are no negative or disrespectful comments toward current or previous employers or colleagues also made the top five things managers look out for in assessing online presences.

And even the obvious things are still frequently overlooked – one in 10 managers polled has had to reject a candidate purely because they had an inappropriate email address.

Auguste Goldman, Chief People Officer for GoDaddy said: “These findings show today’s employers are looking for more from candidates – they’re looking for the full person, for authenticity that matches the values of the culture and the connection to the mission.”

Six in 10 grads think it’s very important to display a sense of humour during a job interview – and 57% of hiring managers agree. But rather than working on jokes or anecdotes, candidates are better off focusing on preparation – 80% of hiring managers say they frequently encounter a candidate that is totally unprepared for an interview. Likewise, a whopping 72% of recent grads say they have attended interviews without being fully prepared – and nearly half have applied to jobs without fully reading the requirements for the position.

Auguste Goldman from GoDaddy added: “Simply mailing out CVs and showing up to your interview on time isn’t enough to get you in the door anymore. Today’s job seekers need to think about what makes them stand out from the crowd – including how they’re being presented in the digital world. Having your own website is a great place to start.”
The research unearthed fascinating insights into the minds of recruiters and graduate candidates alike:

Top five ‘curveball’ questions hiring managers like to ask:

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be, and why?
  2. If you were an animal, which would it be, and why?
  3. Tell me about a time when something in your life didn’t go as you wanted or expected and you turned it into something positive. What was it and how did you handle it?
  4. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be, and why?
  5. Why should I hire you? / Why should I not hire you?

Top five things recruiters look for when reviewing a candidate’s online presence:

  1. Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc
  2. Professionalism
  3. Negative comments about a previous employer or co-worker
  4. Inappropriate photos or videos
  5. Drug use

Top five most common mistakes made in interviews

  1. Responses to questions are vague or unclear
  2. Complaining or talking negatively about former employers/colleagues
  3. Lack of knowledge about the position or company
  4. Showing up late
  5. Using ‘buzzwords’ that don’t mean anything.