I ran a blog recently about difficult questions in interview. You know the type, they have no right or wrong answer but they make you think. Things like “How many windows are there in London?” or “How many cats are there in Cornwall?”

Unless you are amazingly lucky, and you have just read the stats the night before, you’re going to have to work it out or say “I have no clue”, which is not the answer they are looking for.

Well it turns out, according to a study in Applied Psychology, that the use of such questions actually provides no useful feedback. In fact they are absolutely useless in deciding whether somebody is right for your job or not.

But interestingly, they say much about the interviewer themselves. So they are a useful guide for applicants, because such interviewers tend to be control freaks, and potentially psychopaths. At best narcissists and sadists. In other words they love to see people squirm in discomfort trying to work out how best to answer an impossible question.

So you have been warned. Such gimmicks have very little place in the interview process and provide almost no useful information – learn how to interview properly and you will get much better results.

But they do have their uses, they do say that you are not a great person to work for.

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