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5 Reasons you should not ask 2014's Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions

Posted by Erin Borgerson on January 29, 2014

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Every year, Glassdoor comes out with the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions which range from wacky, to weird, to downright odd. The list was so incredibly popular last year, that it was seen on Forbes, Mashable, and AOL.

But as wacky as these interview questions are, has anyone ever stopped to wonder what good these questions do when choosing the right person for a job? Whenever our customers ask us if weird interview questions work, we have the same response courtesy of Ben Eubanks from UpStart HR: "Weird interview questions are a fad, not a strategy."

Here's 5 reasons not to include these oddball questions in your interviews:

5. They make candidates uncomfortable 

Have you ever been in a social setting with someone you just met, only to have them ask you, "How many manholes do you think there are in San Francisco?" 

You would look at them like they are crazy! This is the same reaction candidates have when interviewers ask them oddball interview questions. If the goal of your interview is to make the candidate uncomfortable, then ask all the weird questions you can find, but if your goal is to uncover behavior that is suitable for your job, refrain from odd questions.

4. They don't uncover behavior that is important to the job (unless you are hiring for the next American Idol, see #4)

What kind of behavior are you uncovering by asking questions such as: How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year? And have you ever been on a boat?

We can help you out, you aren't uncovering any behavior necessary for a job! (Unless of course you are hiring for a Pizza Statistician or a Cruise Ship Captain)

Instead ask behavior-related questions that you are looking for in your job like, "Tell me about a time you demonstrated persistence." Or "Talk about a time when you assisted a coworker with a problem." Both of these questions will uncover behavior such as persistence and problem-solving that can be related to almost any job.

3. Asking weird interview questions doesn't crack the code of finding the perfect hire

Nope, no secret interview question here. I still get people that ask "What is the best interview question EVER?" and I shake my head because there is no ONE question that tells you exactly who to hire. It's all about combining multiple behavioral interview questions with a scoring system.

C'mon people!

2. They could be illegal

I cringed when I read  a few of the Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions of 2014, especially #15 that asks, "If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?"

It's illegal to ask candidates about their children, if they have children, or any question related to it. Now I'm not trying to freak everyone out, because the question is harmless, but don't you want to avoid a lawsuit? Some candidates could be extremely sensitive to this question and as an interviewer you want to avoid this at all costs!

1. They don't work!

Plain and simple, weird interview questions don't work. They don't tell you who to hire, who the best candidate is, or how the candidate will perform in a job. If you want to build a qualified team, avoid oddball questions and the entire fad.

Want to read more about weird interview questions? Grab our ebook where we uncover secrets you will want to know!

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Interviewing Help, How to Hire, Franchise Hiring


Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.