ARE YOU IM­PRES­SIVE? The world’s hottest com­pa­nies tell you

Rid­dle me this: how do you come back to the tough­est in­ter­view ques­tions in the world? A: Us­ing this guide, of course…

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a bis­cuit?” No, not the great­est de­bate the UK has ever seen (af­ter Brexit), but a ques­tion that could pop up at your next job in­ter­view. Why? To check if you’re fu­ture-proof.“The pace of change in the work­place is so fast now that in­ter­views are less about what you know and more about how quickly you can deal with am­bi­gu­ity,” says ca­reers coach Corinne Mills, au­thor of the You’re Hired! books.“Some jobs to­day might not ex­ist in 10 years, so em­ploy­ers want to see how you can ap­ply knowl­edge and be cre­ative, as well as how you re­act un­der stress.” We’ve rounded up some real ques­tions asked by com­pa­nies, and the best an­swers. Pre­pare to feel un­flap­pable. WHO ASKS IT? Sky UK THE IDEAL AN­SWER “So, there’s nine mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in Lon­don, and it’s rain­ing out­side, so more peo­ple will be catch­ing the Tube. But it’s not rush hour...” THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY “I pre­fer to cycle to work.” WHY “Get­ting the right an­swer is not the aim. The in­ter­viewer wants to see you talk­ing through your men­tal process,” ad­vises Adrian O’Con­nor, direc­tor of Global Ac­count­ing Net­work, a re­cruiter for Sky. “They’re as­sess­ing how you ap­proach a prob­lem, your cre­ative think­ing, speed of re­sponse and what cal­cu­la­tion you ap­ply to find a so­lu­tion.”

“How many peo­ple are on the Lon­don Un­der­ground right now?”

“Have you ever per­suaded some­one to do some­thing they didn’t want to?” “Which would you rather eat – dog cheese or hu­man cheese?” “What type of shoe do you most re­late to?” “In­stead of politi­cians, why don’t we let the man­agers of IKEA run the coun­try?”

WHO ASKS IT? A ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal NGO THE IDEAL AN­SWER “I con­vinced a friend to come to an aerial as­sault course. She was pretty scared by the idea, but I said that I would be by her side the whole time and that it was a lot safer than she thought. I found that there hadn’t been any in­juries in the five years the course had been open, and used that to re­as­sure her. She went and had a great time.” THE WORST THING YOU

CAN SAY “My mate re­ally didn’t want to down that dirty pint, but I told her she had to. She threw up.”

WHY “The em­ployer wants to as­sess your pow­ers of per­sua­sion with this ques­tion – how you in­flu­ence peo­ple and get them to buy into things,” says busi­ness lead­er­ship coach Neela Bet­tridge.“But it also re­veals your per­sonal code of ethics. Are you ex­pect­ing some­one to do some­thing that sits un­com­fort­ably with them? Be care­ful what ex­am­ple you choose. You don’t want to look like you have ques­tion­able morals.”


IT? Google (ac­cord­ing to one ex­em­ployee who spilled) THE IDEAL AN­SWER “Hu­man cheese – I’m think­ing it’s crafted by hu­mans. How is the dog cheese made? Are the dogs well-treated? I’d like to ask a few ques­tions be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.” THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY

“Ew, gross, nei­ther,” while retch­ing in the cor­ner.

WHY “What the in­ter­viewer wants to see is how you weigh up the pros and cons of some­thing, and whether you can keep an open mind,” says Bet­tridge.“It’s im­por­tant to ap­pear in­quir­ing – this is what they’re af­ter.”



“A trainer, be­cause I move fast and al­ways come in first place.” THE WORST THING YOU

CAN SAY “Slip­pers – I’m all about the chill.”

WHY Com­par­ing your­self to ev­ery­one’s favourite loungewear is un­likely to se­cure you a sec­ond in­ter­view, ac­cord­ing to Dean Cowgill, a di­vi­sional man­ager for the com­pany. “The an­swer should demon­strate your abil­ity to in­spire. This ques­tion is a play­ful way to get the can­di­date to talk about their per­son­al­ity, strengths and skills. We’re look­ing for some­one to come up with a fun, orig­i­nal re­sponse that suc­cinctly sum­marises who they are and shows us they can think on their feet.”

WHO ASKS IT The Depart­ment of Pol­i­tics and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Univer­sity of Cam­bridge

THE IDEAL AN­SWER “Cur­rently, our democ­racy is rep­re­sen­ta­tive, which isn’t how IKEA chooses its man­agers. But maybe we need to re­think things. Also, com­pa­nies are run for profit, and I don’t know if that would work when it comes to run­ning a coun­try.” THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY

“We should! Meat­balls for the masses!”

WHY “Any­thing that shuts down con­ver­sa­tion is a no-go,” says Dr Sa­man­tha Lucy, the univer­sity’s direc­tor of ad­mis­sions, mean­ing there is no right an­swer.“We want to see how some­one works through ideas, which is why we ask open-ended ques­tions that hope­fully en­cour­age log­i­cal, but also cre­ative, think­ing. We want some­one who is will­ing to chal­lenge their ex­ist­ing knowl­edge and ba­sic as­sump­tions.” Got it.

“Re­ally? I can’t bring in my trum­pet?”

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