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Job Interviews Finding a Job Screening Applicants

I just went through a job interview and was asked a bunch of trick questions, such as why the water in a hotel room is instantly hot. I had no idea what the answer was, and I don't see how this type of question can help the interviewer make a better decision about me. What's the point of using them?

There's no question that trick questions in a job interview can be tricky to answer. Ideally, the main reason that employers use these questions is that they put all of the applicants on the same playing field, and this facilitates comparing one applicant with another in such areas as analytical thinking and creative problem solving.

At the same time, it is important for these types of questions to be related to the job itself. When companies start throwing random questions that arguably have no relation to the position under consideration, there is a real risk of alienating good candidates and generating some legal exposure as well.

Another problem with these kinds of questions is that there are books and websites that contain many of these questions, plus the best answers. When this occurs, the conclusions that an interviewer would draw from an applicant's responses are meaningless. By the way, if you check one of these books or websites, you'll see that the answer to your trick question is that the hotels have pumps that constantly circulate hot water. Ironically, if this question is not job related or validated, a company could find itself in hot water.

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