Use of brainteasers in the hiring process provides little information about the suitability of the job applicant but considerable information about the callousness of the interviewer.

Scott Highhouse
Scott Highhouse

A Professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in the Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, USA.

This is what happened when researchers took a group of roughly 740 adults and gave them a bunch of different job interview questions to choose from.

Some of the interview questions were very traditional (“are you a good listener”), while some were behavioral (“tell us about a time you failed”), and the rest were brainteasers. After running a regression and controlling for sex and interview experience, the researchers found that narcissism and sadism explained a person’s likelihood of preferring one of the brainteasers.

It seems that these types of questions say more about the narcissism and sadism of the job interviewer than they do about the applicant.

Instead of trying to game the process or guess what sorts of questions are going to be asked we are better served focusing on the little things that go into making our first impression, things like being on time, being dressed properly, and asking a thoughtful question. The first minute or so of our interview may be all that matters anyway.

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  • Project Management
  • Hiring
  • Job Seeking
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