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Australia – Competency-based interviews better than brain-teasers

12 July 2013

Employers are increasingly shifting away from brain-teaser style interview questions; according to research from recruitment company Hays. Competency based interviews remain the tried and tested format, particularly when interviewing external candidates.

“Employers have used the brain-teaser questions to make their company stand out, rather than test the suitability of a candidate. Interviews should be as objective as possible, and these brain-teaser questions introduce too much scope for subjectivity,” said Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

This statement comes shortly after computing company Google admitted that they were discontinuing the use of brain-teaser questions during interviews. The senior vice president of people operations at Google said, “We found that brain-teasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart,”

Mr Deligiannis added, “We suggest employers use competency or behaviour interview techniques. A behavioural interview attempts to predict future behaviour based on your past behaviour in a similar situation. Questions are asked to establish various core competencies relevant to the role… This type of interview is fairer, more transparent, and can help organisation reduce the chance of making costly hiring mistakes.”


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