It’s an old truism that hiring is like dating. Both require time, effort, and patience. The perfect match may not exist. First impressions matter, but it takes time to get to know someone. Sometimes, things just click—but even then, an ongoing relationship needs work and compromise to succeed. And like dating, hiring is frequently an uncomfortable and frustrating experience for all parties involved.
Perhaps it’s that last reason that inventive hiring tricks, tactics, hacks, and shortcuts crop up every day. When you’ve spent weeks or months trying to fill a role (and keep it filled), any alternative to the grueling process of hiring starts to sound appealing. As Laszlo Bock writes in a recent article in Behavioral Scientist:
“A lot of ink has been spilled and consultant hours racked up talking about the ins and outs of hiring heuristics. What deeply nuanced psychological traits should we be looking for? What tactics can you use to see them? What’s the one surprising trick that will help you identify the exceptional among the average?”
Bock discusses the novel interview questions real executives have asked would-be employees. Examples include “On a scale of one to ten, how weird are you?” (Tony Hsieh, Zappos founder), “What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?” (Ashley Morris, Capriotti’s), and “What was the last costume you wore?” (David Gilboa, Warby Parker).
The purpose of these kinds of questions? To bypass standard hiring conversations and get at the heart of who a candidate truly is. But as intuitive as those questions may seem, and as interesting as the answers may be, Bock argues they don’t tell you much about, you know, a person’s ability to do the job: