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Even seasoned execs can get sweaty arms and a dry mouth all over job interviews, and when an interviewer throws out an oddball query, some applicants panic.

But wait. Brain teaser questions like “Calculate the attitude of two clock pointers when time is 11:50” would possibly if truth be told say extra about the interviewer than the interviewee.

People who suppose curveball questions are useful and suitable in job interviews have a tendency to have extra “darkish traits,” together with sadism and narcissism, and they tend to be callous and lack empathy, a study revealed this week within the journal Applied Psychology discovered.

“They have a tendency to lack the viewpoint of the applicant and do not recognize the possibly abusive nature of those questions,” mentioned Scott Highhouse, a psychology professor at Bowling Green State University and a co-author of the study.

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These questions can really feel disorienting and even unfair to job applicants, and in lately’s job market, there’s an added pressure. Answering these questions as it should be can also be the price tag to a new job and a hefty pay increase, one thing many American staff had been missing out on over the past several years as wages have remained flat.

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That’s most certainly why career guide web sites feature recommendations on how to respond to these mind-bending questions.

But that pressure could be misplaced. There’s no evidence that the solutions applicants if truth be told give to these types of questions relate to performance on the job, Highhouse famous. And if a task seeker encounters such a questions, that can be a sign to look elsewhere. “If the one who you’re running immediately for is the one asking these questions, I might ponder whether that is any person you need to paintings for,” Highhouse mentioned.

Highhouse were given curious about learning brain teaser interview questions after he examine Laszlo Bock, a former senior vice president for people operations at Google GOOG, -0.24%  , brushing aside brain teasers as a “whole waste of time” in recruiting. “They don’t expect the rest,” Bock mentioned. “They serve essentially to make the interviewer really feel sensible.”

In the study, Highhouse and co-researchers introduced 736 people with lists of job interview questions. The lists included conventional ones — “Can you work underneath pressure and care for time limits?” and “Tell us why you need to paintings for us” — in addition to brain teasers. Researchers asked the study contributors to mention how most probably they were to ask the questions all over an interview, and whether they concept they were suitable to ask.

People who sought after to make use of the brain teaser questions were much more likely to have published “darkish traits” like sadism and narcissism all over earlier wondering through researchers. The researchers discovered the brain teasers posted on career web sites, together with Glassdoor. (Glassdoor’s terms of carrier state that it makes no promises about the accuracy of such knowledge.)

They included:

• On a scale from one to ten, charge me as an interviewer. (Kraft Heinz Co. KHC, -0.87%  )

• What songs highest describe your paintings ethic? (Dell DVMT, +1.34%  )

• Why are manhole covers round? (Microsoft MSFT, +0.41%  )

• How would you decide the weight of a business plane with no scale? (McKinsey & Co.)

• What do you take into consideration when you are by myself on your automobile? (Gallup)

• If it's essential be any animal on a carousel, what would you pick out and why? (Journeys/Genesco GCO, +3.18%  )

Still, there can be a manner in the back of such odd questions. Hiring managers say quirky questions can gauge whether or not an applicant is a cultural have compatibility for the group, or expose one thing about their sense of humor, attitude, or creativity.

Representatives for Kraft, Dell, McKinsey and Gallup didn’t respond in an instant to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Journeys, a Nashville-based shoe store, mentioned the corporate’s guide for hiring managers doesn’t come with brain teasers and that they’re not part of the hiring process. “Journeys makes a speciality of behavioral based interviewing to decide whether or not applicants have relevant job skills and experience,” mentioned spokeswoman Claire S. McCall.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft would not comment specifically on brain teasers, but pointed to a weblog post through which a Microsoft executive described the corporate’s interview process. “The intent is not to trip applicants up or find what’s improper, but reasonably find what’s proper and decide if we can succeed in combination,” wrote Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kathleen Hogan.

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Leslie Albrecht is a personal finance reporter based in New York. She worked previously as a local news reporter on the New York City neighborhood news web site DNAinfo, and as a reporter on the Modesto Bee and Merced Sun-Star, two McClatchy newspapers in California's Central Valley. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @ReporterLeslie.

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