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the Zombie Apocalypse interview question

February 20, 2014

SmartCompany: “Is it mindless to ask potential employees what they would do in a zombie apocalypse?” by Aunty B, responds to a letter from Doug who wonders about spicing up his interview style:

I’ve been reading about companies like Dropbox which ask quirkier questions like: “If someone came in right now and announced that the zombie apocalypse had just started outside, what would you do in the next hour?”

Aunty B responds about these kinds of outside-the-box questions:

Ask yourself whether brain teaser questions like this really reveal anything about your new hire besides knowledge they may already have of zombies or fruits. Stick with what you’re doing, Doug

Ok, except actually they probably do. I mean if the interviewee suggests seeking food and shelter you probably have a different kind of person then someone who is going out ready to kill with guns ? Depending on how they answer it might tell you a lot about who they care about and where they go first, or it might tell you their reaction to absurd questions, how playful they are, etc… It’s not about the answer, it’s the reaction to the question.

Of course, be mindful that zombies do have racial, gender, class, age, and religious implications. So I would be mindful of applicable employment discrimination laws. Even if zombie is not inherently discriminatory to a protected class (and that’s questionable), be particularly mindful of unscripted follow-up questions. As usual, none of this is legal advice. Consult an attorney and the applicable laws of your jurisdiction.

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