Favorite non-technical interview questions asked and like to ask.

Have been asked:

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

My answer was:  

Teleportation.  Basically, I don't think time should be wasted simply because you need to get from point A to point B.  Now, if you want to take the scenic route to enjoy the beauty of nature, then that is fine.  I was just referring to efficiency and being awesome.

It turns out that my type of answer was a good one.  It indicates that I might like to get things done, work fast, or work hard.  In any case, I thought it was a half-way clever way of asking a pseudo psychological question without getting too crazy.

BTW:  This question was asked by John Scott (@jszilla).  John, sorry if I am giving away your secret "go to" question.  But, no worries.  No one reads this blog.


Like to ask:

What book is on your nightstand (in your book bag) right now?

I ask this question for the following reasons:

  • Does this candidate read?  I believe you need to constantly be searching and learning.  I don't care about the topic.  Just read.
  • I am genuinely interested.  Usually, this can lead to other questions about outside, non-technical interests.  It may reveal something about the candidates fit with the culture.
  • I may also, in the alternative, ask the Top 3 blogs you read everyday, or something like that.


Stupid non-technical questions I have been asked and I never ask:

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Could there be a more useless question?!  There is no correct way to answer this!  It is just a stupid question that is asked when you do not know what else to ask.  

If anyone says, "I hope to be working here and have moved up the ranks."  I know that person is shoveling crap.  Why?  There is no way that person could possibly know that they want that.  It is the canned response to a stupid question.  If anyone can think of a legit reason for this question, please let me know.

Let's say you have a disagreement with a team member.  How do you resolve this?

Say it with me, "Well, I would really try to work with that individual and talk the issue through.  I would try to understand their viewpoint and give them the benefit of the doubt.  If that fails, then I would privately escalate the issue to my superior.  blah, blah, blah . . ."  

Is there a wrong answer to this except for, "I would not resolve it."?


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