How many ping-pong balls would it take to fill a 747?

June 11, 2014

ping-pongThere has been much in the press recently about weird and wonderful interview questions. The ping-pong ball dilemma being one of the best known. Incidentally if you want to know the answer it’s a remarkable 31 Million. However, if you want to win the gold star you also need to observe that the balls will all have a weight, and if the cabin and hold are filled completely, this will add up to a considerable tonnage. 83 Tonnes! The plane wouldn’t be able to take off. Okay, so now your brain is up to speed, here’s another:

‘You’re on a barge floating in a closed lock in a canal. The barge is full of coal. If you empty all the coal overboard into the water, does the water level on the side of the lock go up or down?’ Hmm.

Taller on the outside than the inside

November 24, 2013

WWIt seems like there is some truth in the expression ‘fake it until you make it’. Really! Could standing like Superman or Wonder Woman actually make you feel and look more powerful? The answer appears to be yes. Expansive, open body postures increase testosterone, decrease stress and make people feel more in control. And here’s the interesting bit, in a selection situation, especially when candidates have to give presentations, holding a more ‘powerful’ posture increases the chances of getting hired by 20%. So strike a pose before going in to an interview (it would be a bit weird if you struck up your Superman or Wonder Woman position when you were actually in the room), and stand tall when delivering a presentation. It could make a big difference.

More info:

Wonder Woman. Created by a psychologist! Have a look at this:

Forget interviews: hire everyone

August 1, 2012

Interviews are a poor indicator of success. Why not abandon this expensive, old-fashioned practice and just hire the next person who walks in the door? Now there’s a thought. Read Margaret Heffernan’s thought provoking Inc. article:

Fairy tales and predicting good leaders

August 8, 2011

“A common phenomenon and problem in leadership practice concerns undue reliance on popular fads without sufficient consideration given to the validity of those ideas…” Click on the link below to read a very good review from Amazure Consulting for the evidence on cognitive tests, personality, situational judgement, emotional intelligence and interviews being ‘effective’ predictors of leadership ability.

How do you weigh an elephant without using a weighing machine?

May 26, 2011

Isn’t it refreshing to know that people are still being asked ridiculous interview questions. Follow this link to find some real crackers:

And a couple of my personal favourites: ‘When was the last time you cried?’ and ‘Do you prefer cats or dogs?’ In the first one you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Admit to blubbing on a regular basis and you’ll be labelled as wet and over-sensitive, and of course if you don’t cry at all you’re just  a hard-nosed and uncaring sort of person. Cats or dogs? Well, it depends on which the interviewer prefers. Try and spot the pet hairs on his/her clothing and see if that provides a clue. Joking apart, I thought we had got over all this stuff – interview questions should relate directly, unambiguously and fairly to the job in question.

Picture credit: Tom Curtis/


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