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“What if…” or “What would you do if…”

Are interview questions starting with such lines amongst your favorite? Well, if you prefer to ask such hypothetical questions, what exactly do you make out from the answers?


What is the problem with such interview questions?

Well, my concern is, how exactly do the oddball questions help you while interviewing any candidate? No doubt, you can get to discern about candidate’s thinking ability under pressure but still how can that help the organization? The answers from the candidates can be what you actually want to hear, but do they come with a surety tag? How can you say that they are not faking their answer?

Let’s take up an example. If you ask a candidate “What would you do in a situation when you see a stranger being assaulted?”, then he would probably answer what he ideally should. But in reality you cannot say whether he would actually do it or not. After all, there is always a difference between knowing the path and walking on the path.

During a crucial 30 minutes interview, if you take out initial 05 minutes for introduction & basic round and last 05 minutes for questions to be asked by a candidate, then you are left with crucial 20 minutes to identify whether the candidate is the right fit for your organization or not.

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What I can Say?

Well, according to me, hypothetical questions make you learn that the candidate knows the theory. This doesn’t say that they would perfectly excel in implementation too.

If not hypothetical questions then what?

Well, the crux of the matter is, hypothetical question is a waste of time as by asking such questions you are just getting to know what they know and not what they would do.

I would suggest you to make the candidate talk about the real situations he/she has experienced that would help you in making the right decision.

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