10 Sneaky Ways Interviewers Test You

Psychology
month ago

In today’s world, looking at a candidate’s resume and conducting a standard interview is not enough to find the perfect employee. That’s why employers have to use some tricks, and most of them are so simple that a candidate could fail one of these psychological tests and not even notice the test itself.

1. A cup of coffee is offered to you, for a reason.

Recently, the «cup of coffee» test has gained popularity among employers. At the beginning of the interview, the boss takes the candidate into the kitchen and offers him or her a cup of coffee. After the interview, the employer carefully watches what the candidate does with the cup — does he ask where to put it, does he just leave it on the table, or does he wash it himself in the kitchen?

This trick speaks volumes about a person’s character and manners, says Trent Innes, head of Xero Australia, the accounting software company that developed the method. It can also be an indication of how quickly the candidate will be a team player. Going to the kitchen after the interview and washing the cup yourself is the best decision in this case.

2. The boss is making you wait on purpose.

In reality, the «cup of coffee» test is an innocent ploy. The situation can be much more difficult if the interview is scheduled for 9 a.m., but the candidate arrives at the office early. The employer is still busy, and the job seeker has to wait 10 minutes. And then another 10 minutes. Then another 15 minutes.

This trick can be an indication of how emotionally stable the candidate is in stressful situations and how much they want this job in general.

3. The interviewer suddenly starts to shout.

Raising your voice, yelling, or even using offensive language is another way to model a stressful situation and test the candidate’s ability to handle stress. Experts advise you to remain calm. Answer these questions as calmly as possible.

4. The interviewer will make a strange request of you and will ask you to jump out of the window.

Another unpleasant surprise for a job seeker may be hiding behind an eccentric request — such as jumping out of a window. In this case, the employer wants to see the ability of the candidate to think «out of the box».

You can get out of this situation by going to the windowsill. But you have to jump to the floor of the room where the interview is taking place. No one has clarified where to land. Or you can shock the boss by asking the counter-question with an option that is a win-win situation: «How will my jump benefit the company?»

5. The employer suddenly starts behaving strangely.

Another trick is when the interviewer starts to act in a strange way. The candidate may ignore the interviewer, either by looking at his or her computer screen or by answering a phone call and leaving the room in the middle of the interview.

This trick can show how the candidate will redirect the interviewer’s attention or how they will get out of the situation. Asking the interviewer to reschedule the interview for another day is one of the most effective ways.

6. The candidate is introduced to the whole team.

It is possible that the hiring manager will invite you to meet with your potential colleagues after interviewing. It can be in the office or after work. This isn’t just a polite gesture — it’s the employer’s way of finding out what his employees think about the candidate.

7. The boss drops their pen on the floor.

Another test that can help the employer to spot responsive and benevolent candidates is to drop a pen and watch the applicant’s reaction. If the candidate instinctively bends down and picks the pen up, it’s likely that they’ll be hired for the job. If the applicant lets the interviewer do it, it’s likely that they won’t.

8. They ask if you ever stolen a pen from work.

Everyone has probably done this at least once. And since this is a fact, the interviewer is testing your honesty with this question. If you say you’ve never picked up a pen at work, the interviewer will conclude that you’re dishonest.

So saying no is not the best choice, nor is bragging about how easily you can get your hands on company property. Answer simply and honestly, "I guess I’ve accidentally taken a pen from work a few times, like everyone else, but I usually bring it back to work because I’m not in the habit of keeping pens at home.

9. They ask you how you define success.

This question is very similar to the one about what your dream is. Understanding success is very subjective, and interviewers ask about it for a reason. If a jobseeker honestly says that success for them is making a million dollars or winning a marathon, they’re unlikely to get the job they want.

Your personal accomplishments that are not relevant to the job you want are not of interest to potential employers. The focus of your answer should be on the things that are successes not only for you, but also for the employer. For example, you might say that your success as a manager is having a cohesive team that breaks sales records every month.

10. They ask you a simple but tricky question.

You can forget about this job if you start complaining about how bad the weather is or how hard it was to find the office. At the same time, if you answer something like «good» or «okay,» you may give the impression of someone who is not really open or outgoing. It’s best to answer this question completely, in a relaxed and positive manner. Just as you would any other question about the job.

Don’t get too comfortable yet! In the next article, we’ll uncover 10 job interview traps to watch out for, so you can avoid interview pitfalls and land your dream job.

Please note: This article was updated in February 2023 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.

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