Extreme Interviewing

March 22, 2012 by Careerminds

Recently, major organizations have begun taking up the “extreme” interviewing tactics– asking wild questions, interviewing in groups, requesting that interviewees prepare presentations– and job seekers should prepare themselves according to this growing trend. No longer are hiring managers asking standard questions about skills and experience. If you don’t have the skills and experience on your resume, you won’t get to the interview, anyway. Hiring managers are now more interested in delving deeper into a potential employee’s critical thinking skills, work habits and overall thought process.To help you understand these new interviewing techniques, here is a breakdown of each technique:

  • Dinosaur Interviewing: The name “dinosaur interview” comes from the popular interview question: “If you were a dinosaur, which would you be and why?” Other real questions that have been used by such companies as Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Zappos.com include: “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” and “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” Often, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Rather, they are used to determine an interviewee’s ability to think creatively and respond under pressure, in addition to their ability to indicate left- or right-brained thinking. Job seekers should then keep these purposes in mind when providing responses; if a hiring manager is testing your creative thinking skills, you should probably choose to be a dinosaur other than a T-Rex, AKA the most commonly known dinosaur.
  • Group Interviews: Group interviews come in two kinds: panel groups and candidate groups. In panel group interviews, a single candidate is interviewed by several people at once. It’s possible that a candidate will be interviewed by an entire department. In this situation, an interviewee needs to recognize all interviewers, rather than focusing on one in particular, and keep his/her cool. Don’t let a panel of interviewers throw you off your game. In candidate group interviews, several candidates are interviewed by one interviewer at once. In these situations, hiring managers are looking for the following skills: leadership, teamwork, working under pressure and giving/taking constructive criticism. It is best to lead rather than follow in these interviews; candidates that blend into the group will not be memorable.
  • Presentation Interviews: Employers are beginning to present job candidates with real company problems/goals, and asking that the candidates prepare researched presentations on possible solutions/tactics. An interviewee may be given a week to prepare, or they may be given an hour. The important thing to remember is to maintain your composure; again, the purpose behind this practice is to test your ability to solve problems and act under stress. Make use of all available resources during your preparation and put together relevant and professional presentation aids. Visual components should be company-specific but including recognizable images on your PowerPoint layout, for instance– if you’re interviewing at Disney, put Mickey Mouse on your title slide; if you’re interviewing at Google, incorporate the primary colors that are used in their logo.

The next time you go into a job interview, don’t be surprised if you are faced with one of these “extreme” interviewing techniques. Use this knowledge to predict what employers are looking for, and put yourself ahead of your competition.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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