Goof balls on a plane

There is some good news in the world. I don’t interview for a lot of jobs, but I worry about it all the time anyway. Why? Because life is uncertain. Also, I picked a business with disappearing floorboards. Plus also too, I’m just a worrier.

So I’ve always read about job interviewing. What employers are looking for and what kind of questions they ask, and what kind of answers might get you hired. I have always been particularly alarmed about the high-tech employers’ ‘outside-the-box’ type questions. Like how many golf balls would fit in an airplane. Aside from the complicated math skills required that I don’t have, there is the creative thinking skills required, which I supposedly do have. Yet when I contemplate the tricky questions like why is a manhole cover round, I don’t think under the pressure of an interview situation that I’d do too well. (The answer to the manhole cover question, I think, is that there’s no way to turn one such that it can fall into the hole. I don’t think this is the actual reason. I think they are round because all the pipes they connect to are round and they just realized after the fact that they can’t fall in. You could say if they weren’t round that the reason they’re not round is because if they were round then they could roll down an inclined street and kill people.)

But anyway, now they’ve discovered that this type of question is absolutely useless to the employer, in that it doesn’t do anything to predict job success.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-big-data-may-not-be-such-a-big-deal.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1371813455-ATDho/WPZwBxpsPKovN3lw So maybe now they’ll stop asking them, and one less thing to worry about. Maybe they will be replaced with another creativity-testing question such as “Why do companies ask questions in job interviews that do not help them find the right employees?”

But mostly employers are asking for, judging from what I’ve read, is insane, selfless devotion to the company and willingness to do any amount of work to see the company succeed. This is the kind of question you get to ask when workers are desperate for a job and you have them over a barrel. In a healthy, balanced economy you’d get that kind of effort by paying for it in salary.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.

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