A brainteaser interview is one in which brainteasers are part of the questions posed to the candidate. These kinds of interviews are used when organizations select employees for positions where quickness and agility are critical attributes. These brainteasers provoke the candidate into using his skills in analysis, reasoning and persuasion. The interviewers in the vast majority of cases are not looking for a “correct answer”; rather, they are looking for the flow of logic that led the candidate to reach the correct answer. Hence, the logical deductions that lead to an answer and the skill in explaining the answer convincingly to the interviewer are crucial.
Typical questions posed in a brainteaser interview can be :-
1. How would you explain the color blue to a blind man
2. How many times in a day do the hands of a clock overlap?
Questions like these can be unsettling at first, but the interviewer is observing much more than just the answer. The ideal way out for the candidate is to analyze the questions, take his own time and give a logical answer that need not always be correct. A sincere and methodical attempt to solve the question will impress the interviewer.
In certain situations, the interviewer may pretend to hint at an answer which is clearly wrong. The response of the candidate to this should be to put forth arguments against the choice of the interviewer in a polite, yet, firm manner.
Asking the interviewers for further details is fine. This sends the impression that you do not jump to conclusion without level-headed analysis.
While choosing brainteasers for the interviews, the interviewer should be selective in what he chooses. The intention of the brainteaser is to provoke creative thinking in the candidate. It is not to give the candidate a sense of inadequacy. A good brainteaser can go a long way in breaking the ice in the interview hall.
Some of the characteristics of good brain teasers are:
• The brain teasers should have solutions.
• They should be short and narrated in a crisp and clear manner. Questions with distracting details and situations are not ideal. The puzzles can be open ended. Open ended puzzles have the advantage of enabling discussion which may provide further insight into the candidate’s mental skills.
• The problem should have “depth”. By depth, we mean that the problem should have meaning beyond what appears at first glance. The problem should make the candidate look deeper into the details given.
• The puzzle should stimulate the candidate: The candidate should look at the puzzle not as an obstacle to be cleared but as something to be enjoyed. Brain teasers that stimulate and interest the candidates will greatly aid the interviewing process.