Singapore Huxley Associates: Top 5 bizarre interview questions

Businesswoman Interviewing Male Candidate For Job


There’s an apocryphal story that has been bandied about for years, about an interview where the interviewer asked a candidate: “Do something to surprise me”. The interviewee got out his lighter and set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper. It’s not an action we would advise emulating, but very definitely comes under the heading of utterly incomprehensible interview questions. “Why do these questions get asked” is a tricky question to answer, but as it appears to have started in Silicon Valley during the tech boom its roots are likely to be found in the free-thinking, mould-breaking philosophy that many of the tech pioneers applied to their businesses.

First and foremost you should remember there isn’t a right answer, depending on the nature of the question, which these questions are about your thought processes, your coolness under pressure, your personality and your approach to problem solving. What you don’t do is say, “I don’t know”, or “that’s a good question” and stare off into space. Let’s take the question: “How many cricket bats are there in the world?” You could either pluck an answer out of thin air: “Three million?”, or go about figuring out how to work it out. “Well, if the population of the sporting public in the UK is X, and a tenth of them play cricket, then that’s XX for the UK, plus another X for the cricketing population in India…” etc. This is the sort of approach the employer would be looking for.

Five types of questions you might encounter

1. Lots of these questions fall along the lines of if you were a colour/an animal/a garden gnome/a car/a food/a computer application (yes, really) what one would you be and why? Try to think of the qualities of the object and how they might relate to your skills or character.

2. What are all the different uses you can think of for a lemon? Apparently asked during an interview for an airline pilot, this type of question is designed to find out how much of a creative thinker you are.

3. Who would you invite to a dinner party/what superhero/movie character would you be/who is your role model? In other words, what character traits do you most admire in other people and why? Think about what specific things they have achieved and what it is about those achievements that you admire so much.

4. How many people will be on Facebook in New York on a Friday afternoon? There are a raft of questions that are much more technical in nature and much more aligned to the role you are seeking. This question was aimed at a marketing executive, and was probing how well they understand the use of social media around the world.

5. Tell me a story. This is a firm favourite, and represents a golden opportunity for you to tell a work-related anecdote that is also relevant to the role in question and also illustrates how you see other people and the world around you.

Huxley Associates International: Why are UK banking jobs moving out of London?

Huxley Associates International Why are UK banking jobs moving out of London

Banking jobs are down in the UK. With every month comes a headline announcing the latest swathe of job cuts by a UK bank: RBS to cut almost 450 investment banking jobs in the UK (March 2016); Lloyds Banking Group to cut 1,755 jobs and close 29 branches (February 2016), Barclays to axe 1,200 jobs worldwide (January 2016).

Despite this overall downward trend, regionally, jobs in the banking sector are increasing. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of banking jobs decreased by 4,848 in London but increased outside of London by 2,450. Since 2012, the difference is even more apparent: the number of banking jobs decreased by 4,497 in London but increased outside of London by 5,251. In 2014, 77 local authorities in Britain had faster growth in banking jobs than anywhere in London.

“The nearshore model is gaining increasing focus by a lot of banks,” says Sachin Gupta, Business Manager, Huxley Banking & Finance. “Companies have identified that there is a definite talent pool outside of the capital and are taking advantage of that.”

According to the BBA report, there are several major cities outside of London that are banking workforce hubs. Birmingham’s banking cluster is a vivid example of this, but far from the only one, says the report. In addition to Birmingham, in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh the concentration of banking jobs is also significantly higher than the national average: banking jobs account for 1.7% of total employment in Great Britain, whereas in these cities such jobs range from 2.2% to 6.5%.