“Would you rather be an Archbishop or a Brigadier?”

“Would you rather be an Archbishop or a Brigadier?” was the question posed to one of our candidates recently. She was tempted to reply “Neither, I’m here to be a management consultant.”

How would you answer? And what lies behind the question? US-based Careers writer Kimberly Weisul sought advice and gave some pointers in her blog on the subject. Interviewing careers coach Michael Melcher he confirmed what you might have suspected: “These questions say more about the personality of the person designing the questions than what will actually be effective in finding good people,” he says. “The types of questions they ask may reinforce their self-concept as creative, edgy, out-of-the-box, et cetera, but they are not necessarily meaningful.”

Her article continues: “Here’s Melcher’s advice about how to answer the unanswerable.

Would you rather be a stream, a rock, or a tree?
Melcher says the interviewer is looking to see 1) if you can think spontaneously, 2) if you can tell an interesting story, and how you do it, and 3) if you can be relaxed and fresh when asked about things that are out of your comfort zone. So don’t just answer with one word-make up a rationale and elaborate on it, even if it seems kind of wacky. An oddball question may require an oddball answer.”

Would you have a good response?

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