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These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

Recently, I wrote about some of the best interview questions that Inc.com has featured over the years. And, I asked readers who had other suggestions to let me know about them.

Wow, did you ever deliver. Today, we’ll begin sharing some of the replies, starting with nine of the more unusual interview questions — creative ideas that elicit insights, while being offbeat enough that applicants probably won’t show up for job interviews with stock answers.

Feel free to use these questions as they are. But, perhaps even better, use them as jumping off point to come up with your own creative questions.

1.    “If you could kick one state out of the United States, which one would you pick and why?”

For pure curiosity’s sake, you might be interested to know if an applicant really thinks we’d be better off without North Dakota or Alabama. But the point of course is to how the applicant thinks, and sometimes even what he or she believes.

“I’ve heard applicants respond with fiscal perspectives, instinctual perspectives, experiential perspectives, and sometimes even downright nasty perspectives,” said Taylor Kerby, founder of Something Great Marketing, who suggested this question. “In the end it can let you know if the candidate would be a good fit for the role, and sometimes more importantly, a good fit for your company’s culture.”

2.    “A screwdriver and a screw together cost $2.20. The screwdriver costs $2 more than the screw. How much does the screw cost?”

Oddball question, sure. It seems like it should be easy. But most people will come to a quick and incorrect answer: 20 cents.

The correct answer is actually 10 cents, and Mark Anderson, CEO of Complete Express Foods, LLC said he’ll explain the math behind it. (If you’re having trouble with that math, here’s an explanation.)

“This question has … everything to do with listening, reading, and whether the new hire will challenge basic facts and directions,” Anderson explained. “Those that still argue [after it’s been explained], you immediately end the interview and wish them success at another company.”

3.    “What do you do if the Internet goes out at the office?”

I’m betting the preferred answer here is not something like, “Just call it quits for the day.”

Of course, you’re trying to figure out if the applicant can solve problems, go past a job description, and even bring lessons learned elsewhere to the office.

And, says Corri Smith, owner of a consulting and events firm in Charlotte, N.C. called Black Wednesday, the question “has truly tripped people up. One time a girl sat for a whole minute and then said, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t have an answer.’ It really shows the capacity to … create a solution and can also demonstrate how interested they are in getting their work done.”

4.    “If you were a box of cereal, what cereal would you be and why?” (Alternative: “What’s your favorite board game?”)

These are two bizarre questions, and you’re probably not all that interested in the ultimate answers. What you care about instead is the thought process and attitude.

“While this is an extremely weird question to ask, it’s a great way to get a more personal view of the potential candidate,” said Lewis Thomas, owner of Host Sorter, who suggested the cereal box question. “It also doubles as an icebreaker.”

“It’s a rather whimsical and unexpected question, and shows me how quickly they can think on their feet,” said Michael Pearce, a recruiter at Addison Group, who suggested the board game idea.

5.    “Do you like to win or hate to lose?”

Okay, I guess I’m about to ruin this question, at least if you’re interviewing at HR tech company Paycor, because Todd Rimer, senior manager in talent acquisition there, tells me there actually is a right answer in his mind.

“Those that like to win, you can’t fault them. Who doesn’t like to win? When you win, you are on top,” Rimer suggested. “But, when you hate to lose, you are more inclined to learn from mistakes, learn from past experiences and use these experiences in the future, whether it’s your next project or your next sale.”

6.    “What do you suck at?”

This question isn’t all that different from the time-worn, “What’s your greatest weakness?” However, I think it’s more direct — and less expected.

“It allows me to understand where they see their shortcomings, but also gives me insights into where they want to avoid [spending] their time,” said Peter Sullivan, founder and CEO of Jackpocket. “If that’s in conflict with where we need attention, I learn a lot.”

7.     “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?”

I think this is the opposite of the question above: It’s a way to get an unguarded insight into a classic question.

“Instead of hitting your candidates with the same old, ‘What are your strengths?’ question,” says Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR, “this is a more organic way to uncover their strengths.”

8.    “Tell me about a a project you worked on that failed? What did you learn?”

Failure is probably the last thing that most job applicants want to dwell on seriously, and with good reason.

But pushing in this direction, with a broad, open-ended question like this, tells you a lot more than the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, says Matt Erickson, managing director at National Positions.

You’re trying to find out things like, “Is this candidate driven? How do they communicate with teams?” Erickson explained. “Do they take responsibility? Can they learn and adapt, etc.?”

9.    Tell us about a time when you’ve had to deal with rejection.

I’m including this question here because it’s similar, but not quite the same, as the question about failure. It’s especially interesting when you’re interviewing people for a sales related role.

“Recruitment is a predominantly sales-based environment,” said Ian Clark, head of Americas at recruiting firm Mason Frank International, “so being able to handle rejection is essential to a candidate’s success in the role. … What I’m looking for is a candidate to demonstrate their resilience in this situation, and provide evidence of their drive and tenacity to bounce back.”

By: Bill Murphy Jr.

 

Source: These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

 

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This Awful Bitcoin Stat Guarantees It’s Not Crypto’s Future: Mathematician

With all the hype about blockchains and their many uses, we shouldn’t forget the original purpose for the Bitcoin blockchain and Nakamoto’s great leap forward.

Blockchains and cryptocurrencies were created to be decentralized currencies, replacing or complementing fiat currencies. For the most avid crypto fans, crypto is the future of currency and will eventually handle full-scale economies. We dream of the day that we laugh and tell our kids and grandkids that we had physical wallets, paper currencies, and things called “credit cards” (“Grandpa, seriously, you are so old!”).

Preparing the Crypto Economy for Mass Adoption

So what has to happen in order for us to run economies on the blockchain?

There are several hurdles we still need to clear, like getting the value of these currencies to be stable, handling privacy in a sensible way, and getting confirmation speeds fast enough for point-of-sale transactions.

By far the most glaring hurdle, however, is throughput. We need to be able to handle many, many more transactions per second than any current blockchain is capable of. At 13 transactions per second (a high estimate), Bitcoin can handle just over a million transactions per day. For niche, small economies, this might do the trick. But it certainly won’t do it for, say, the US economy.

Let’s put this into perspective. In 2017, the US gross domestic product (GDP) was almost $20 trillion. GDP isn’t a great measure of how much money changes hands during the year, but for our purposes, it’s close enough. If about $20 trillion changed hands in the US in 2017, then about $54 billion changed hands every day (20 trillion divided by 365). Ignoring how slowly Bitcoin processes transactions, if it were to handle $54 billion in transactions in one day, transactions would have to be on average about $54,000 (54 billion divided by 1 million).

What? Your everyday transactions aren’t $54,000 on average? Of course not. Between 2012 and 2017, US consumers spent roughly $80 per transaction online.

bitcoin is bad for payments

Bitcoin doesn’t look like a candidate to replace credit cards in the online payments realm. | Source: Statista

In 2016, transactions on Amex credit cards averaged about $141, and those on Visa averaged about $80. While it is true that corporations tend to transact in higher dollar amounts, it’s still likely that the crypto community is still a few orders of magnitude away from being able to handle all the transactions in an economy on a single blockchain.

If, based on the statistics I just gave, we assume that transactions are about $100 on average, then $54 billion would change hands every day in roughly 540 million transactions (54 billion divided by 100). That boils down to about 6,000 transactions per second on average. If we take into account the fact that most people transact during the day, a quick recalculation yields about 10,000 transactions in an average daytime second (instead of dividing by 24 hours of the day, divide by 16 to account for about 8 hours of sleep).

This estimate is probably about right. There are roughly 324 million people in the United States, and about 5 million businesses. If we assume that people and businesses, on average, transact 1.5 times per day, then we have about 500 million transactions per day (329 million entities multiplied by 1.5). This is close to our estimate of 540 million daily transactions from before, which gives about 10,000 transactions per daytime second in the United States.

Bitcoin Would Need to Increase Transaction Capacity By Four Orders of Magnitude to Replace Visa

Mastercard, Visa, Bitcoin

With Bitcoin’s staggeringly-limited transaction capacity, it’s unrealistic to believe it can rival Visa or Mastercard – much less both. | Source: Shutterstock

Getting back to the original question, how many transactions per second does a blockchain have to be able to handle in order to support the United States economy? Our rough calculation of 10,000 transactions per second is almost certainly not enough, but it does give a base from which we can work. To give perspective, Visa processes about 1,700 transactions per second on average but at peak times it can handle up to about 24,000 transactions per second. Their max limit is just over an order of magnitude higher than the average, in order to handle high-volume days like Black Friday or the post-Christmas wave of returns.

Taking Visa’s data as an example, since 10,000 transactions per second is our rough estimate for the average, we’d probably need to be able to handle around 100,000 transactions per second to really kill it (one order of magnitude higher than the average, similar to Visa). That’s a lot. More precisely, that’s about 10,000 times faster than Bitcoin—a whopping difference of four orders of magnitude.

To me, this says that our methods of finding consensus on a blockchain are simply not fast or powerful enough to actually use crypto as a viable currency. We need innovations in infrastructure, hardware, and consensus algorithms in order to even hope to reach this threshold.

Bitcoin Is Not the Future of Crypto

bitcoin

Derek Sorensen believes Bitcoin is definitely not the future of crypto. | Source: Shutterstock

That is to say that, barring some major changes and improvements, Bitcoin is almost certainly not the future of crypto.

Technologies like the Lightning Network attempt to solve the scalability problem, but do so awkwardly and ineffectively. Opening channels to transact off-chain ties up money in extremely inconvenient ways. In practice it incentivizes users to open a single channel with a centralized liquidity provider on the blockchain, rather than opening many channels. This effectively creates unregulated, centralized banks, and in my view goes against the core principles of blockchain technology. Even worse, because transactions are done off-chain and channel data can’t be deterministically rebuilt, if a Lightning node crashes, both parties can easily lose funds. It may genuinely be one of the worst ideas in cryptocurrency.

Notwithstanding, the blockchains of the future may not be so far off. New research in math shows promising results in the mathematical foundations of consensus that could produce blockchains with 50,000 transactions per second or more without compromising safety or decentralization. Every day, a new paper comes out or a crypto startup launches a new product.

There are plenty of bright minds working on securing the crypto dream. I guess in twenty years if you’re paying for your groceries with crypto you’ll know that we succeeded.

About the Author: Derek Sorensen, Pyrofex Research Mathematician, has an MSc in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford and is set to start his PhD this fall at the University of Cambridge, where he will study logic and topology. His work at Pyrofex is in formal verification, which includes research on the theory of consensus and setting up mathematical frameworks to prove theorems about code.

Source: This Awful Bitcoin Stat Guarantees It’s Not Crypto’s Future: Mathematician

An Interview With John McAfee The Future Of Bitcoin – Cointelegraph

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