Puzzles to mechanics: What you may have to do for a startup job

  • Himani Chandna, Hindustan Times, NEW DELHI
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 12:09 IST
Easier to get in than get out of ! (Illustration: Abhimanyu)

Ever heard of an interview, which continued for 12 hours and beyond, and where the interviewee was asked to fix a riddle? Or where a panel played rapid-fire quiz?

All these and many more.

To invest money wisely in the right talent, a bunch of startups have designed quirky, but innovative interview formats.

Sample this.

The interview panel at TravelTriangle, a holiday marketplace, asks the candidate to solve an in-house designed psychometric riddle. “We have designed a riddle, where some interviews have gone even beyond 12 to 13 hours,” said Sankalp Agarwal, one of the co-founders at TravelTriangle, who also features in the Limca Book of World Records for solving the world’s largest puzzle.

“The riddle has no right or wrong answer but it inadvertently highlights the basic traits of the interviewee no matter how much they try to portray a personality type,” Agarwal added.

Another example is a geeky question from an interview conducted by e-tailer Pick N Get, which goes something like — Three jumping frogs crossing the river, three green frogs on the left, three brown frogs on the right. All sitting on a stone. There’s an empty stone in the middle. How to make them jump, skipping only one stone at a time, to change the positions of the frogs from right to left and vice versa.

“We give our candidates eight attempts and 15 minutes to solve puzzles. It helps us to see who can handle the pressure of time and take less number of attempts to complete the test,” said Pradeep Kumar, CEO, Pick N Get.

Apart from designing puzzles, startups are also keen to check the practical knowledge of interviewee. For example, a candidate going for an interview at the portal GetCarXpert.com for the post of a service engineer may end up fixing a car. Similarly, an aspiring call-centre executive may end up sitting in the office for a day to handle client complaints and concerns.

What’s more, an interviewee applying for the post of a delivery boy at online grocery shop, Zip.in, may be asked to deliver products at employees’ doorsteps!.

“Startups must look at case-studies of Zomato, Tiny Owl, FoodPanda among other ventures, which have faced cash crunch. It’s about hiring a person who can perform in extreme pressure and for this, startups need to up their ante in terms of new interview formats,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder at staffing firm, TeamLease Services.

Shailesh Mehta, CEO, Joybynature, a marketplace for organic and natural products, said: “We follow a basic screening process for all employees. It includes a rapid-fire session where we ask questions to understand the domain knowledge and then take the interview to the next level.”

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