Is Anybody Hungry?

I was participating in a panel interview recently and one of the panelists asked what might be one of the greatest interview questions I’ve ever heard.  He said “Tell me how you would make a peanut butter sandwich.”

I can hear you now – “What?!?  That’s the greatest question ever?”  Yes, it just might be.

Clearly there is no right or wrong to this question, but you can learn so much from the answer.  One candidate started with “well, I’m low on groceries so first I’d go to the store.”  Others are very direct, “I’d put peanut butter on two slices of bread and stick them together.”  Some get very detailed, “Take the bread from the cupboard, remove the twist-tie to open the package, remove two slices of bread and place them on a plate, reseal the package, then place the bread back in the cupboard” and on and on.  A surprising number will add jelly, even though it’s not part of the question.  Some talk about the colors and flavors while others stick to the facts like reading a computer manual.

What this question does is to force someone to reveal how they think. Are they a detail oriented person, a big picture person, or a descriptive person?  Do they understand process or only results? Are they creative?

As a job seeker, you need to think ahead about how you would answer this type of question.   The odds are that no one will ask you how to make a sandwich, but they might ask you questions that reveal who you are.  When they do, you need to know the answer to that question.

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