Remember the infamous Google brainteasers that were the hallmark of every interview with the search engine giant? Turns out, Google now considers them a "complete waste of time" that only serve the purpose of making the interviewer feel smart. In an interview with The New York Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations at Google, shares the type of question that he feels is most effective:
Instead, what works well are structured behavioral interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up.
Behavioral interviewing also works — where you're not giving someone a hypothetical, but you're starting with a question like, "Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem." The interesting thing about the behavioral interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information. One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable "meta" information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult.
I think it's really smart to discount hypothetical situations, because you wouldn't know if the interviewees will react the way they say they will react until it actually happens. And if you let the job applicant come up with their own examples, you can catch a glimpse of how they judge situations. Like Bock mentioned above, by asking the right questions, you can get a sense of what the interviewee considers to be difficult, stressful, and more.