October 01, 2013, 10:49 AM — Backup My Info CEO Jennifer Walzer has one simple question she asks all job candidates: How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
"We find this hiring tactic to be really, really interesting because we'll find out a lot about this candidate," she tells Inc.
Walzer says the elementary question can reveal a lot about a person’s communication skills, work style and much more.
"If they make it simple and don't explain a lot of details with how to make the sandwich, it might help us to understand, 'Does this person pay attention to details?', 'Can they explain things easy?' " she says.
Armed with this information, Walzer's hiring team can then pinpoint that as an area to research further in the interview or with the candidate's references.
Walzer recalls one candidate who was very detail-oriented and took an extremely long time to answer the question. She asked the candidate's references if the person had trouble getting his work done on time, something that would not mesh with her organization's fast-paced environment.
When the reference confirmed that the candidate was so detail-oriented efficiency was a problem, Walzer realized that although this person was skilled, he was not the right fit for the job.
"Something as simple as a PB& J sandwich helped us figure this out," she adds.