Articles & Resources

We provide competency-based behavioral interviewing training for interview teams including hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers. We have been publishing articles for over 40 years to address the myriad of issues encountered in the process of hiring top talent.

Asking the Interview Question "How Much is 12X24?"

Newsletter • volume 1 • number 2

Participants of our Effective Interviewing!® seminar will recognize this interview question and the answer (288). They also know it shows how a candidate's mind works (mental shortcuts include 12 X 12 X 2 and 24 X 10 plus 2 X 24).

One of our clients, Joseph Nichols, manager of college Recruiting for Macy's California relates a humorous anecdote following his use of this question on various college campuses. In the afternoon, Nichols would randomly replace the 12 X 24 question with "How much is 25 X 40?" One surprised student replied, "That's not fair. I've memorized the answer to 12 X 24 and that's the question you're supposed to ask."

Other retail service clients use these questions to help assess candidate potential to perform simple calculations on the job. In all cases, clients report a disturbing number of candidates who can't answer such questions.

Would you rather discover this in the interview or after you hire the person?