Why Are Manhole Covers Round? A Laboratory Study of Reactions to Puzzle Interviews


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Chris W. Wright, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, EP 301, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA. E-mail: cwright@sfsu.edu


Popularized by Microsoft in the 1990s, the puzzle interview is being used with greater frequency by employers in a variety of industries. The present study was designed to explore applicant reactions to puzzle interviews. 360 participants watched either a puzzle interview or a behavioral interview. The job for which the interviewee was applying was also manipulated. Results showed that participant ratings of several reactions variables were significantly lower for puzzle interviews. The findings were consistent across four different jobs. Implications for the use of puzzle interviews in industry and for future research are discussed.