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Sudoku in Business…Really?

Probably like most, I enjoy trying to tackle a Sudoku from time to time. I like the challenge, strategy and actually like to time myself to see how long it takes to complete one. Over the years I have probably done hundreds. I must admit, there is another reason I like Sudoku and it isn’t trying to complete them myself, but rather, it’s having a new hire candidate attempt to complete one.

I realize that many of you think this sounds crazy but please let me explain the process and the reasons why:

After speaking to a candidate for 15-20 minutes I will tell them that I have something I’d like them to do. I give them an easy Sudoku and ask them to tackle as much as they can in 5 minutes.

Here is my logic:

  • Business is all about surprises and I want to see how they handle doing something that they didn’t expect
  • I like to see how analytical they are in their approach to the puzzle
  • I want to see if they hesitate with the request and if so, how much?
  • If they don’t know how to do Sudoku, I’m able to explain and see how quick they learn

For me, it isn’t about how far they get with the puzzle; it’s about the process, their attitude and their willingness to do it.

  • What do you think of the idea?
  • Have you ever tried to have a candidate to do something like this?
  • If you were interviewing and someone asked you to do it what would you think?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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