If you were a doughnut, what kind would you be? Are you a nerd? Can you count to 50?

I couldn’t stop laughing when I recently read the list of naive and brainless interview questions that are used by insane HR departments around the world. The list was compiled by Anne Fisher, a contributor to Fortune magazine. But it gets worse:

• Will you keep sober at the New Year Party?

• What leadership skills are needed to cook a chicken?

• Do you believe in ghosts?

• Would you go out with me?

• What would make you leave your husband?

Way too many people-turned-recruiters make it easy for candidates to guess what is the right answer. I mean, is it not obvious what you must answer to these questions, if you want to stand any chance of being considered for the job: can you sell, do you work well under pressure, are you a team player?

The most used question technique in job interviews, used by real professional recruiters, is known by the names behaviour-based interview or competency-based interview or even performance-based interview.

The technique is based on a simple premise: A look at the past provides a glimpse of the future. If you did it before, you'll do it again. We say the past behaviour and performance is the best predictor of future behaviour and performance.

The basic idea calls for the interviewer to prompt or press the candidate to recall and describe in sometimes excruciating details real life incidents that provide evidence of a skill or experience relevant to the new job.

• Can you give me an example of when you [insert].

• Could you tell me about a time when you [insert].

• Tell me more about when you [insert].

• Have you ever had to [insert]? What was the situation, and what did you do?

• Describe a situation where you [insert].