Sorry to hear your news, Con.
I've just failed an interview because I didn't correctly answer the question about what affect I have on other people?
Not only do I have no recall of that question being asked, but it's a strange question to ask, anyway. Do they mean the affect on other people because I use a walking stick, or is it my personality they are asking about?
I've no idea.
I think that sometimes an employer just looks for any excuse to fail you.
Don't know about the UK, but here in the states those kind of "psychology questions" are asked all the time. They're designed to do two things:
1. Get information about the applicant that a resume and vocational questions don't get to;
2. See how the applicant responds to unanticipated questions.
It's always good to mentally prepare yourself to answer these kinds of questions. Common ones are the one that tripped you up, plus others such as:
1. How do you handle conflict in a job situation?
2. What is your biggest professional weakness/area for improvement?
3. What do you think is more important: getting the job done quickly, or getting it done right?
4. If you saw a problem that was hindering the ability to get things done, what would you do?
5. Give some examples of how you've worked on teams
6. How would your former coworkers describe you?
There actually answers to these questions that HR prefers to hear--i.e., that you're a negotiator in conflict stiuations, that you're committed to quality, that you would have the courage to use chain of command to report problems, that you're a team player, and that others consider you to be innovative, productive, and passionate about results.
Even if these aren't true, you should answer them such and do so with a straight face. In this job market (at least here in the states), employers are far more interested in square pegs than they are with original thinkers.