Seasoned interviewees have heard all of the usual interview questions. They have their perfectly formed answers at the ready and know how to tell you what you want to hear. Firstly, the answers themselves, because they’re unlikely to have been prepared, will tell you a lot about your prospective employee. Secondly, the way your candidates respond and communicate in the face of the unexpected is equally as useful to note.
Here are a few unusual questions to include when conducting your next interview:
What advice would you give to your previous boss?
Candidates are rarely negative about their previous employer in an interview. It sends out the wrong signals. This question allows them to couch their bugbears as constructive criticism and will reveal a lot about how they like to work in the process.
What thing, other than money, would have inspired you to keep working at your current/previous job?
This question helps you to tap into a candidate’s aspirations and work priorities. Make sure you can give them what they’re looking for or it could be that your new employee heads for the door sooner than you’d think.
If we’re here a year from now, celebrating your first year in the role, what successes would we be remembering?
This question reveals your candidate’s ambitions but also helps to show how much research they’ve done into your company. Their goals should, for the most part, match up with organisational goals.
Tell me 10 unique selling points about this pen.
This gets your candidate to think on the spot. You’ll test their creativity and see how they operate under pressure.
What were you like as a child?
A personal question that your candidate should be able to answer without too much hesitation. The content of their answer shouldn’t concern you too much. Instead, it’s the delivery that counts and how your candidate relates their childhood self to the person they are today.
Tell me about a time you disappointed someone and how you handled it.
A candidate’s answer to this question will reveal what their priorities are. If they talk about their own feelings, rather than the feelings of the person they disappointed and how the situation was resolved, it may be that your candidate will struggle to stand in another’s shoes.
How do you define success?
The answer to this question should reveal a lot about a candidate’s life ethos and work ambitions, helping you to establish whether they’d fit in with your company culture.
If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would its three core values be?
Again, a question that helps to determine cultural fit. Do the ethics valued by your candidate chime with those of your company?
How do you define hard work?
This is a great question to ask if you’re trying to determine whether your candidate will keep up with the pace at your company.
In five minutes, teach me something I don’t know.
This question tests a lot of candidate skills – intelligence, eloquence, charm and the ability to think on their feet. If your candidate is passionate and knowledgeable, these could be great attributes to harness in the workplace.
Conducting an effective interview is something of an art form. With the right questions and a few curve balls at your disposal, you will be well-placed to discover as much as you can about the person sitting in front of you.
Corinne Ledling is a businesswoman who’s very passionate about her job. She’s a Content Manager at Bizstats.co.uk and loves to share career tips and tricks.