Unusual Interview Questions and what they can tell you
Your Company has grown, you want the best people supporting you and naturally, you’ve selected Strategic People as your recruitment partner to provide you with the strong candidates you deserve. Having had your exacting expectations satisfied, you now have a pile of résumés detailing the qualifications and experiences of the candidates we’ve provided. These make it clear to you that each candidate could do the job.
There’s no chaff in our candidate selection process, but you only need so much wheat. Which will you choose to join your team and take your company forward? Naturally, the same keen insight that led you to choose us as your source of prospective employees, is what you’ll need to decide between them.
Quality candidates will no doubt have researched your company, prepared for the interview and anticipated the kind of questions you’re likely to ask. In order to find out who they truly are, you’ll need to be creative. They can all do the job, but who do you want to work with? Who will be the next cog in the machine without grinding anyone’s gears?
Interviews by nature are formal affairs, someone who works for you must be able to be impeccably mannered and behaved. Having said that, there’s also a time and a place for levity and a question with a little humour allows the candidate to demonstrate their ability to adapt to the unexpected in a polished yet natural way. For many ‘off the wall’ questions, there may be no wrong answer, other than “I don’t know”.
If it’s true that the Universe is infinite, what is it expanding into?
It’s tough to answer, even by the experts, but this encourages the candidate to attempt to resolve a very abstract question. How they go about this may give you an insight into their thought process.
Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit? Why?
This question does have a right answer (it’s a cake), however, unless the candidate knows why this is it can encourage them to open up and discuss their ideas.
How would you define success?
For some, success is defined by money, for others, it’s fame, for others still, it’s being able to freely pursue their passions. No answer is wrong here, but you may pick up on what motivates the candidate which will be useful should you decide to engage them.
Which Doctor Who was the greatest?
Doctor Who is a well know National institution and many people will have a strong opinion; either on which actor played the character best or why they don’t watch the show. It allows you to observe the candidate expressing and defending an opinion, how they do this being more important than what they decide.
What will you be remembered for?
It’s a slightly different take on the usual interview question “What’s your greatest achievement?” and broadens the scope to include anything the candidate did which they believe made an impression on others.
What convinced you that your last job wasn’t for you anymore?
The candidate is likely to be in work but considering a move, or perhaps they’ve left already. Asking why may give you an insight into potential future behaviour should you choose to engage them.
Convince me to engage in your favourite pastime, why should I do it?
A way to ask what they’re passionate about (which may have been prepared for) without asking the question.
Have you used any of these questions? What questions would you add to this list? How did they help in your selection process? We’d love to hear how candidates have responded, what are the best answers they’ve given?