Gone are the day of the “what’s your greatest strength and weakness?” I mean, what does that really tell you anyway? Newsflash— people make up stuff to make them look good as an answer for those questions. Time is precious so don’t waste it getting canned answers from potential hires.
Asking out of the ordinary questions will not only get you better, meatier responses but will also show you how quick they are to think on their feet. Remember to stay away from the “do you” or “have you” questions that will equal getting just a yes or no answer. Open-ended questions such as “give me an example of…” or “tell me about…” will allow for more of a discussion and thorough interview.
“Design your unique interview questions to elicit stories from your candidates; stories that can be woven together to provide a complete profile of your candidate,” says Andrew Greenberg of Recruiting Division– a great resource for unique questions.
Here are 15 unique questions that will help you cut to the chase, expose any red flags and find the best person for the job:
Where does their passion lie- good assessment of their interests and how that fits with your work culture:
1. When in your life have you been so passionately focused on an activity that you lost track of time and what were you doing?
How do they handle conflict?
2. Tell me about a time when you had a work conflict/disagreement with another colleague- what was the situation, how did you handle it and what was the end result.
What’s their background/ Critical thinking skills:
3. Tell us a bit about your work background, and then give us a description of how you think it relates to our current opening.
How do their personal values align with the businesses?
4. Have the candidate read the company’s mission and value statements and discuss how they fit with their personal values.
Hiring managers should also get insight into different candidate personalities to help make the best hiring fit for the position. Questions such as these below will get you away from just work related inquiries and tell you more about who they really are:
5. What was the last movie you saw?
6. What superhero would you be and why?
7. Who is your role model? And why do you look up to that person?
They may have every degree or certification under the sun- but do they continue to learn?
8. What is the last seminar or workshop you’ve attended?
9. What book is on your nightstand?
10. What newspapers, websites, blogs do you read every day?
What do they know about your company? Candidates who really want the job should have come having done their homework. Test their knowledge.
11. What’s our web address?
12. What can you tell me about our mission statement, goals, values of the company? (Obviously, ask this question before #4 above. This could be a great lead-in to asking #4)
What kind of leadership skills (or lack of) do they have?
13. How have you used leadership to get a team to complete a goal or project?
14. Discuss failed leadership, and a time when you failed as a leader.
15. How would you deal with an employee who misses performance goals?
I’ll never forget right after college I had an interview where the manager asked me trivia questions like “who are the two U.S. Senators that represent this state” and “how many people died in 9/11”. I ended up not getting the job. But to this day, it stands out in my mind as one of the best and most nerve-wracking interviews that taught how to prepare for future interviews.
Asking unique, out-of-the-box questions will help you find the best, most well-rounded person for the job that will ultimately help move your company forward.