While job interviews are supposed to focus on a candidate's professional skills, some recruiters and hiring managers today have taken to some extent to ask unconventional questions to identify talent and see how well a candidate would fit in the company.
Big tech companies like Google and Microsoft, just to name a few, started with interview questions as odd and puzzling as it could get.
Digging deep to determine a candidate's knowledge and skills, cultural fit, and intelligence, or just get a sense of what kind of person they are, go and be a little creative in the interview. We put together a cheat sheet of interview questions that will show you whether that candidate is a worth hiring.
After asking the basic and introductory questions on your list, next is to try and challenge them and make them think. Thought provoking questions will encourage candidates to think hard, and will also make you see how their mind works when difficult circumstances come up.
1. Explain to me something that's complicated but you know well?
A test of intelligence and a way to gauge passion. It doesn't necessarily have to do anything with work, in fact, it's better if it isn't. Here, you encourage the candidate to explain and break down a complex idea and the way they articulate it to someone who doesn't quite understand it.
You'd be surprised what responses come out of their heads.
2. Tell me about a time you failed.
This one is popular question. Because no one is perfect, this question is a great way to test a person's humility and self-awareness. The important thing is what happens next.
How does the candidate recover from that failure? What valuable lesson did they get from it? And how did they use it as a motivation for self-improvement? Watch out though when they start dropping names and pointing fingers to blame other colleagues. That's a major red flag right there. The answer to this question should show whether a person is willing to take ownership of their work or will be quick to shirk responsibility when the going gets tough.
Determining if a candidate has the relevant skills and experience is only half the battle. The other half is to see if they're a good fit for the company.
3. What excites you to get up and come to work at your last job?
Let's be honest, a lot of people dislike their jobs. So for companies that want to grow and want to have the best culture and employer brand, it's important for them to let their employees be emotionally invested in coming to work.
Find out why candidates found their last role exciting and what motivated them to keep digging deep when the going got tough. If they didn’t find their last role stimulating, find out why.
4. What’s your favorite non-professional activity?
It’s always important to try and understand what kind of person you're about to hire is, and how they are outside of work is the best way to do it.
While it may not impact their work at all, it can help you understand someone’s character. These kind of questions help to relax candidates and encourage them to open up. Who knows, maybe you might have something in common an become work best friends!
Download the cheat sheet to view all 8 questions.