Unconventional Job Interview Questions and Why They are Useful

Unconventional Job Interview Questions and Why They are Useful

Great people make great companies, so it’s vital that you hire the right people. That means asking unconventional job interview questions, not just your run-of-the-mill questions, is really important to include in your interviews.

Asking those unconventional job interview questions is how you get to know your candidate and not just the practiced front they put up for interviews.

Here are some of the best unconventional questions to ask any candidate you’re interviewing both one-on-one and in a group interview.

What is Your Favourite Movie of All Time?

People come to interviews ready for the same kinds of questions they always get, which makes it less so an interview and more like a rehearsed script. Throw in something unexpected and they are forced to go off-script.

“The answer is almost inconsequential (although you could make a case for immediately disqualifying anyone that mentions Gigli). It’s the person’s reaction, thought process, and level of comfort in dealing with the unexpected you should be studying.” – COO Alliance

Asking unconventional questions like this is about finding a balance between learning information about the person while also seeing how they react to unexpected situations. Their reaction can often tell you more about them as an employee than their actual answer.

When Could You Start, and How Much Do You Think You Need to Earn During Year One? Year Three?

By asking this question in person, you get to know how much the candidate values themselves as an employee while also weeding out any overzealous candidates.

“I love this question because candidates will actually give you the real dollar amount they’d work for versus an inflated number they’d give if no one else was around.” – Cameron Herold

This job interview question is best suited for group interviews, but even just one-on-one, the candidate is much more likely to give you that real dollar amount when you’re face to face versus on paper or over the phone.

Who is the Best Candidate in this Room and Why?

A question like this is important to ask during the group interview process. It shows a lot about the candidates’ leadership abilities and their cultural fit in your company.

“The right skill set is only one factor in finding the perfect candidate — and arguably, in a fast-paced startup, it’s at least equally as important as culture fit. How your potential hire complements your current employees can have a major impact on team morale and overall execution.” – Inc

By getting the candidate to choose someone else for the position and explain why their explanation reflects what they think is important for your company. Learning what they’d value in an employee, gives you the opportunity to assess if their values are in line with the company’s.

Why Have You Always Let People Tell You What to Do?

The perfect time to ask this job interview question is simply out of nowhere. Ask a few traditional questions, then ask this. The way the candidate reacts to such a harsh and unexpected question tells you so much about them. Here are a few reactions to look out for with this question:

  1. Do they get angry and defensive?
  2. Do they stay calm and explain the situation?
  3. Do they stammer and talk in circles?

You want to look out for the candidates that fall into that second category. The candidates that react calmly are the ones that are much more likely to stay level headed if they get an unexpected change to their work or if something goes wrong.

Both in group interviews and one on one, unconventional questions will tell you a lot about the candidate. Sticking with the traditional questions will only take you so far, and that’s not far enough to make a good decision.

Interviews aren’t simply about the questions and their answers, they’re also about the candidates’ reactions and how well they handle the unexpected and that’s exactly what unconventional questions are for.

If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!

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