While every phase of your recruitment process is important, the interview phase is arguably the defining point.
If a candidate has reached the interviewing stage, it’s highly likely that they have the potential to be a great hire. It’s crucial to find ways to get to know them well in the least amount of time possible.
Creating thought-provoking and unique interview questions is a great way to do so, and mastering them will make for an efficient interview session. In this article, we’ve compiled 10 unique interview questions that you can implement to highlight your best candidates.
1. If there’s one thing you could do over again, what is it and why?
When looking for the best employee, it’s important to know their level of self-awareness.
Are they self-aware enough to realise their mistakes or imperfections in other things? If so, there’s a good chance that they also won’t have a problem admitting and owning up to their faults—an important quality to have in any employee.
In addition to that, you’ll be able to assess their analytical skills as well. If they can show their ability to improve or rectify a past mistake, you’ll know that if you hire them, you’ll have someone with solution-driven characteristics and problem-solving skills.
2. What job would you never want to do, even for a million pounds?
This type of question can tell you a lot about a candidate’s values and beliefs.
In addition, it’s a great way to “break the ice” leading to interesting experiences you or the candidate had in the past.
That said, make sure to listen carefully to how they defend their answer, as well. You may learn what are their strong points in addition to weak points, enabling you to make a better decision on whether they are a good fit for the role.
3. If you can learn any skill today, what would it be and why?
As the world rapidly advances, it’s essential to stay in the know about the latest trends in your industry. A candidate who shows initiative and willingness to learn is often a valuable future employee.
When candidates answer this question, it reveals how self-aware they are of their strengths, weaknesses, and priorities. As mentioned previously, self-awareness is an important trait. After all, with it comes responsibility and the drive for improvement.
If their responses are career-related, they are more likely to be driven and ambitious. If it’s something else, like playing an instrument, it shows a healthy interest in other things besides their job.
Be especially on the lookout for responses relevant to the position they’re interviewing for. If they want to learn relevant skills, it could indicate their desire to excel in their role by taking on additional training and education.
4. If you were asked to do a TED Talk, what would it be about and why?
This question reveals the candidate’s personal expertise and interests. In this imaginary situation, people would naturally gravitate to topics that they know a lot about and that they’re personally interested in.
If they choose to discuss something unrelated to their job, it gives you a chance to know about their hobbies, interests, and personality. On the other hand, if they choose something work-related, then it could show you their knowledge related to the position they’re interviewing for.
5. What is one thing you would like to create if you had the opportunity?
Although you may not think about it often, creativity is an important character trait that is valuable in any job.
Creativity allows us to make interesting associations and try new solutions to already-existing problems — a useful tool for any employee.
With this question, you’re probing into their creative abilities and desires. If they’re serious about their creative pursuits, you might be able to expect the same kind of commitment from their role.
When answering this question, expect a lot of responses for things outside their career. This shouldn’t detract from your overall assessment, as it's the nature of the question itself.
However, a good candidate would find ways to relate their outside pursuits and interests to the position they’re applying for.
6. How would you explain how this works to a 5-year-old?
For this question, simply replace ‘this’ with something related to the position they’re applying for.
It’s often said that the ability to make a complicated topic make sense to someone who knows nothing about it, such as a clueless five-year-old, is a great indicator of true understanding.
This is what you’re trying to discover when you ask this question.Evaluate how they approach the problem and ask follow-up questions to elaborate further.
7. What’s a problem that you solved recently, and how did you do it?
Problems can include tricky situations, obstacles, and broken things that need fixing. In other words, you’re asking for anything that displays problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
The answer to this question says a lot about their work ethic, resourcefulness, and even creativity. For example, if a programmer managed to finish a difficult project long before the deadline by working beyond their usual hours, that reveals their determination and perseverance at finishing tasks.
8. Who’s your childhood role model?
Most, if not all, of us, had a childhood model of some sort. Our fascination with them and our reasons for liking them reveal a lot about the values that we think are important.
When you ask a candidate about their childhood model, it may reveal core values that they hold dear without them knowing. This can help you assess whether a candidate fits your workplace culture.
9. How did you deal with a past failure?
Failure is natural, whether in your personal life or career. Failure is inevitable. As much as we try to minimise our mistakes, sooner or later, it happens to all of us.
Don’t look for someone who has never failed because they don’t exist. Instead, look for someone who deals with failure well. It means they’re willing to admit their shortcomings and correct their mistakes, making them more likely to be successful the next time around.
10. What’s your ultimate goal in life?
This is a profound, insightful question that can reveal a lot about a candidate’s principles, priorities, and plans for the future.
If their ultimate goal in life is something work-related like career advancement, these are signs that they are driven and ambitious. They would likely do whatever they can to achieve that advancement in the time frame they want, whether that means taking additional responsibilities or undergoing more training.
If their ultimate goal is not work-related, this doesn’t automatically mean that they don’t take their job seriously. After all, not everyone has the same priorities. Instead, look into the values that underlie their answers. For example, if their ultimate goal is to provide a good life for their family, these can be signs that they are loyal and a great team player – two values that any employer would appreciate in an employee.
Using These Interview Questions in Your Recruitment Process
Your interviews don’t have to be a cut-and-dry copy of the old formulas. Aside from the fact that doing it that way is boring, it’s also easier to expect and anticipate for your candidates. Instead of gaining valuable insights, you’re only going to hear answers that they probably rehearsed in front of the mirror the night before.
To solve this problem, add these interview questions to make the session more interesting and to gain a much deeper understanding of your candidate. Who knows, with these questions, you just might find the best hire who’s going to provide value to your company for years to come.
Did you know SeeMeHired allows you to build question templates? This means every interview in your business is standardised, allowing for an efficient process and easy comparison. Learn more in a free personalised demo now.