A phone or face-to-face interview is your opportunity to get to know a prospective candidate better and determine if they are a fit for your open position and your organization. But does probing their past job performance or their skills and expertise actually reveal the person behind the resume? Wouldn’t you also like to know what motivates them, what their personality is like, and whether they’re a good fit for your company?
Many hiring managers ask the same-old questions. Candidates know what to expect and can tailor their responses to what they know prospective employers want to hear. Why not try something a little different? Ask these five unusual interview questions to help you get to know your candidates.
1. If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you be doing right now?
This is a great conversation starter that will reveal a lot about the candidate’s personality, interests, and goals.
2. Who was the most difficult or annoying person you had to deal with at your last job? How did you handle working with that person?
Answers to this question will show you how the candidate might interact with difficult people at your own company. Do they seem to hold a grudge, or can you rely on them to be diplomatic and level-headed in tough situations?
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
If the candidate plans to rise to a senior position or a different career track, this could give you clues as to whether the current job opening is the right fit for them.
4. What did you like least about your previous job or company?
Beware of a candidate who harbors resentment or is quick to lay blame for past grievances at previous jobs. It’s likely they will react the same way to criticism or stressful situations at your company.
5. What are the top three criteria you have in mind during your job search?
Does the candidate value a shorter commute, a better work-life balance, less travel, or higher pay? By learning what’s important to them, you can steer the interview in a more productive direction.
How can better interview questions help you?
By asking potential employees different questions, you might be surprised what you’ll find out. You might uncover something great, or conversely, something troubling—at any rate, asking good questions can lead to an excellent hire or help keep you from making a hiring mistake.