The Benefit of Non-Traditional Interview Questions

If you’re someone who is regularly put in charge of interviewing potential candidates for a position – no matter the industry – the applicants can start to blend together after a while. And if you’re an individual who has been through the interview process frequently, chances are you’re honing in on the key words and phrases that will get you through the first round.

Why Non-Traditional Interview Questions Have Value

So how can you shake things up? After all, it’s not fair for a company or employee if neither can give the other a candid view of their inner workings. While the traditional questions still provide a lot of valuable information, I encourage you to sprinkle in a few curveballs.

These interview questions can help you gain insight into the candidate’s general flexibility, thought process and sense of humor. They can also help the candidate to relax and let their wit and personality shine through.

Keep in mind that these interview questions should never be antagonistic, offensive or personally challenging. Asking a demeaning question (why shouldn’t we hire you?) shows disrespect for both your candidate and your company – and there’s no faster way to alienate qualified applicants and lost potential talent.

Non-Traditional Interview Questions To Ask And The Insight They Provide

Here is a list of seven interview questions from All Business that their HR team uses to get a closer look at their candidate.

What was a hardship that you had to face, and how did you overcome it? This question will show how the candidate is able to navigate through challenges and overcome obstacles.

What are you famous for? This gives the candidate an opportunity to tell you about their personal brand, which ultimately tells how they will represent yours.

When you walk into a room, do you prefer to be noticed or fly under the radar? This question will tell you whether a person is an introvert or extrovert (both can be great personality traits depending on the job position).

What does your morning routine look like? This question will provide better insight on how the candidate prioritizes their daily tasks.

When working on a team, what role do you like best? This will give you a window into the candidate’s comfort in different team roles. All roles are considered necessary, but someone who always needs to lead may not exactly fit your needs.

What are all of the possible uses for this (object)? Place an ordinary object like a Styrofoam cup in front of the candidate and ask them to name as many uses it might have. You will get a window into his ability to think on their feet and be creative.

What slogan would you put on your own t-shirt? This question will reveal someone’s mantra, and possibly their sense of humor.

These and similar interview questions encourage a candidate to pause and reflect on important aspects of their relationship with work, ambition, goal setting and interpersonal communication. They also open the door for an interesting dialogue and may help your company stand out if you have to compete against another offer.


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