These 9 creative interview questions conjure up crucial information about any job seeker. (Ask them before you make an offer you will regret)


Recently, I wrote about some of the best interview questions has presented over the years. And I asked readers who had other suggestions to let me know.

Wow, have you ever delivered. Today we’re going to start sharing some of the answers, starting with nine of the most unusual interview questions – creative ideas that spark ideas, yet are offbeat enough that candidates probably don’t show up for interviews. hiring with standard responses.

Feel free to use these questions as they are. But maybe even better, use them as a starting point to find your own creative questions.

1. “If you could kick a state out of the United States, which one would you choose and why? “

Out of curiosity, you might be interested in whether a candidate really thinks we’d be better off without North Dakota or Alabama. But it is of course a question of seeing how the applicant thinks, and sometimes even what he believes.

“I’ve heard candidates respond with tax perspectives, gut perspectives, experiential perspectives, and sometimes even downright obnoxious perspectives,” said Taylor Kerby, founder of Something Great Marketing, who suggested the question. “Ultimately, it can tell you if the candidate would fit the job well and, sometimes more importantly, fit the culture of your company.”

2. “A screwdriver and screw together cost $ 2.20. The screwdriver costs $ 2 more than the screw. How much does the screw cost? ”

Weird question, of course. It looks like it should be easy. But most people will come to a quick and incorrect answer: 20 cents.

The correct answer is actually 10 cents, and Mark Anderson, CEO of Complete Express Foods, said he would explain the underlying calculations. (If you’re having trouble with this math, here’s an explanation.)

“This question has… everything to do with listening, reading and whether the new recruit will question basic facts and directions,” Anderson explained. “Those who are still arguing [after it’s been explained], you immediately end the interview and wish them success in another business. “

3. “”

I bet the preferred response here isn’t something like “Call him for the day”.

Of course, you’re trying to determine if the candidate can problem-solve, go beyond a job description, and even bring lessons learned elsewhere to the office.

And say Corri Smith, owner of a Charlotte, NC, consulting and events company called Black Wednesday, the question “really stunned people. One girl once sat for a whole minute and then went on. said, “I don’t know. “I don’t know. I don’t have an answer.” It really shows the ability to… create a solution and can also demonstrate how interested they are in doing their job. “

4. “If you were a cereal box, what cereal would you be and why? “(Alternative:” What is your favorite board game? “)

These are two bizarre questions, and you’re probably not at all interested in the ultimate answers. What interests you instead is the thought process and attitude.

“While this is an extremely strange question to ask, it’s a great way to get a more personal view of the potential candidate,” said Lewis Thomas, owner of Host Sorter, who suggested the cereal box question. . “It also serves as an icebreaker. “

“That’s a pretty freakish and unexpected question, and it shows me how quickly they can think quickly,” said Michael Pearce, a recruiter at Addison Group, who suggested the idea for the board game.

5. “Do you like to win or do you hate to lose? “

OK, I guess I’m about to spoil this question, at least if you’re interviewing at an HR tech company. Paycor, because Todd Rimer, senior manager of talent acquisition there, told me there was actually a right answer in his mind.

“Those who like to win, you can’t blame them. Who doesn’t like to win? When you win, you’re on top,” Rimer suggested. “But, when you hate to lose, you’re more likely to learn from your mistakes, learn from past experiences, and use those experiences in the future, whether it’s your next project or your next sale. . ”

6. “What the hell are you? “

This question is not that different from the old question “What is your biggest weakness?” However, I think it’s more direct – and less expected.

“It allows me to understand where they see their shortcomings, but also gives me insight into what they want to avoid [spending] their time, “said Peter Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Jackpocket.” If that conflicts with where we need attention, I’m learning a lot. ”

7. “What has been the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months? ”

I think it’s the opposite of the above question – it’s a way to get an unattended glimpse of a classic question.

“Instead of hitting your candidates with the same old, ‘What are your strengths? “Question,” said Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR, “it’s a more organic way to discover their strengths. ”

8. “Tell me about a project you worked on that failed. What did you learn ? “

Failure is probably the last thing most job seekers seriously want to focus on, and with good reason.

But pushing in that direction, with a wide, open question like this, tells you a lot more than the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, said Matt Erickson, chief executive of National Positions.

You try to find things like, “Is this candidate motivated? How do they communicate with the teams? Erickson explained. “Are they taking their responsibilities? Can they learn and adapt, etc.? “

9. Tell us about a time when you faced rejection.

I am including this question here because it is similar, but not quite the same, to the question on failure. This is especially interesting when you are interviewing people for a sales role.

“Recruiting is a primarily sales-driven environment,” said Ian Clark, Americas manager at recruiting firm Mason Frank International, “being able to handle rejection is therefore critical to a candidate’s success in the field. role. … What I’m looking for because is a candidate to demonstrate his resilience in this situation, and to demonstrate his willingness and tenacity to bounce back. “

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