The interview is meant to give hiring managers the opportunity to get to know candidates. The challenge is to ask questions that give real insight into the type of person and employee the candidate is on a day-to-day basis. Most prospective hires anticipate standard interview questions and often rehearse to deliver the response they believe hiring managers want to hear. Breaking away from typical questions gives candidates the opportunity to be themselves and reveal their true personality to the interviewer.
Asking nonstandard interview questions—especially questions that may be unexpected—offer a number of advantages for hiring managers. Personality-based questions that require impromptu responses reveal the following:
Optimism or Pessimism
Attitude Towards Authority
Incorporating behavioral questions provides hiring managers a glimpse of how the candidate may perform and fit in with the other employees once hired.
In addition to having all the prerequisite skills and experience for the position, hiring managers need to assess the candidates cultural fit. Below are three sample questions that hiring managers could ask to help reveal and evaluate the candidate’s personality:
If you could meet any person in history, who would it be and why?
This question uncovers broad-based interests and accomplishments a candidate holds personally significant. The historical figure the candidate chooses may also give insight into career goals and ambition.
What character traits are a turn off to you?
Character traits prospective hires dislike in others is a reflection of their own personal values. And for some candidates, talking about what they dislike in others may be easier than talking about their own traits and values.
Would you rather lose all of your memory or lose your ability to make memories?
This type of question has several layers and is open to a wide range of interpretation. In general, the response to this question tells the interviewer about the candidates’ overall outlook. Choosing to lose all memories may suggest candidates look to the future, and choosing to lose the ability to make new memories may suggest candidates look upon past achievements as their most worthy moments. Other interpretations may point the degree candidates are optimistic or pessimistic.
While standard interview questions may provide insight into candidates’ general qualifications, ensuring teams remain cohesive and onboarding new hires that fit in with other team members requires more probing questions. Incorporating unanticipated abstract or behavioral-based questions is an excellent strategy to elicit a candidate’s true personality to assess potential cultural fit.