32 Unique and Creative Interview Questions To Ask Candidates
Updated February 3, 2023
As a hiring manager, you may not have much time to get to know job candidates. Asking the right questions in an interview can offer you insight into their abilities, experience and personality. Learning how to conduct an engaging interview by asking unique and creative questions can help you make the most of your limited time with a candidate and make an informed hiring decision.
In this article, we share 32 unique interview questions you can ask, including 9 sample answers to help you prepare for your next interview with a candidate.
8 general unique interview questions
Some unique interview questions don’t apply to a specific industry and instead have a general focus. These are questions you could ask anyone for the sake of curiosity, though they’re designed to help candidates relax and open up about themselves during the interview. Here are some examples of general interview questions that can help start the interview:
If you owned a business, how would you reward your team?
What was your most recent adventure?
Pretend you’re interviewing me. What questions would you want to know?
If you had to move across the country tomorrow, where would you go and why?
If you could be fluent in two languages, what would they be and why?
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do instead of working?
Pretend you’ve received $5,000 to help underserved people. How do you spend it?
7 unique questions about experience and background
Creative interview questions regarding previous work experience and background can help your team understand how a candidate may adapt to the company culture. These questions tell a lot about a person’s work ethic, motivation and problem-solving skills. Here are some examples:
If you could break down your work habits by percentage, which percent would be social and which would work?
Do you like to ask questions or try to figure things out on your own, and why?
What gets your creativity flowing?
What inspired you to pursue this field of work?
What’s the best way to get to know someone at work?
Are you a personal goal-setter at work or do you generally follow a routine, and why?
What type of work environment makes you happy?
8 unique in-depth questions
You can learn interesting things about a candidate from their responses to unique questions and they may demonstrate their ability to work creatively. Before asking them, decide what you hope to learn from their responses. Here are some ideas for sample questions:
If you could only eat one meal a day, what would it be and why?
Which superhero is your favorite and why?
Describe a time when you laughed the hardest.
If someone banned you from the United States, which country would you move to and why?
Which course is more important to you; the appetizer or the dessert? Why?
What’s your idea of a guilty pleasure?
What movie could you watch repeatedly?
Have you ever met or seen anyone famous in real life? Who?
9 examples of unique interview questions with sample answers
Job candidates often anticipate being asked common interview questions like “Why do you want to work for my team?” and “Tell me about yourself.” This means most candidates know these questions are coming and have time to prepare a perfect, polished response. It’s great to get complete answers and refreshing to know the candidate cared enough to prepare for your time together.
It’s also beneficial to ask a few unexpected questions to release some interview nervousness and see how well a candidate thinks on their feet. These creative questions can also offer more authentic views of the candidate’s creativity, logic and personality. Here are nine creative interview questions with sample responses:
1. What is your idea of an amazing day?
This question is an excellent icebreaker that starts the conversation in a positive and fun way. People often have specific qualities for an amazing day and there are many potential attributes for a candidate to focus on. This question may tell you what the person you’re interviewing values and offer possible areas of similar interest to bond more quickly.
Example: “An amazing day for me starts with an early morning run to clear my head. After some exercise, I’d get ready for work. Coffee in hand, I’d start by catching up on the latest industry trends to get motivated for the day ahead. I’d have a few client meetings. I love chatting with clients to share updates, answer their questions and implement new ideas.
After my morning meetings, I’d work through the remainder of my to-do list. Feeling accomplished and proud, I’d end the workday with a quick check-in with my manager. After a successful day at work, I’d enjoy a nice, relaxing evening with my family.”
2. What would you do if you won $100 million in the lottery?
This question may show you which candidates are here for the paycheck and those that are passionate about their careers. If a candidate says, “I’d quit working and move to Antigua,” that tells you they may prefer jobs with a higher salary. If a candidate says, “I’d travel and pay off debt but still work because I love what I do,” you can see they truly want to work for your team.
Example: “If I won the lottery, I would pay off my debt, buy my family a new house, get a brand new red Corvette and travel more but continue to work. I love the career I’ve chosen and find fulfillment and joy in what I do. Having millions of dollars wouldn’t change who I am.”
Related: 11 Job Interview Tips for Teens
3rds . If you were one of our products, which would you be?
You can learn much from your candidate’s response by asking this question. It can provide insight into how well they know the company. While this question may seem to only work for companies with multiple products, you can be creative and make it fit a team or department.
Example: “While your video conferencing, document creation and photo-sharing products are all at the top of my frequently used apps list, if I could be one of your products, I would be the search engine. I love doing research and being able to look at literal and semantic meanings of key terms and phrases to find the most relevant information to share with the users is like doing detective work to uncover the most desired result.”
4. What qualities do you admire most about yourself?
When you ask this question, you can learn more about the strengths your candidates see in themselves and gauge their confidence level. Successful candidates may tell you about their positive qualities and provide an example or two that describe how their qualities helped them achieve goals in the workplace.
Example: “I admire my dedication when I take on a task. At my last job, I was in charge of several complicated projects that required extensive research. I knew I had to complete that research to find the right solution to finish the project. My dedication paid off in the end when I received excellent feedback from the client.”
5. You’re stranded on a deserted island with two things with you. What are they?
This is another fun icebreaker that can show you what your candidate prioritizes most and how they make decisions. Some candidates may focus on logical and practical items, while others may think of entertaining and comforting items. Some may explain a detailed process to identify what items would be most useful or necessary. Others may instinctively choose their favorite book and a comfy chair.
Example: “If I were on a deserted island, the two items I would take with me are a solar-powered generator and my laptop. I would prepare in advance by downloading medical journals and other helpful resources for life on an island. I’d have continuous energy to charge my laptop and access to my music, games, pictures, research, and other digital items I’ve saved over the years. Additionally, as the world progresses, there may be attainable wi-Fi for my island in the future that would allow me to connect and engage with people again.”
6. What adjectives would your past coworkers use to describe you and why?
With this question, you learn which attributes the candidate thinks are their strengths or weaknesses. Analyze whether the adjectives they choose are physical, emotional, strictly professional, positive or negative.
Example: “My coworkers would describe me as punctual, dependable, friendly and compassionate. I take pride in my work and enjoy collaborative projects with others. I offer assistance when needed and keep myself organized to meet deadlines and exceed expectations.”
7. If you could be any animal, which would you be?
This question can tell you what valuable traits your candidate sees in themselves. A candidate may choose a dolphin because they’re highly intelligent and playful. Another may choose an owl because they’re logical, wise and like to sleep during the day.
Example: “If I could be any animal, I would be an elephant. They have a high level of emotional intelligence, find comfort in community and never forget.”
8. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
While people may want to have them all, the one superpower a candidate chooses can show their most comfortable state. A candidate who chooses to be invisible may enjoy observing more than engaging. A candidate who chooses telepathy may be deeply empathetic and want to understand those around them.
Example: “If I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to fly. I could quickly travel from place to place without mobility limitations. I want to see the world and have the world see me.”
Related: Informational Interview Questions
9. Do you believe in magic? If so, how do you define it?
This question can help you find out what a candidate’s passionate about. It can also reveal how creatively they can think. For example, some candidates might answer literally, while others may answer figuratively.
Example: “Yes, I believe in magic. Not the kind of magic performed on stage, but I think life and love are magical. I define magic as something incredible, thrilling or fantastic. New life is magic. When my son was born, I felt pure joy that overwhelmed me to tears, and to me, that’s magic. When I work on a problem and finally find a solution, that’s magic, too.”
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