Get to Know Candidates With These 9 Unique Interview Questions

Asking the right interview questions helps you gauge if a candidate is a good match for your role. Though you need to ask basic questions to learn more about their skills, education and experience, asking uncommon questions gives you greater insight into a candidate’s personality and thought process. Learn more about asking unique interview questions and what to look for in the responses.

 

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Benefits of asking get to know you questions

While behavioral questions show a candidate’s working style and how they would get along with a new team, unique or fun interview questions uncover their adaptability and ability to think creatively. Asking unconventional interview questions also allows you to catch a glimpse of a candidate’s personality in a short period of time.

 

Tips for asking unique interview questions

Here are some tips to remember when asking fun or unique interview questions:

  • Watch the candidate’s body language. Look for their reaction to the question and their facial features. They should seem open and eager to work through the question, which shows they enjoy overcoming challenges.
  • Give the candidate time to answer. Most candidates don’t have a polished answer for uncommon interview questions, so they may need more time to answer them. 
  • Use unique questions sparingly. Ask between one and three fun or unique questions to ensure you have a good interview structure and dedicate enough time for situational and skills-based interview questions. 
  • Give applicants notice before asking the question. Since most interview questions are more formal, it’s helpful to tell the candidate when you’re about to ask a fun interview question so they can mentally prepare.
  • Be open. Unique questions usually produce unique responses. Accept the answers that interviewees give, take notes and ask additional questions if you need clarification. 

Related: Best Interview Questions to ask Candidates

 

9 fun interview questions to get to know candidates

Use some of the following interesting interview questions to learn more about your candidates:

 

Is there a job you never want to do?

This open-ended question allows you to evaluate the type of work a candidate doesn’t enjoy. When you assign responsibilities that employees want to complete, their motivation and productivity increases. If they mention tasks and jobs that don’t relate to the open job, it’s a good sign that they will be a good fit. 

 

It’s acceptable for applicants to answer with a certain job as long as they give a thoughtful explanation as to why they wouldn’t want the job. For example, a store manager could answer that they don’t want to take a cashier position since they want to learn new skills and advance in their career. 

 

What’s one skill you wish you could learn?

This question helps you determine the candidate’s willingness to learn and better themselves. Listen for responses that include preferred skills for the job, which shows the interviewee’s willingness to train and learn more to excel within the role. For example, a programmer could explain that they want to learn AngularJS to build web apps more efficiently. 

 

What do you like to build or create?

With this question, you can see how creative an applicant is and what they like to do in their spare time. Expect a wide range of responses from this question, though a good answer should explain why they like it. Candidates should also try to explain how their interests can relate back to the job to show value. A candidate for a marketing job could explain that they built a personal blog from scratch to experiment with SEO.

 

Explain the internet to someone from the 1800s.

Ask this question if you want to evaluate a candidate’s problem-solving skills. It also shows their ability to explain complex topics in simple terms, which is useful in many positions, like customer service representatives and business analysts. Look for an answer that breaks down the internet into concepts that are easy to understand. Ask follow-up questions to see if they can elaborate further.

 

How many ping pong balls fit in the fuselage of a 747 airplane?

This is an excellent question for engineering and technology positions. You shouldn’t expect an exact answer to this fun question. Instead, evaluate how the candidate approaches the problem to determine if they can think critically. Have them explain their thought process out loud or on a piece of paper as they work through the question. Even if the answer is wrong, it’s important that the interviewee attempts a logical response instead of replying with something like, "I don’t know."

Related: 10 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring Great Employees

 

When was the last time you solved a puzzle?

The candidate will need to think critically about this question since it could have several meanings, from solving jigsaw puzzles to workplace challenges. Candidates who give answers about solving puzzles in their free time show that they enjoy problem-solving and keeping their minds active. Those who relate their answer to a workplace obstacle suggests that they want to excel in their careers. Look for answers that fit the role and your workplace culture. 

 

You need to give an hour-long lecture with no preparation. What topic do you choose?

Since candidates can choose any topic, this question should give you a good idea of their personality and interests. Candidates should give a detailed response that explains the topic and why they chose it. If you have time, ask them to give a brief outline of how they would structure the lecture to see how they organize their work. 

 

Who was your role model as a child?

This is a fun question that can make a candidate feel more at ease, but it can also give you insight into core values. For example, if an interviewee’s role model was an athlete, their values could include determination and courage. A scientist or inventor as a role model could show innovation and creativity. See if these values will translate to the role and your business’s mission. 

 

What’s your dream job?

Having an ideal job shows what a candidate’s career path is and how it relates to your business. Look for candidates that have career aspirations that align with what your company offers to ensure they can stay with you long term. For example, a candidate interviewing for a human resources coordinator position could want to be a human resources director. If you have this role or a similar one at your company, the candidate could work with you for several years to reach their career goals. 

 

When you compile your list of interview questions, add a few unique or fun questions to start a conversation with the candidate. Instead of starting with the basic "Tell me about yourself" question, try one that makes the interviewee excited to talk to you. Depending on how much time you scheduled for the interview, you should only use one to three unique or fun questions so you have enough time to focus on their qualifications and skills. 

 

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