As a recruiter or hiring manager, it is important to remember that the interview process and the types of questions you ask, will play a deciding factor when filling a position. Candidates often look much better on paper and asking the same redundant questions that pop up in every interview is not going to give you the answers you need to adequately differentiate between the candidates that could be mere average employees or those that could be rock stars in your school or company. It is of course, necessary to have the standard question in the mix such as, “Why do you think you are the best candidate for the position,” but it will be worth your while to ask engaging and creative questions that will get candidates thinking and not just give you the answers that they think you would like to hear. Hiring managers don’t get a lot of time to get to know the person sitting in front of them, so here are some examples of questions that will allow for productive and efficient interviews.
– In your frame of reference, what is your idea of an amazing day?
We have all been there – interviews can sometimes be overwhelming and scary for some. This question is a perfect example of an ice breaker rather than “Tell me a bit more about yourself.” This question will tell hiring managers more about the candidate, what they value and their area of interests.
– What would you do if you won the lottery?
This is an interesting one and will quickly tell you if a candidate is just there for the paycheck and that they really have to have a job, or if they are truly passionate about their careers and what they do… If a candidate says, “I’d quit working and move abroad!” it is obvious that the only interest is being able to pay bills at the end of the month, but if for example, an answer like this pops up: “I want to travel, pay off debt but still do what I love!” you can see that they truly value and enjoy what they do. Those are the types of people that you want in your establishment!
– All of us have certain qualities, which ones do you admire most about yourself?
This is often an uncomfortable question, as most people don’t really like hyping themselves up too much, but this can show a lot about a person’s confidence level and the really good ones won’t only just list the qualities they like about themselves, they will also give an example of how these qualities have helped them achieve success in life, whether on a personal or professional level.
– You’re stranded on a deserted island. The basics are catered for but you can take two other things with you. What do you take?
Not only is this a fun conversation starter, but it will also really show you what a candidate values, prioritizes and how they go about making decisions. You get the logical thinkers who will rather pack some practical items and then others who will either think of pure entertainment, comfort or just their favourite things that they absolutely cannot do without.
– If you could be any animal, which would you be?
This might seem like a very elementary question, but if you look deeper into this, answers will unveil what valuable and noble traits candidates see in themselves. We know dolphins are playful and intelligent, owls are wise and love naps and lions are strong with excellent leadership qualities. It is worthwhile to go and do some research on certain animals, you might learn a thing or two about yourself in the process as well.
Always make sure that when you opt to ask the creative questions you make it very clear to candidates that there is not a right or wrong answer. The overall response is often way more revealing than the nitty-gritty. Candidates are only people, a friendly conversation, respect and a smile can go a long way to make them more comfortable and achieve your goal as a hiring manager to really see who a person is in a very short timeframe!