17 Jun 2021

8 Out-Of-The-Box Interview Questions To Challenge Your Candidates

Out Of The Box Interview Questions | Exacta Solutions

Out-of-the-box interview questions are designed to challenge top-performing candidates. 

Any recruiter facing a string of candidate interviews may feel as if they’ve fallen into Groundhog Day. From interview to interview, they’re bound to ask the same old questions and receive the same old handful of replies. More experienced jobseekers will be adequately prepared for the most common interview questions. So, it may prove difficult to select between top performing candidates when their answers have been well-scripted in advance.

Throwing in one or two curveball interview questions is a great way to challenge candidates. It will give them the opportunity to think on their feet and show their creativity. These types of questions are also a great way to dig a little deeper into their personality, see how they think, and what makes them tick. All in all, by asking questions that they’re not expecting, you’ll get a better insight into what your candidates can really bring to the table.

Stuck for inspiration for out-of-the-box interview questions? Here are eight great examples that are guaranteed to shake things up in the interview. It’s important to remember that there are rarely straightforwardly right or wrong answers here. It’s all about how a candidate’s answers align with your company culture and whether they can make a compelling enough argument on the fly.

1. If you won €1 million, what would you do with it?

This is a great hypothetical question designed to reveal your interviewee’s values, priorities, and motivations. Based on how they would spend the money (or not spend it), you’ll get a great insight into their outlook on life. Do they want to move up the property ladder, travel the world, give it to charity, blow it all on a trip to Vegas? Each answer will show whether they’re a good fit for your company’s values. For example, if the job requires someone who will need to take a well-assessed risk from time to time, then “saving all of the money in the bank” will probably not be the answer you’re looking for.

Unusual Job Interview Questions | Exacta Solutions2. If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing they’d say you need to work on?

This question is all about discovering how self-aware your candidate is. It’s only natural for candidates to want to paint themselves in the best light. Framing the question from a friend’s perspective, will force the candidate to look at themselves from someone else’s perspective. It also encourages them to look at how their weaknesses may be viewed by the people who care about them the most, and how fixing these shortcomings would benefit others. This a good question to assess how a candidate’s soft skills match up with the rest of the team’s.

3. What kind of managers do you dislike the most?

The trick in this question is that it’s purposefully framed as a negative. (You could easily ask “What kind of managers do you like?”) This will give you the opportunity to learn about a candidate’s diplomacy and how they put forward their preferences without coming across as overly negative. If a candidate answers that they’re comfortable with any management style, then this could be a sign that they’re shirking the answer or are a bit indecisive. If they go into a vitriolic tirade about a previous manager, then this could indicate a potential for clashes. The best answers here will typically be well-balanced and tactful.

4. If you could sit down to lunch with any three people, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

This scenario will help you discover the kind of people your candidates look up to as well as the subjects, areas of general interest, and pockets of history they’re drawn to.  This question will potentially reveal common ground between the candidate and the rest of the team. The beauty of this question is that it gives candidates the opportunity to be endlessly inventive.

It’s the “why” more than the “who” that is the really interesting part of this question. They could make a compelling case for why someone obscure would be an excellent dinner party guest. Or if they select someone more obvious, they could choose an interesting line of inquiry to discuss with them, something you wouldn’t have thought of. The best answers here are bound to be the ones that surprise you the most.

5. If you had to start your own company today, what would it be?

If you’re looking for candidates with an entrepreneurial spirit, then this question is a great way to go. This will show whether your candidate already has a stack of ideas on the backburner. How they go about explaining their business niche, or their take on a common business idea, will indicate their logistical thinking, awareness of the market, and how to appeal to customers.

Job Interview Questions | Exacta Solutions6. If you were CEO, what three things would you change/keep about this company?

This is a good question to ask should you wish to know how aware your candidate is of the wider company, as opposed to just the role at hand. They’re answers will reveal how well they’ve studied the organisation and also how much they’ve reflected on various aspects of the business. These could range from everything such as office location, remote working opportunities, how the business treats its clients, or the brand’s social media reach. Allowing candidates to explore what they consider to be positive and negative aspects of the company will also indicate how their values and work priorities align with your company culture.

7. Is it better to have a job done perfectly, but late, or merely good but on time?

Is quality control or time management more important to your business? This is the question that will help determine whether a candidate is ideal for you. Typically, candidates will want to strike a balance here, but the best answer really depends on the role. Some projects can afford to go out a little late as long as they’re flawless. Other jobs will require work to be delivered on time, every time. This is a great way to assess a candidate’s priorities and their work ethic.

8. If our roles were reversed, and you had to sell this job to me, what would you say?

This is a great twist on the “why do you want this job” question. Rather than getting the candidate to reel off a prepared list of why they want the job, you’re asking them to sell you the role. If they’re really compelled by the job and the company, then this should be a pretty easy task, even for the least talented salesperson in the room. Their levels of passion and enthusiasm will quickly show how excited they really are at the prospect of securing the role and working for your company.

For advice, introductions and referrals, or to discuss how we can help your business in its recruitment efforts, contact Exacta Solutions today.