Interview Questions That Are Not Usual or Customary

The ultimate test of capability comes from the interview.  This is where the organization and candidate have the opportunity to size each other up in person.  Asking the right questions on both sides is important in order to gain a complete picture of a future partnership.  It is important for the organization to prepare questions that will uncover the candidate’s capability based on skill set, motivation and cultural fit.

Keep reading to learn how to develop a set of questions that will maximize the interview experience.



When it comes to filling a vacancy there are two big frustrations.  The first is finding qualified talent that is open to hearing more about the opportunity.  The second is finding the right questions to ask during the hiring conversation that will reveal if that candidate is a good fit.

The old standards, such as “What is your biggest weakness?” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” are still in rotation, despite being less than helpful in determining a candidate’s true abilities and/or cultural fit.  It seems that just when a company has the interview question dilemma sorted out, the roster of questions and answers appear online. 

To truly peel away the onion that is the candidate, interview questions need to elicit truthful answers that give insight on that candidate’s behavior, skill set and cultural fit.  This is the premise of the behavioral interview.  The concept of a behavioral interview is based upon the notion that past performance predicts future behavior.

There is a simple formula that can be used to create behavior questions based upon the opportunity and culture:

Standard question (“Tell me a time when…”) + Behaviors required by the position (organized, autonomous, etc.) + Real life work situation = great behavioral-based question.

It is also good to add some unexpected questions to the mix.  Here are a few that can show a candidate’s true colors.

  • What is a favorite app on your phone right now?
  • If I asked you to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture, what steps would you take?
  • When do you feel that you are doing your best work?
  • How did you get to this stage of your career?
  • Give me your personal definition of success.

When formulating questions, try to use the future tense.  Questions about the future cause the candidate to stop and think.  Getting them slightly off track usually garners more genuine answers.

There is nothing wrong with going online to see what questions other organizations are using.  This type of research can be invaluable in formulating questions.  There are even lists of questions that people say are their favorites.  Check out one of these lists by clicking here. [<- INSERT]

The ultimate goal of an interview is to gain more insight.  Great interview questions are the means of gathering this information.  Getting the candidates to think on their feet during this process can help determine if they are the right fit for the position and organization.

Gary Vice is sought out by leaders in Software and Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent.  Through Strategic Recruiting Partners’ extensive network of relationships, they are able to identify high level opportunities for well qualified candidates.  To discover how this process can benefit your job search, simply reply to this email or call Gary at 469.402.4008.

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