Interviewing candidate after candidate can be one of the most boring ways to spend a day. You ask those same old questions: “Why do you want to work here?”“Where do you see yourself in five years?” And in response, you get the same old answers: “I want to help your company grow,”“I hope to be in upper management in the next five years.” Yada yada yada. By the end of the interview process, very few candidates stand out, and you’re back at square one. Though some of these questions are inevitable, no matter how boring, they rarely give you a sense of who that candidate is. They’ve prepared their canned responses to these questions. The best way to find out just who an applicant is and how they will fit in at your business is to get them out of their comfort zone with these 5 unusual questions.
1. What are your top 3 favorite movies, TV shows or books? This may sound like an icebreaker for a blind date, but it can be an effective way to also break the ice with a new candidate. However, it’s not the answer that should be your main concern with this question (though the answer could raise a red flag). Instead, it helps you see how open and passionate that candidate is. If they just give a monotonous list with no explanation or excitement, they may not be too excited about this position, either.
2. What do you think about when you drive by yourself? Similar to the first question, this inquiry also allows you to see what the candidate is passionate about. Moreover, it replaces the old “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question, which generally just results in that hackneyed “Somewhere higher in your business.” Instead, you get a more honest response with a question that takes them away from the interview for a moment.
3. “If our business were a bike, what part would you be?” Though it seems like a highly outlandish question, this inquiry lets the candidate take a creative approach to their position in a team setting. While there is no wrong answer, it does help you see whether that candidate would fit in well with your business needs. For instance, someone who says they are the “handlebars” may see themselves in a leadership position, while a “chain”may be more concerned with ensuring the details and mechanics of a project run smoothly.
4. “Imagine you were a client who found our website. Would you stay on the site? What would you change?” While not every employee would likely be involved in your website design, they are all involved with the success of your business. The answer to this question shows they have done research on your company and have thought about how to help you improve. Make it clear that you are looking for an honest answer — after all, their insight could help your business move forward.
5. “What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this role?” Once again, the answer to this question shows that the candidate has done research into the role and the business. Of course, they may not know everything about the position when they first walk in, so it may be best to hold off on this question until the end of the interview. Asking about their perceived challenges also allows you to actually hear about the candidate’s weaknesses without them being “disguised as strengths.” Naturally, the ideal candidate would follow up on the challenges they perceive with ways to overcome them. Recruiting the ideal candidate for your small business can be difficult enough; not having any insight to who they are as a person after an interview can be downright frustrating.