The longer you interview and hire people, the easier it becomes for you to identify whether the person sitting in front of you is the right fit for the job. But when you are just starting off your career, it's not always that easy.
For the candidate, preparing answers to these types of questions is just as standard as it is to proofread a resume before submitting it. For the employer conducting the interview however, it is much more complex. A wrong hire is a costly decision. But knowing what questions to ask requires time, patience and most importantly, learning by practice. Once you've landing that winning formula, it will enable you to select that perfect candidate more quickly and confidently.
The most obvious interview questions that come to mind are usually the most standard ones – and these days any candidate can Google the best responses to these questions. Meaning just because a candidate spits out a perfect answer doesn’t mean they are best person for the job.
5 Uncommon Interview Questions for Employers
The next time you are searching for the perfect interview questions, consider incorporating these five unusual but effective ones.
Ask about their preferred work environment
Ask the candidate about their ideal work environment – the one that feels the most comfortable, the one that would make it easier for them to contribute to your company, etc. Don't settle for general, neutral answers. The more specific the better.
That's because work environment is a critical component for the future employee's longevity with your company. For example, if your team is focused on group work and effective collaboration and the candidate prefers working alone, it could be hard for them to fit in.
Identify core skills and a development path
It goes without saying that the candidate’s professional skills matter, but their attitude towards these skills matters even more. For example, ask the candidate about their plans for developing their skills – do they plan to do it, how exactly will they do it, and so on.
Why ask this question? Because most likely the candidate will answer that yes however, having a specific plan would prove that the candidate is really interested in professional growth. While hiring the most skilled candidate might seem like the best thing to do, the candidate that would want to develop their skills is a better bet.
Think about it, a person who is interested and motivated by professional development can quickly become more valuable than a person who has strong skills upfront but doesn't plan to expand on them in the future.
What's your plan?
If the candidate seems like a strong match, ask them what would they do if they were hired today. More specifically, you could ask them to provide one, two, or three things they would do immediately or on a larger scale.
Answering this question will demonstrate whether the candidate understands all requirements of the job. It will also help you gain a better understanding of their work ethic. But most of all, it will allow you to see if the candidate was actually thinking this far. If they really took the interview seriously, they would have thought this through already.
Why this position?
Ask the candidate why they applied for this specific job offer in the first place. Sure, it seems like one of the most basic questions, but it will allow you to get a better understanding of what motivates them. Again, don’t settle with a general response here – prompt the candidate to tell you more, ask what things interest them the most in this specific position, and so on.
Identify the reasons for quitting
Most of the times people start looking for a new job when they are planning to or after they quit their previous job. Ask the candidate the reasons for doing so. True, it’s not the most popular one. However, it allows you to understand how the candidate handles difficult situations. Do they try to solve a problem or do they simply walk away? What motivates them the most? Is it the salary? The job tasks? The work environment?
Asking this question is especially important when the candidate has changed jobs several times over the past few years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate isn’t reliable, but you have to perform your due diligence.
Of course, there are many other questions you can ask, but ultimately it’s up to you to choose the best ones for the position you’re hiring for. Choosing the perfect combination of questions takes time, but with practice, should soon become turnkey as you mature in your career.
Do you have a favorite interview question that we missed? Share it in the comments below.
About the Author: Lori Wade is a freelance content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education to online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. If you are interested in her writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ for more useful insights.