Selecting the best candidate for a job opening can be a tricky thing, especially when there are so many great candidates available. However, choosing the right person for the job is critical to your company success. There are ways to do this by using structured, yet non-traditional job interview questions, which can help to bring out the best in candidates. By using this approach, you will be able to narrow down your candidate list to only the best people for your company.

Here are 7 non-traditional interview questions that can help you select the best candidate.

“Where do you see yourself in five years? This is a particularly fun interview question, which makes a great icebreaker and removes any tension from job candidates, but allows the interviewer to peek inside the candidate’s true intentions. Use this question to find out what the candidate is seeking and if their expectations match the actual job role.

“Tell me about a time you were treated unfairly at work, and what were the results?” This question begs the candidate to step outside of his comfort level by talking about something that happens often in the workplace. Those candidates who are real team players and work well with others should be able to explain how being treated “unfairly” actually provided an opportunity to take responsibility and end up with a positive outcome. Candidates who are take a victim stance will not have a positive response.

“What’s the most adventurous or risky thing you’ve ever done?” While this may seem like a loaded question, it’s actually a good way to identify candidates who work and play hard. Candidates who are calculated risk takers are those who enjoy getting the most out of life in their personal life as well as at the office. Those who lead active lives are most likely to be proactive at work.

“If you could be any superhero for a day, who would you be?” While this question may seem completely bizarre, for many interviewers this can actually create a clear line between great and so-so candidates. The best candidates will be able to logically explain why being a superhero would be beneficial to mankind. The higher the powers of the superhero, the more powerful the job candidate sees himself.

Follow up the standard “Have you ever had to solve a problem at work?” with, “Given the circumstances, would you have done this differently…why or why not?” Cognitive problem-solving questions are one of the best ways to identify a stellar candidate. However, in this version you are asking the candidate to explain how the problem was solved, including an analysis of the method used to solve the problem. The best candidates will be able to elaborate with confidence, while poor candidates will likely freeze up.

“What would I find in your refrigerator right now?” Another interview question from the weird and wacky files! However, this is an interview question that speaks to the thought processes and organization style of the candidate. The best candidate will be able to answer this question by stating the items that are found in their refrigerator at home with ease. Candidates who lack organization and memory skills may have trouble with this one.

“What are the first three things you do at work in the morning?” This is a fun question, but one with a purpose. Since much of the workday requires planning and prioritizing, what a candidate does first thing in the morning at work is actually very important. The best candidates will generally respond by explaining the use of a calendar system to stay on top of tasks, or getting the most important things done first is a priority.

Research has consistently shown that preparing a series of strategic interview questions can make you more effective as an interviewer. Additionally, using non-traditional interview questions can help you dig deeper to find the best candidates.


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