The two most common interview questions are “What are your strengths?” followed by “What are your weaknesses?”, writes Glassdoor
. Any prepared candidate will have rehearsed their answers to these questions. Here are 8 questions to ask to assess candidates’ skills, culture fit, personality, including a few that will throw curveballs to show who your candidates really are.
For determining skills:
Interview question #1: Do something with this paper clip.
According to Business Insider
, having someone come up with a purpose for the paper clip can give insight into their creativity. Considering that LinkedIn found
that creativity is the soft skill that employers look for most, this is a good trick to keep up your sleeve.Interview question #2: Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?
Chances are you might have asked your friends this question before, when you’re bored or looking for something to talk about. But according to Forbes
, it’s actually a really good question to assess problem solving skills. For example, if a candidate chooses a horse-sized duck, it means they prefer taking on one large problem at once. If they choose the duck-sized horses, it means they prefer solving lots of smaller problems.
For assessing culture fit:
Interview question #3: What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?
this one because it’s a way to get past a candidate’s polished persona. How your candidate answers this question says a lot about them -- do they mention a hobby, a sport? Where do they like to travel? This question gets to the heart of what your candidate really cares about in life.Interview question #4: What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
Workplace cultures are increasingly focused on life outside of work, particularly because feeling burnt out decreases productivity, according to Forbes
. This question can help determine how your candidate sees their work life balance. If they say something like, “I check my email,” you know they might be too connected to work, even if they’re just trying to impress you during the interview.
For insight into their personality:
Interview question #5: What are the qualities you like most and least in your parents?
In a column for the New York Times
, Bob Brennan, a former CEO for Iron Mountain, said this is the best question to get to know a candidate’s personality, because you’ll find out what your candidate likes and doesn’t like in the people they know best. In fact, he said this question is so good at determining a candidate’s personality that it’s the question he’d ask if he could only pick one.Interview question #6: If there were a movie based on your life, who would play the lead role and why?
This is a fun way to get people to talk about how they perceive themselves. They might show a sense of humor by saying Brad Pitt is the only person attractive enough, or they’ll show their soft side by saying Anne Hathaway’s relatability would be perfect.
For throwing a curveball:
Interview question #7: Why shouldn’t I hire you?
asking this question. It might feel like an almost cruel question, but it’s one that will cause a candidate to pause and think about if they’re genuinely a good fit for the role. If they are, they’ll likely tell you that there’s no reason you shouldn’t hire them. Or, you’ll learn something new about a weakness of theirs. This question may also tell you how a candidate problems solves in high pressure situations.Interview question #8: When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split, and why?
SpaceX’s Glassdoor listing
mentions this particularly out-of-the-box question, but there’s actually a lot of logic in asking it. For one, it’s a good way to see if candidates will ask follow up questions-- what type of hot dog? How are we cooking it? Where is it? For engineering roles, it’s a good test of scientific knowledge, and for other roles, it’s a test of problem solving that will also show creativity.
These interview questions will do a great job at figuring out who your candidate is, but background checks will give you the full picture. Work with a credible background screening provider so that you know exactly who your candidate is.