Do you find yourself asking candidates the same dull and ineffective questions? If so, it may be time to take a new approach. For this post, we asked hiring and talent acquisition pros where they turn to when they need to boost their interviews with new questions.
Breakaway from the monotony of your standard interview question list with the help of these talent acquisition pros:
1. Business Insider
It’s easy to fall into a rut when asking interview questions. Once you have a list that seems to work, you often keep using them out of habit even if they are not the most effective questions you could actually be asking. I like using Business Insider’s recommended interview question lists since they are creative and insightful.
Stacy Caprio, Business Coach at Stacy Caprio Inc.
Common interview questions are easy to predict, and many candidates prepare their responses to them beforehand. As a result, they make interviews dull for interviewers because they get so used to hearing the same canned responses. By using an unexpected interview question, an interviewer can more effectively judge an applicant’s ability to think on their feet and use their initiative.
I find that aside from Google, Reddit is a great resource for finding unconventional but professional interview questions. You can simply search for “creative job interview questions” or a similar alternative. By doing this, I’ve found many great questions, such as “Tell me about a professional experience you’ve had that you wouldn’t like to repeat.” When I’ve used it in interviews, I’ve found most candidates had to think about their answer, and as a result, gave more useful responses.
For example, if they describe doing something menial, like rearranging the filing system, how they frame it could raise red flags. If they see the value of the activity for the company, then that’s fine. After all, no one enjoys monotonous tasks. On the other hand, if they give the impression that they see themselves as too good for the task, that’s worrying, since they might feel the same way about the menial tasks that come with the role being offered.
Sam Johns, Hiring Manager & HR specialist at Resume Genius
3. Google Hire
Google Hire offers a good range of resources on interview questions to ask when hiring for leadership roles, as well as questions around cultural fit and those to use in a group situation. They also identify question variations and follow-up questions so you can consider which might be the best for your specific hiring scenario.
Lars Herrem, Group Executive Director at Nigel Wright Group
4. The candidate’s resume
When it comes to interview questions, it’s easy to fall into a rut because having a fixed list of standardized questions seems like it covers all the topics. In most cases, however, it doesn’t work.
Personally, I’m looking for inspiration in the candidate’s resume. I find something that seems like it corresponds with the company in a certain way. Sometimes, the absence of specific experiences makes good material for questions, enabling the recruiter to make a proper assessment of whether the candidate fits in the company culture.
Darko Jacimovic, Co-founder at WhatToBecome.com
5. The person who succeeded in the role previously
It’s easy to fall into a routine as we are used to hiring the same type of persona over and over. If something worked in the past — why not continue doing it? The thing is, this is a safe approach, and it won’t let HR experiment with even more successful hiring, diversify the team of incomers, or improve employee retention.
We figured that the best person that can bring impact to our interview process and inspire us to ask more relevant questions would be the person that succeeds (or succeeded) at the position we are hiring for. If we had previously hired a person that is now succeeding at work, there are certain skills and qualities that this employee possesses to make things work.
So, investigate what makes this person successful: what’s their drive, and what obstacles do they come across. With this knowledge, you can create your own unique interview questions tailored specifically for the position you’re trying to fill.
Other resources that we turn to are HR events and meetups. This is the opportunity to meet with professionals who can share their experience and advice. Exchanging ideas with other pros will definitely supply you with more unique answers than internet resources, which tend to hold more generic advice.
6. Look to your own imagination
It is only a matter of time before some of the most frequent questions begin feeling stale, dull, and predictable. Frankly, “So … tell me about yourself?” or “Why do you want to work at our company?” are not going anywhere, anytime soon. They’re the equivalent of “Where are you from?” or “What do you do for a living?” at a social gathering.
That said, once the expected prerequisites are out of the way, it’s recommended to mix things up. After all, variety is the spice of life, so why not make the interview process at least a tad more fun and memorable for both parties.
I find the inspiration for my interview questions directly from my imagination. A lot of questions can be restated or rephrased. There are many ways to skin a cat and gauge the candidate’s level of work ethic, potential engagement values, and priorities.
I like to ask these tricky doozies, which are actually quite informative:
- If we lost investor funding (or say, our revenues shrunk substantially) and had to cut your salary by 25%, would you want to continue to work for us or voluntarily leave with a severance package?
- Which component of the job description do you dislike the most?
Some of the resources I’ve used in the past include Google, LinkedIn articles, HBR’s Ascend, Betterteam blog, The HR Digest, Beamery blog, and Medium.