Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

The 4 Crazy Video Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

The job market is absolutely flooded with candidates right now. With 7.9 percent unemployment, many of these job seekers are without jobs and looking for a steady paycheck. But a good portion of the candidate flood has a current 9-to-5 job, as well. In fact, one in five employees admit they plan to start looking for a new job in the next 90 days.

With so many job seekers flooding the marketplace, how can you use the video interview to narrow down the competition? Maybe it’s time to go a little bit crazy. That’s certainly the strategy many companies are employing, from tech giant Google to airplane carrier JetBlue. In fact, Glassdoor recently released a list of the 25 wackiest, craziest, and most oddball interview questions being asked by top-tier companies.

Now weird interview questions aren’t right for every video interview or even for every position. But these questions can certainly help you knock job seekers off their script and see just how well they think under pressure. There’s a very good chance the job seekers you’re connecting with in the video interview have thoroughly prepared for this meeting. But it’s unlikely they have an answer prepared at the ready for any of these weird questions.

Below are the four questions you should consider employing in the video interview, and why they’ll help you narrow down your field of job seekers:

Question 1: “What song best describes your work ethic?”
From: Dell
Why: This isn’t about finding out if your candidate jams to the same kind of music as you. It’s a great way to find out about a candidate’s work ethic and creativity. Asking a candidate outright about their work ethic is likely to net you a few canned, rehearsed answers. But asking them to put their work ethic in song is more likely to gain you valuable insight into how the candidate thinks under pressure, as well as how they look at their own dedication to the job.

Question 2: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”
From: Clark Construction Group
Why:  First of all, who doesn’t like penguins? More importantly, however, this question is likely to throw a candidate and make them think creatively. If you’re hiring for a job where creativity is truly key, you’ll want to employ some interview questions to test your candidate. Since it’s hard to find questions to ascertain the creative thinking levels of candidates, and it’s certainly hard to find ones your job seekers aren’t prepared for. Sometimes, penguins are necessary.

Question 3: “How would people communicate in a perfect world?”
From: Novell
Why: Communication is important. In fact, a big reason Spark Hire loves using online video in the hiring process is because it gets employers and job seekers communicating in a more personal fashion earlier than in the traditional hiring process. For instance, you can tell way more about a candidate’s communication skills from a video resume than from a traditional paper document.

Out of all the oddball interview questions, this one is most likely to tell you how the candidate handles communication. Does this person prefer face-to-face, phone, instant message, or even text message? The answer to this question can tell you a lot about how this person will fit into your company’s existing communication structure.

Question 4: “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?”
From: Jiffy Software
Why: We all ‘borrow’ office supplies from work, usually just a pen or notepad here or there. It’s important, however, to have an honest employee. This is a great question for finding out just how honest your job seeker is being in the interview.

If they say they haven’t lifted even a pen from a previous employer, are they telling the truth or are they just trying to look good? And if they’re just trying to look better during the video interview, what’s to say they’ve answered your previous interview questions truthfully? It’s better to lose a few pens than to hire dishonest workers.

These interview questions might be odd, but they’ll be able to give you valuable insight into how a candidate thinks and acts on their feet.

What are some of YOUR favorite oddball questions to ask in the interview process? Why do you ask them? Share in the comments!

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).