4 unconventional questions to ask during an interview
BH Marketing Team | 04.20.15 - 13:21 PM

Whether you've been interviewing candidates for years or you're heading in for the first time as a manager, knowing which questions will yield the most telling answers is critical for any session with a job applicant.

After reviewing your candidate's resume, there are a few staple questions any interviewer should know to ask, including why a person feels he is best for the position, why he believes he wants to work for your company, and how his experience has well-prepared him for this job.

"There are a few unconventional questions that can help you fully examine the depth of your applicant's knowledge."

But what if you want to explore how your candidate would respond to high-pressure situations, or examine how he would creatively solve a work-related problem on the spot? There are a few unconventional questions that can help you fully examine the depth of your applicant's knowledge and capabilities, perfect for hiring managers looking for adaptable employees.

You'll want to ease your candidate into any interview situation, asking a few easy questions before tossing some tougher ones his way. Try one of the following questions to see what your applicants are made of.

Describe a time where you disagreed with management at your company. What was the outcome?
This question can allow your candidate to explain how he or she would tackle a sensitive situation, like disagreeing with management in a former company. Your applicant may take a few seconds to digest the question and develop a comprehensive response, but the answer tells a lot about the person you're speaking with.

If the candidate remains overly negative toward management, it may seem off-putting, as the person may have burned bridges at a previous company. However, if he or she expressed a genuine problem but acquiesced to management for fear of his or her career, you may learn the person is willing to speak up about concerns regardless of his or her place in the company.

Have you ever experienced tension with a co-worker? Describe the experience.
Co-worker dynamics are especially important for positions that rely heavily on teams, which means for these occupations, exploring how a candidate handles conflict with other staff members is a critical factor in your decision. Have the person explain a time where he or she clashed with a fellow worker, describing the conflict and how it was resolved. Was the applicant professional in his or her approach, or did he or she handle the situation poorly? Round out the question by asking the person how he or she would change the approach if forced to face the same problem today.

How does your candidate handle conflict in the workplace?How does your candidate handle conflict in the workplace?

Give an elevator speech of the position's core responsibilities, as if you were speaking to a fourth grader.
This is an excellent way to see not only how your applicant understands the position, but also how he or she adapts to a different audience. This can be a fun exercise for positions that face a variety of clients, as depending on your industry, your candidate may need to know how to best communicate with all types of people and businesses. 

You should also examine how your applicant approaches the style of question. If he or she flustered trying to focus too hard on how to speak to a fourth grader, or does the candidate welcome the challenge and try hard to tackle it?

Which fictional character do you relate to most?
After a string of formal questions, mix up your approach by testing how the candidate responds to a more fun question. Ask him or her to describe which fictional character he or she relates to most, with evidence to back up. Open it up to encompass a variety of book, TV show, movie or video game characters to examine which media forms your applicant enjoys most.

This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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