As hiring managers, we often ask our candidates, “What is the greatest challenge you have overcome?”, an essential question helps us understand our candidates. We ask these generic questions more often than we like to admit. What’s the problem with the generic questions? The applicants see them coming from a mile away and prepped predictable answers to your questions. Instead, hiring managers and other organizational leaders can generate thought-provoking solutions.
Most of us do not want to ambush our candidates. However, derailing them from rehearsed responses help reveal new insights into their personality, instincts and soft skills. The post discusses six intriguing and unexpected interview question the candidate will not prepare in advance.
Reasons Employers Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
As hiring managers and organizational leaders, you must always try to ask thought-provoking questions. Why? It allows the candidates express their thoughts on complex topics related to the position they are applying. Do you want to know your candidate’s potential? Include thought-provoking and creative questions in your interview questions.
Through these questions, you can determine an individual’s unique personality, thought process, and offer a scope for them to think. You can ask questions like, “How do you relax after a tiring and stressful day?” The question reveals how your candidate copes with daily stressors while maintaining their physical and psychological well-being. Besides, the information helps you determine whether they would be an excellent fit for your organization.
Creative brainteaser questions reveal your potential employees’ problem-solving skills and ability to develop solutions under pressure. Moreover, when you ask innovative questions, the candidate feels relaxed and performs better in an interview. A study found that approximately 93% of interviewees experienced job-interview-related anxiety.
In such a scenario, ask icebreaker questions. These help relieve anxiety, helping candidates open up more. Furthermore, creative questions are the best way to receive honest answers, helping you make a better hiring decision.
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Six Unique Thought-Provoking Questions You Must Ask
Often, roles require candidates to be quick and creative, and curveball questions are excellent in revealing these qualities of the candidates. You can use the following questions to evaluate the creativity of the candidates for roles depending on creativity and general outside-the-box thinking.
How will handle a situation where two people aren’t collaborating well?
Hiring managers often ask questions to understand if you can resolve conflicts at the workplace. Conflict resolution is an essential skill one must possess while working with a team or with other members. When answering the question, describe a situation, where you mediated the conflict, focusing on its positive results.
Here’s an example of the possible answer from your ideal candidate. In my previous position as a senior manager, I encountered a few interpersonal conflicts between the team members, which I helped resolve. I will describe an instance where two team members explained their reasons for disagreement. It was regarding their leaves, where one had to take leave a week later. They presented their reasons for the leave and suggested that the one with an emergency must first take it. They resolved their issues and became friendly again. I believe the compromises allowed the members to feel better about the situation.
How do you define success?
It might be a tricky question for your candidates, and a response often snowballs into a long and emotional story. However, the question can probe into their vision while assessing what the candidates add to your organization’s culture. The best candidates might have a well-defined sense of purpose and highlight how it resonates with your organization’s values. While there is no correct answer, the question tells if the candidate received motivation from personal gain or collective causes. It further assesses whether their perspective aligns with the team with whom they would work.
Have you ever failed? What did you learn from the failure?
Although experiencing failure is inevitable, some people handle failures better. Everyone requires getting a backup, brushing off the dirt and moving forward in our personal and professional lives, especially when we experience an unforeseen obstacle. Your candidate might pause for an instance. Look if the candidates can share their experience, focusing on how they used their expertise. If the candidate cannot talk about failure, it might be a case of an inflated ego, which might be a productive addition to the team.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you like to be and why?
You can ask this bizarre question to test your potential employees’ creativity. The candidate’s answer will give insights into the strengths, defining the kind of person they are. An ideal candidate would answer the question in the following way. I would like to be a coconut tree, and there are various reasons for it. We know the coconut tree as the “Tree of Life,” the most selfless tree. We can use all the parts of the tree in some way or the other, offering diverse varieties of products. Besides, it is a low-maintenance and evergreen tree that remains tall throughout the seasons. Moreover, it does not require additional nutrients and offers a high yield.
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What was the most significant decision you made over the past year? Why was it such a big deal?
When you ask this question to your candidate, ensure you never see it as a way of delving into the candidate’s personal life. Instead, these interview questions focus on how the candidate approaches the decision-making process. Through these questions, you can determine if they make an impulsive decision or a meticulous research. Determine if they made a plan or talked about the issues with their friends. The answer to the question demonstrates if their decision-making style and thought process fit how you do things at your organization.
If we make you a manager for a week, how will you manage?
An essential question you must ask a candidate applying for the managerial position. Remember, bad management techniques will hinder your company culture and employee happiness. Therefore, you must ensure the candidate you hire does not contradict the organizational culture. When interviewing, ask the candidates when they felt they displayed a positive management style and when they went wrong. Look for good traits in the candidates, which includes a willingness to take feedback and support the employees.
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The questions you ask your candidates as a hiring manager help you determine their strengths, values, characters and how well they fit in your organization. Although the traditional interview questions are essential for determining the candidate’s experience and skills, you must ask thought-provoking questions to understand the complete picture of the potential employee.