10 Surprising Job Interview Questions that Identify the Right People
A job interview is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Paraphrased from Forest Gump.
Reality is more important than aspiration when it comes to job interviews. Hire reality, not fantasy.
Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.” Ask questions about the past to understand reality. Ask questions about the future to reveal aspiration.
10 Surprising Job Interview Questions:
- What are five things you do every day, beyond eating and sleeping, that demonstrate who you are?
- Imagine your boss just said no to your request. How would you try to convince your boss to say yes?
- When did you say no to a previous boss? Why?
- What are your personal goals? People with goals go farther.
- How confident are you that you will achieve your personal goals? What makes you say that?
- What would you recommend to someone who wants to achieve your personal goals? (Choose one personal goal for them to discuss. Listen for practical thinking and creativity.)
- What are the hardest things you’ve accomplished? What factors enabled you to accomplish those things? (Listen for actions and attitudes that reflect company values. Did they learn something, or seek help and give help?)
- What confusing situations have you encountered? How has working through confusing situations changed you?
- When was the last time you were discouraged? How did you move forward?
- When was the last time you were angry? What does your anger tell you about yourself?
Note on questions 9 and 10. Think of the emotional traits important to team members. Ask questions about the opposite qualities. How do they move toward the emotional qualities important to your team? If openness is important, ask about pulling back, for example.
What specific job interview questions aid you in understanding who a person really is?
10 Dynamic Job Interview Questions (90 second read.)
Book by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, “It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best.”
In #6, can you further explain what you mean by, “What would you recommend to someone who wants to achieve your personal goals?” Are we choosing the candidates personal goal of something and asking them what they would recommend if someone else shared that was also one of their personal goals?
Good question. I wasn’t clear enough. How about this. What advice would you give someone who has the same personal goals that you have?
Thanks for asking.
Thank you for the reminder on making sure that we as leaders practice continued personal growth and self reflection. I had to think deeply to answer some of these questions myself.
Me too. Thanks Drew.
Sometimes I think you’re psychic, Dan! This is so timely for a hiring committee I”m on! Thanks so much!
Thanks Amy. If I was psychic I’d play the lottery. 🙂 I appreciate your encouragement.
I knew a group of engineers that used to include “bar bet” questions (Like: How many animals of each type did Moses bring on the ark? None, Noah built the ark, not Moses.) in their interviews. They wanted to see if the person was listening to the question rather than thinking about their answer. Because what the engineers valued was knowing the question to be answered before you start your analysis. Otherwise, you may do the wrong analysis.
Love the idea of giving people an opportunity to prove they are listening. How many times can you take away 10 from 100? Once. After you take 10 from 100 you only have 90. I suppose this is more like a riddle. Personally, I wouldn’t get hired if I had to answer, “What is full of holes but still holds water?” Answer, “A sponge.” Cheers
I saw one last week used by the former VP of HR at Microsoft. “Tell me something you have learned the past couple of days.” He said that a great candidate will have a quick answer.