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.

A job interview is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Image of a box of chocolates.

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:

  1. What are five things you do every day, beyond eating and sleeping, that demonstrate who you are?
  2. Imagine your boss just said no to your request. How would you try to convince your boss to say yes?
  3. When did you say no to a previous boss? Why?
  4. What are your personal goals? People with goals go farther.
  5. How confident are you that you will achieve your personal goals? What makes you say that?
  6. 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.)
  7. 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?)
  8. What confusing situations have you encountered? How has working through confusing situations changed you?
  9. When was the last time you were discouraged? How did you move forward?
  10. 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?

Still curious:

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.”