Every organisation is unique, so you want to find team members that are the right fit. Each business has its own company culture, team dynamics, and ways of doing things, so you want to find staff that will onboard fast, get on well, and play their part in steering the business towards success.
It goes without saying that the interview stage is a key moment to identify whether or not someone is going to be a good fit. Sure, we all know the old interview cliches: What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? And perhaps the biggest eye-roll of them all, why do you want to work here?
So how can you ask creative questions that give you a real insight into how someone will operate within your team? Here, we make a few suggestions.
Ideas for unusual interview questions
Before we share some ideas, it’s important to highlight how you should go about sprinkling in a few left-field questions. First, you shouldn’t blindside people if they’re expecting a more traditional format. Clearly introduce the “fun”, “creative” or “ice breaker” questions, so the candidate can mentally prepare.
Equally, these questions should always have a purpose. What are you testing for? Is it their people skills, their creativity, or other interests, or if you’re just trying to help them to relax? That way, you can make an objective evaluation instead of losing sight of why you’re taking this non-traditional approach in the first place.
Here are a few ideas, starting with the more conservative and moving into some more creative or surprising questions:
- What inspired you to work in this industry?
- Tell me about a time when a role or company felt like a bad fit for your personality.
- How would you pitch this company to a friend?
- If you were interviewing me for my job, what would you want to know about me?
- How could AI change the industry? Do you think your job will exist in 10 years?
- Would you rather commute to work on an elephant or a giraffe? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your preferred method of transportation?
The final question may seem absurd, but questions of this style are designed to check reasoning skills in situations outside of the norm – and of course, a sense of humour!
Getting the best talent and holding on to it
Identifying the best person for the job is one thing, but making sure they stay in the organisation is quite another. A creative interview format will help you identify quick-thinking, good-humoured and resourceful candidates, but how can you make sure they always do their best work? This is, in many ways, an impossible task; we all have our ups and downs, and can’t always perform at our peak.
This is why much like the interview itself, good management is all about empathy. During the interview, you’re trying to relate to the candidate and bring out the best in them, and you should maintain this throughout their tenure. This is something we reflected on in a previous article, so for more about empathy as an essential management skill, click here.