Management August 12, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,337 Reads share

The Top 10 Interview Questions to Ask to Find Top Talent

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Imagine you’ve opened a new position in your business. This position requires someone who will fit in with your company culture, represent your brand in the best possible light, and work hard to keep your business running smoothly. Only a handful of applicants will meet the requirements.

As you sift through stack after stack of resumes, you find the perfect few to invite for an interview. When each hopeful candidate sits down in front of you, what do you ask?

Most job seekers prepare for interviews like they prepared for their college thesis. They toil over the possible questions you’ll ask, perfecting their answers to each and everyone. They know their weaknesses and strengths like the back of their hand. They come prepared with three solid examples of past work experience, successes and failures. They’re ready!

Is this type of preparation really helpful?

You need someone who can think on their feet, has the right intuitions, and will uphold your brand’s image even in the toughest of circumstances. For that reason, you need interview questions to bring out these characteristics so you can see how the person you’re about to hire performs without preparation.

To find some unusual questions, we scoured the job information site, GlassDoor.com. Here are 10 of the top and most unusual interview questions asked by businesses today that you can ask to find the best talent for your job opening.

#1. “Tell me a story.”

This question is asked by Celgene when they want to fill the corporate communications position. It’s a good one, especially if the position you’re filling requires any face-to-face interaction with your customers and clients. The goal is to hear how a person communicates by listening to them tell a story. The type of story is also indicative of the person. Did they tell something they were proud of? Something funny? Something dark? Listen and learn.

#2. “How would you handle an employee complaining about a colleague with bad body odor?”

This question gets asked at MasterCard interviews for the operations leader position. If you’re interviewing for a management role, this question digs deeper than simply asking, “how would you handle a conflict between employees?”

#3. “What were you like as a child?”

Because let’s face it, we’re all still kids at heart, right? This question is asked by Biogen Idec. It’s a great way to pull out lessons learned from childhood and get to know more about the person sitting in front of you. Was this child playful? She might be a good fit for a creative position. Was this child obsessive about homework? You’ll be able to count on her for timeliness and quality work.

#4. “What will you hate most about this job?”

This question hits home on a person’s weaknesses. It’s asked by Medtronic for a diabetes therapy associate position. The question forces the person to get a little uncomfortable while she talks about what she’s least looking forward to, while still hoping to get the job. Listen to her answer. You’ll probably find some interesting cues about her tastes and whether she’s a fit for your company culture.

#5. “Explain what has happened in this country during the last 10 years.”

A lot happens in 10 years. If your applicant pays attention to the news and current events, this question should be a no-brainer. At least that’s what the folks at Boston Consulting think when asking this for their consultant position. It lets the applicant open up about what they perceived the biggest events were in the last decade. It’s a good way to get to know the person’s values and interests.

#6. “How weird are you on a scale from 1 to 10?”

This might sound like a funny question, but it gets people talking! That might be why the folks at Capital One ask this when interviewing for their Operation Analyst position. Everyone has a quirk or two. If your company culture is looking for someone who won’t take themselves too seriously, this question will shed light on how much of an oddball he thinks he is. On the other hand, if he’s the “class clown” type, he might not fit in with your company if you prefer someone who sticks to the rules.

#7. “If you could be any superhero, who would you be?”

Wonder woman, who saves the day? Batman, who hides behind his cape, taking no credit for all the good work he does? No matter what the answer, you’re sure to learn something about the person’s inner desires and character. This question is sometimes asked by AT&T for a customer sales representative. It’s good at exposing how helpful a person will strive to be when faced with people in need of their help.

#8. “What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?”

Looking for someone who will take charge when you’re not around? This question will pull out the managerial and entrepreneurial side of your interviewee. It’ll also show how a person will provide constructive, creative feedback for how you can better your business. It’s asked by Volkswagen for the Business Analyst position because it requires the interviewee to analyze current processes and make them better.

#9. “What would you do if you were the only survivor in a plane crash?”

This question might seem dark, but it pulls out a person’s primal instincts and shows how resourceful she is in a tough situation. It’s asked by Airbnb, one of the most innovative companies. With the person’s answer, you’re able to find out how creative she is, how she’ll use what’s available to her to make the best decisions, and more.

#10. “Describe the color yellow to somebody who’s blind.”

This creative question is asked by Spirit Airlines. Their logo is yellow, but you could ask this same question about any color. The point is to get the person talking about the meaning behind the color and see how creative she gets. Her answer will show you how well she sells and how descriptive she can be when explaining something seemingly mundane.  

What unusual interview questions do you ask your employees? Please let us know in the comments below.

Images: “Ask The Right Questions Concept/Shutterstock.com

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Jon Forknell

Jon Forknell

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